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CYESO Handbook

 Dear Parents,

The orchestra is at the center of this program because it embodies a collaborative and caring community; each child is essential as an individual orchestra member, yet no child can play a symphony alone. Your child will be interacting with many students from around the neighborhood from the moment they walk into the door. We are excited to create a program that will guide your children through high school and beyond!

We’ve created this handbook for you, the parents of our students, to:

• Understand the program’s goals, structure and inspiration

• Recognize the parental and student commitment

• Understand the benefits of our intensive program

• Get to know our staff and how you access their services

• Provide answers to questions about policies

We hope that the CYESO Handbook is a valuable resource for you while your child is in the program. If you need help understanding any of the information in this handbook, or have any questions, comments or concerns that are not addressed, please feel free to let us know. A member of our program staff will always be happy to talk to you.

Please do not hesitate to contact us about anything. Parent feedback is essential – as you are the reason that this program will be great. We look forward to creating something beautiful with you and your family.

Rebecca Limehouse
, President



Our Program

CYESO–Youth Orchestra is a music education program made possible through a partnership between CYESO and the people of Citrus County to provide participating students with orchestral instruction.

CYESO is organized to become a haven for a countless number of young people; a center for joyful music making and eventually grow to serve hundreds of students in Citrus County. Each student in the CYESO program will benefit from a rich music curriculum that will create a caring, cooperative and fun community.

Instruments will be provided to students without resources when available, and are provided to those students as long as they uphold their contract to take care of the instrument, practice, and participate in CYESO music programming and instruction.  An instrument loan contract is required if using a CYESO instrument.  Tuition assistance is available to the limit of community support for those who qualify.  You can request a Tuition Assistant Application on the member registration page on the website. 

Instruction for beginning learners will entail 2 or 3 months of basic musicianship training before hands-on orchestral instruction with an instrument is begun. CYESO offers orchestral instruction that usually contains instrumental instruction.  Membership fees/dues are not payments for private or group music lessons, but for membership in the orchestra, and the benefits of any group lesson class times and performances that a student is qualified to attend during their membership.  Lesson content and material is first and foremost chosen to support the needs of the orchestra.  We estimate/expect to meet for at least 40 class sessions and 2-3 recitals per year.  You are advised that the rigorous program and the number of staff members may be limited as the program is initially implemented and as it grows.  Some of our students do also take private music lessons separate from the CYESO program, and although it will benefit a student and enhance their experience, it is not required in order to join CYESO.

CYESO embodies the core values of respect, responsibility, positive communication, and support.

The CYESO program will offer:

• Orchestra ensembles to qualifying students in accordance with age and capability.

• Peer mentorship and leadership opportunities

• Mentors and caring adults every step of the way.

The Citrus Youth Educational Symphonic Orchestra is inspired by El Sistema, the Venezuelan music education system that nurtured Los Angeles Philharmonic Music Director Gustavo Dudamel. Each year, El Sistema provides a quarter million children with free musical instruments and music instruction so that they may play in youth orchestras throughout their country.


Parents and guardians should become familiar with the group website,  where all current information is posted, and may also receive e-mailings and website notices regarding important program updates throughout the year.  Information includes program calendars, information about special events (such as field trips and performances once they become available), and any scheduling changes. Please make sure that your CYESO account profile has your updated contact information, so that you can receive emailed information in a timely manner.  Checking the website last minute to see if there are any changes is a good idea, as sometimes last minute changes are necessary due to unforseen circumstances.

Your child is REQUIRED to come on the days/times determined for their class(es). The success of the CYESO is based on an intensive amount of instruction, so it is important that your child comes each class day scheduled to receive the full benefits of the program. It is our belief that this rigorous schedule will not only provide a setting for your child to be productive outside of school, but improve his or her academic and social skills by developing personal discipline, fostering a sense of responsibility, and instilling a sense of personal pride in his or her accomplishments. Because of the intensive nature of the program, students are required to regularly practice music at home in order to progress with their class/peers, and to remain in the program.

Teaching Philosophy

The CYESO staff includes administrators and teachers with educational and professional backgrounds focused on classical and symphonic music who are dedicated to providing your child the highest quality of instruction and support.

Some of the teaching philosophies that all of our staff follow are:

• Fostering the idea that an orchestra is a community where everyone supports each other

• Holding high expectations in musical excellence for each child

• Developing the whole child, not only as a musician, but as a citizen and scholar

• Providing a flexible, fun and safe learning environment

• Recognizing that every child is an asset and brings different and unique strengths

• Understanding that education can provide empowerment, liberation and pride

• Believing that music and art are powerful agents of social change


The administration for CYESO is here as a resource for you and your child. Parents and community members help administer the program, and volunteers are vital to the success of the CYESO mission.  Please contact us with any questions, concerns, ideas and suggestions. Our doors are always open to you.

Music Teachers

CYESO instructors are highly qualified musicians, though they may not be performing currently because of the absence of a classical music aggregation, and have a vested interest in community work. Teachers are observed and evaluated on a frequent basis to ensure they are providing your children with the highest quality music instruction.

Program Policies

Enrollment and Re-enrollment

All students who want to participate in CYESO must be enrolled by their parents or guardians. Enrollment applications and re-enrollment forms will be accepted on a yearly basis at the beginning of each calendar year. Registration is completed on the website at  Tuition Assistance applications must be submitted annually, and Instrument Loan contracts must be completed annually. 

Membership Dues

Membership dues will be calculated and billed on the members' account on the CYESO Website in January for that calendar year.  Any loaned instruments will be inspected yearly and annotated on the instrument loan contract.  Membership dues assistance applications must be submitted yearly.  Members will receive email(s) from CYESO Website Admin with links to submit a Tuition Assistance application online if requested, and to pay membership dues online, or by check.  All membership dues must be paid in full by the last day of February unless other arrangements are made.  Any payments made after Feb 28th will incur a $10 administrative fee per payment.  Memberships not paid in full by March 31st will be placed on hold, including student(s) participation put on hold, as well as loaned instruments must be returned, until all membership payments have been brought up to date.  All Membership payments are non-refundable for any reason.

Parent Requirements

Membership costs assigned to families are kept low (approx. 20% of actual costs) by donations from businesses and private donors, as well as the efforts of the all-volunteer support staff.  (Teachers are the only paid program participants).  It is vital to the continuation and success of our program that all member families become involved and familiar with our processes, needs, and opportunities.  Each parent (1 per family) is asked to volunteer 4 class days during the year, during class time.  During their volunteer days, parents will be assigned any number of tasks, such as sitting in a large class to support the teacher, helping with administrative tasks, or discussing the program with other parents and support staff, giving feedback, making suggestions, etc.  Signup for these days will be done at the beginning of the calendar year with membership renewals.

Parents are also asked to attend at least 1 board meeting per year.  Board meetings are usually held the 4th Tuesday of each month, but please check the calendar on the website for changes before attending.  Board meetings are held partly during class time, so volunteer days must be scheduled separately.

Families that do not meet the parent participation requirements may be subject to removal from the CYESO program.

In addition to the parent requirements, there are opportunities to volunteer throughout the year.  We occasionally have students give a going-away gift to a teacher, a thank-you gift to a donor, refreshments at a special recital, etc, that parents may be asked to help coordinate.  If you see a need in the organization, we encourage you to make suggestions or volunteer to fill a need with your special talents.  The CYESO program started with someone's good idea, and it can only keep growing as more families catch the vision.

Classroom Expectations

CYESO embodies the core values that are at the heart of all of its programs: respect, responsibility, positive communication, and support.

Students will be expected to uphold certain expectations based on these values while in the program, including:

• Respecting others by listening actively, staying quiet when others are speaking, and talking and playing at the appropriate times

• Respecting their instruments and classroom space

• Bringing a positive attitude of readiness to learn

• Maintaining responsibility for learning

• Supporting their teachers by following directions and instructions

• Supporting their peers by acting as mentors.


Attendance Policy

CYESO provides high quality orchestral music education. We expect our students and families to commit to coming to our program on all required days. At this time, we are meeting 1 day per week.  Although we understand that there are family emergencies that come up, we do limit the number of unexcused absences. If your student has excessive unexcused absences, his or her space in the program may be replaced by the first student on the waiting list.

Series of Absences

If your student needs to miss several classes in a row for a reason outside of CYESO programming, approval from the Director of Parent/Student Relations must be given prior to the series of absences.

Excused Absences

Typically, student illness, family emergency, religious holidays, and school related activities are considered excused absences.  It is important to let your teacher know if you will be absent as soon as possible before the class day.  Also, the Director of Parent/Student Relations can also be notified, or notification sent to the "contact us" link on the website and we will get your notification immediately.

Recitals and Other Performance Opportunities

Unique to our program is the opportunity to provide group performances throughout the year.  We hold regular recitals, and have many other opportunities for smaller groups to perform out in the community.  As students progress, they may be invited to participate in these additional performances.  Additional practice times are required for performances beyond scheduled recitals. 

& Sign-out Procedure

Upon arrival (including tardy arrivals) parents or other approved persons must sign the student in. You or other approved persons must sign your student out. This process is a safety precaution. Staff will not release students prior to sign out. Students must be signed in and signed out of programming by the guardian or other guardian approved adult. It is critical that your child gets picked up on time every day, out of respect for our faculty and program. Children who regularly arrive late are at a disadvantage. They often feel uncomfortable walking into a class already underway and may have missed an important overview of the day’s upcoming events. Additionally, their late arrival interrupts the classroom and interferes with their classmates’ learning.

Discipline Policy

If a child is disruptive in class, the teacher will address the behavior as s/he deems appropriate to create an environment for learning within the class. Hopefully, calling attention to the behavior in an immediate and constructive manner will extinguish the behavior. If, however, the behavior continues, a teacher may separate the child from his/her peers within the classroom or excuse the child from the class so that an effective learning environment can be recaptured.

In each case that a child is separated from his/her peers or dismissed from class for creating interference with the teaching of a lesson, the teacher and the student will meet to discuss the situation that precipitated the dismissal. If that behavior persists, or if other behaviors occur that inhibit the teacher from teaching those students who are interested in learning, the parents will be contacted and a meeting with the student, his or her parents, and the appropriate personnel will be scheduled. In an instance where a child’s behavior is inappropriate or disruptive s/he will complete a Responsible Decision Making Contract that describes the unacceptable behavior, the core values that were violated, plans to correct the problem and consequences. It is critical to our success that we all support those students interested in doing their best and that we reward them for their interest by preserving the integrity of the classroom.

Photo Policy

By participating in the CYESO program, you give consent for photos/videos of your child to be used by the CYESO staff or other CYESO representative on websites, social media, television, print, newspaper, flyers, etc.  We will not give students' names in relation to these images/recordings unless permission is granted by the parent.   The exception to this is that for recital and other performance recordings, students' names may be given audibly during the performance, or in print.

Policy of Non-Discrimination

CYESO admits students of any race, religion, color, national or ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs and activities generally accorded or made available to students at our center. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national or ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, financial aid programs, athletic, or other administered programs.