Here you may find answers to some questions you have about participation in the MCYBO. If you do not find the information you need here, then go to the Contact Us page and let us know what information you need.

Does my child need to already play an instrument?
Our program starts a student aged eight or above from the very beginning and does not require any prior musical experience (Except for the Windstars and/or ukulele programs which start at aged six). The beginning classes focus on reading music as well as learning the technical aspects of playing the student’s chosen instrument. Upper level classes continue to build on these music and technical skills with more challenging material. A student with prior musical experience on another instrument often progresses quicker in the beginning.
How do I get an instrument for the class?
The most common way to obtain an instrument for a beginner is to rent one from a local music store. It is a good idea to rent and not purchase the first instrument since a student’s needs and desires will change. They may decide to switch instruments after a year or progress to where they need a higher quality instrument after a period of time. It is for this reason that we encourage parents to develop a relationship with a local music store that specializes in band and orchestra instruments. You are assured of a higher quality instrument and the expertise to maintain the instrument as well. There are many such stores in our area and they can be found by visiting the web or looking in the yellow pages. (See our Music Links page for a list of local instrument dealers.)

The next most common way to get an instrument is to put an old one back into service. These may be instruments that were used by relatives or friends and have been sitting idle for a while. This is a fine way to resurrect an old warhorse, but you must take the instrument to a reputable repairman to make sure it is in good playing condition before giving it to the student.

Many people purchase the first instrument online because the prices are so cheap compared to renting. Beware that many of these instruments are little more than toys and will frustrate beginning students by the lack of playability and frequent mechanical problems. There are good deals to be had by purchasing used instruments, but get the advice of an expert before buying online. 

The MCYBO does offer students the use of some of the larger color instruments such as baritone horn, french horn, bass clarinet, tenor and baritone sax, and bass viol.

We also gladly accept donations of instruments in any condition.

Do I need to get lessons?
The Maryland Christian Youth Band and Orchestra program does not require private lessons to participate. Many students come to class each week and practice daily at home and do just fine. That being said, a student who takes lessons from a qualified private instrument instructor will find that their enjoyment of the instrument and their progress will increase dramatically. A private instructor can work on the details of playing that often cannot be covered individually in our group classes. They can clarify and reinforce concepts the student learns in class. Students who study privately often bring a level of playing to the group that raises the standard for the whole group. As students progress to the intermediate and advanced levels of playing, we encourage parents to look into getting some form of private instruction. See your child’s director for a list of private instructors or suggestions for finding lessons in your area.
How much practice is required?
Practice is really a habit that must be developed over time. Something like brushing your teeth. You know that you can skip it, but the results are not pleasant when you get together with others. There is a practice log on this website that you can download and use to plan your practice week. Students should practice daily but the amount of time they practice can vary from day to day. Beginners should practice a minimum of 1 hour per week, intermediates 2 hours per week, and advanced 3 or more hours per week. 
If my child quits during the school year, do I get a refund?
The tuition for the class is for the full school year and is not refundable. We will refund any tuition payments made for any student that pre-registers but then drops out before the first week of classes.