No experience is required to begin playing with the Peninsula Youth Orchestra. We start beginning students with instruction on how to hold their instruments, the names of the strings and even how to read music. If you have not yet chosen an instrument, we can let you experiment with some of ours to get a feel for what instrument you might be interested in playing.
The PYO is designed for students in grades 4-12. Though there are some exceptions, we generally take students starting in the 4th grade (beginning or experienced). We prefer to stick to this because of the maturity and ability of the students to socialize and keep up with peers in their level (not only their musical ability). PYO offers four levels of string instruction. Debut introduces the student to string instruments and beginning instruction — beginning students need NOT audition. Any student entering a level other than Debut will need to audition. The other levels are, with some exceptions: Encore — second year or equivalent experience; Junior — students in 6th grade or above with at least two years experience; and Youth — students in 9th grade or above with at least three years experience.
We recommend that students have their own instruments (rented or owned), but if that is not possible, we do have a limited number of instruments for use by PYO students for $50-$100/season. There are several good quality music stores in our areaString instrument rental can be as low as $25 to $60/mo, often with trade-in or trade-up options. See below for a list of local music stores.
Thanks to the continued generosity of our sponsors we do have a limited number of partial scholarships and half scholarships available — ask for a scholarship application.
Involvement in the PYO is very affordable. We have a non-refundable registration fee of $100. Tuition for the year begins at $400/Debut level and increases up to $520/Youth level. It can be paid in full at the beginning of the year or in monthly payments online. There is also a $15 audition fee (for all except Debut)
Debut and Encore orchestras rehearse two times per week. On Tuesdays, Debut rehearses from 5:15 to 6:00p.m. and Encore from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m., Thursdays Debut is from 5:15 -6:00 and Encore 4:00-5:00 . Both days are at Peninsula High School in Gig Harbor. Junior and Youth orchestras rehearse on Thursdays from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. Rehearsals are held in Gig Harbor.
We traditionally have two regular season concerts, one in January and one in June. Our summer string camp program also rehearses for a string camp concert in August. In addition, sometimes our orchestras get asked to perform for special events during the year.
We are fortunate to have several excellent, state-certified instructors with the PYO (which makes it possible to document involvement for home-schooling students). To read about our instructors, please see the our staff page. Ask us how you can receive credit for your involvement with the PYO by contacting us at: email@example.com.
These shops and instructors are not affiliated with PYO