2023-24 Musician Handbook: Expectations & Conduct


GTCYS welcomes students and celebrates families of all backgrounds. Together with students and parents/guardians, GTCYS creates a positive, safe, supportive, respectful, diverse, inclusive, equitable, and anti-racist music-learning community by following the expectations and policies outlined below. Please read the following carefully and inform your conductor, rehearsal assistant, or GTCYS staff of any concerns or questions.

At GTCYS, participants are expected to:

  • Be kind.
  • Listen attentively.
  • Be courageous upstanders for a positive and supportive multicultural learning community.
  • Practice, and honor the privilege of making music together.
  • Make mistakes and try to learn and grow from them.
  • Respect all buildings/spaces where GTCYS activities take place.
  • Show up: do our best to abide by the attendance policy and report absences in advance.


Inclusivity: GTCYS prohibits discrimination regarding race, ethnicity, color, religion, national origin, citizenship status, migrant, immigrant, and refugee status, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, and mental or physical abilities. Each student’s gender identity will be respected, and the student’s preferred name and pronoun will be used. As we strive to create an equitable and inclusive program for all, we encourage every member of the immediate GTCYS community (students, parents/guardians, staff) to help by identifying and challenging individual or systemic acts of racism and other forms of discrimination if they arise.

Behavior Violations: Examples of minor behavior infractions to GTCYS expectations include, but are not limited to: not following directions; speaking out of turn; talking back to conductors, coaches, parent volunteers, or staff; speaking disrespectfully to peers; touching other students or their instruments without permission; disrespecting GTCYS activity space by running or eating/drinking in non-designated areas. Examples of major behavior infractions may include but are not limited to: physical or emotional altercations, intentionally damaging instruments, or vandalizing facilities.

Consequences: Students struggling to follow the expectations outlined above will have a conference with their parents/guardians and GTCYS staff. Before returning to their orchestra’s next activity, students will complete a behavior agreement that outlines the steps they will take to improve. This is an opportunity for students to reflect on their conduct and find ways to grow. If students violate their behavior agreement, a second conference will take place and students may be put on probation or dismissed from the program indefinitely.

Bullying and Harassment: GTCYS strictly prohibits bullying or harassment of any kind. GTCYS will investigate, respond to, remediate, and discipline any reported acts of bullying. Students who have been bullied or harassed, or individuals who have witnessed another member of the GTCYS community being bullied or harassed, should immediately inform the conductor. If the individual does not wish to communicate with the conductor for any reason, the individual should contact GTCYS’ Program Director or Executive Director.

Drugs: The distribution, possession and/or un-prescribed use of narcotics, alcohol, cigarettes, and other controlled substances by members is unlawful and strictly forbidden. Any violation will lead to disciplinary review, including probation or dismissal.

Probation and Dismissal: A musician may be put on probation or dismissed from GTCYS without a refund at the discretion of the conductor and/or Executive Director for reasons including, but not limited to: lack of musical preparedness, behavior/conduct concerns such as, but not limited to: violation of the terms of a behavior agreement, bullying, harassment, vandalism, theft, use of illegal substances, violence, the possession of a weapon, or any behavior that undermines the integrity of the organization.

Positive Ambassadorship: Each GTCYS participant’s conduct reflects on the organization as a whole at all GTCYS activities, including rehearsals, retreats, concerts, special events, and tours. GTCYS rents space for all of our program activities; thus, we are guests at those facilities and must treat these spaces and personnel with utmost respect.

Musical Preparation: Coming to rehearsals prepared is essential for all students’ success. This includes:

  • Bring music, a pencil, music stand, and all necessary accessories (e.g. reeds, rock stops, mallets) to every GTCYS activity
  • Seek help on difficult music sections (for example from a private teacher, or band or orchestra director if you have one)
  • Practice and learn parts at home. Home practice is to learn your own part and rehearsals are for learning everyone else’s part. As a general guideline, devote at least 10 minutes of dedicated practice to your GTCYS music daily; conductors refer to this as the “GTCYS 10.”.

Cell Phones: Cell phones are prohibited during all GTCYS activities except at breaks or if otherwise asked by a GTCYS conductor, such as times where select students may be allowed to use tuning apps on their phones. Cell phones will be confiscated immediately if used at inappropriate times. Repeated violations may lead to probation or dismissal without a refund.

Instrument Liability: Students are responsible for the safety and care of their own instruments and accessories during all GTCYS activities. Lost, stolen, or damaged instruments/accessories are not GTCYS’ responsibility. Should any damage occur to a student’s instrument during a GTCYS activity, the involved student(s) must notify the conductor immediately. GTCYS staff will inform the parents/guardians about the incident to the extent of GTCYS’ knowledge and share parents’ contact information so they may work together to resolve the issue. The conductor and GTCYS staff may schedule a meeting with the students’ parents to determine restorative actions. GTCYS strongly encourages all members to insure their instruments. Students should keep instruments in their cases when they are not rehearsing and maintain great care around other students.

Participation in School Band and Orchestra Programs: GTCYS and schools share a common goal of educating student musicians; GTCYS supplements and does not replace school music programs. Though we cannot make it mandatory, GTCYS strongly encourages all members to actively participate in school band and orchestra programs. If a school band or orchestra concert conflicts with a GTCYS event, GTCYS students should prioritize attendance at their school band/orchestra activity and submit a GTCYS absence form as soon as the conflict is known.

Payment and Refunds: GTCYS families must pay all tuition and fees by the deadlines outlined in the enrollment form. Special payment plans can be arranged if flexibility is needed. Contact katie@gtcys.org with questions about payments.

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