Ensemble Program FAQ
Why does Ensemble run nearly the entire school year? I really enjoy it but I would prefer to move in and out of it every few months depending on my schedule.
While seasonal Ensemble programs have been especially useful in introducing Ensemble to new members and more recently restarting the program, Ensemble has always been something that runs for a significant portion of the school year. Given the resources and time required, it’s not realistic to run smaller “in and out” programs on a consistent basis during the school year. Ensemble at its core works best when students are committed. This allows us to build a proper program worthy of students who sincerely understand, fully value, and appreciate the opportunity.
How much does Ensemble Cost?
For more information about Program Fees please contact us here.
I’m involved in sports and other activities. Is there any way for me to participate?
Absolutely YES! If you are someone who is going to put in the work and remain committed we will work with you. While not ideal, I have no problem with students needing to miss a rehearsal from time to time as long as when they attend rehearsal they are fully prepared. Additionally, we can certainly design your level of participation if you are concerned about being overwhelmed. You don’t need to be in every piece we play. The SB School has a successful track record of supporting and working with families who have multiple interests and I encourage you to reach out to me with your concerns. Again, WE WILL WORK WITH YOU!!!
I’m really nervous about playing with other students. I think I want to wait until the “right moment” to try this out.
I hear this quite a bit. Truthfully, there will never be a “right moment.” Learning music is fun and fulfilling but it’s also about challenging yourself and meeting goals. It’s important to recognize that playing with other students is the very reason we take lessons to begin with. Additionally, Ensemble is a supportive environment. We want to welcome new people.
I am opting into monthly payments. If after a few months it’s not working out, are we still responsible for the remaining balance?
Yes. While payment options are provided for convenience, once you sign up, you are responsible for the entire balance. If you leave the program early for any reason you still must pay the remaining balance either monthly or in full.
Can Junior Ensemble members graduate into the regular Ensemble Program mid year?
This will be decided on a case by case basis. While it is possible, a younger student would have to demonstrate exceptional maturity and skill to play with the older students. Additionally, if a situation occurred where this was possible, the student would then be responsible for the remaining balance (full tuition minus Junior Ensemble tuition).
I'm already enrolled in lessons at the school. Why do I have to pay an additional fee for Ensemble?
It takes a great deal of resources to run an ensemble program. From instruments, to guest artists, to concerts, to the sheer amount of time spent rehearsing and putting the material together, ensemble is a substantial commitment on everyone’s part. It needs to be supported financially. If you enjoy the experience of performing alongside other musicians with personalized parts and music in a state of the art drum and percussion studio with top of the line instruments surrounded by a supportive community of professional guest artist musicians and music lovers...you have to pay for it. :)
Can I miss rehearsals for school and family functions?
While technically all rehearsals are mandatory, if you are truly committed to learning your parts and working with your colleagues you will find me to be extremely flexible and even helpful when things come up. If you are doing the work and doing what you’re supposed to be doing we will work with you.
Ensemble seems like it’s only for serious students. I’m just having fun and I only want to take lessons.
This point of view is certainly well-meaning but slightly misguided. It’s important to realize that percussion ensembles of some sort exist in most parts of the country. This is because like lessons, they are an essential part of your training. It’s only in our area that they are perceived as something “extra” for “serious students.” Unfortunately, our area represents the exception to what is taking place in many if not most school districts across the country.
Ok that makes sense but again, I’m just having fun with lessons. I don’t really care about the big picture. Why should I do this?
Lessons are certainly essential. However, absolutely NOTHING compares to performing alongside other students. The challenges, performances, and AMAZING moments that take place during Ensemble are experiences that will last a lifetime. You will truly experience what your training has to offer and have more fun than you ever thought possible playing music.
I already perform in my school band program. Do I really need to be in Ensemble?
We consistently encourage and support students being a part of their band program. We also have great relationships with nearly every music department in our area and we fully and unequivocally support their efforts. Despite the fact that most music programs in Westchester have excellent and dedicated teachers, most school music programs in our area are simply not equipped to provide the kind of personalized experiences and performances needed. There are very few challenges and substantial opportunities available. This is especially true for drums and percussion. Students in our ensemble program will play more notes on better instruments, interact on a deeper level, and be personally challenged in a way that is only possible in a program with the proper focus and resources. Beyond that, students who participate in our Ensemble Program are often leaders in their school music programs. They tend to add tremendous value to the overall experience of their classmates. This is why our efforts are often strongly supported by band programs and educators in our area.
Why do I have to be signed up for lessons to participate?
Your own personal development will determine your success in Ensemble and private lessons are an essential cornerstone of that development. Without a private teacher to give you the personal one-on-one attention that you need to progress, it is nearly impossible to be successful in something like Ensemble.
Ensemble sounds great but my child isn’t serious enough. I want to wait until they are serious and then I will sign them up.
As a parent myself I totally get this. However, I would also point out that without the proper opportunity to discover what’s “out there,” it can be hard or even impossible for a student to ever fully experience what their training has to offer. Unfortunately, I see this time and time again. Without performances and goals to work towards things can become stagnant and students quit just when the best part is about to happen. Ensemble showcases the power and joy of what we do from every angle. If you know why you come here for lessons, I urge you to review our program and give it a chance. You won’t be sorry.