Fredericksburg Area Young Musicians

FAYM Handbook 2020-2021

Please read all of the following information carefully. Registration in any FAYM class implies that you have read, understand, and agree to abide by all policies and procedures outlined below.

Welcome to FAYM! 2020 begins the 13th year of FAYM. This Handbook has been written in order to better serve the students and their families, to help keep the administration of FAYM working smoothly, and to protect the safety and well-being of all FAYM students.


Students will register for FAYM classes online, from the FAYM website. Registration will open a few weeks before the start of the semester. Check the website for registration deadlines.

Families who register after the regular registration deadline will pay an additional late registration fee of $10 per student.

Most classes have age requirements and other prerequisites. Please do not sign up a student for a class if he/she does not meet the age requirement or other prerequisites!

Parents will create a payment account with their own username and password when registering their children for classes. The username and password will allow families to check their own financial records and account history. Look under Tuition & Fees for more information.

The academic year is broken into two semesters: Fall and Spring. FAYM does not offer a Summer semester. Because of COVID-19, the FALL 2020 semester will be 12 weeks long. Each of the two semesters will be between 14 and 16 weeks long. Each FAYM class meets once per week, with the exception of AP Music Theory, which meets twice per week. Final concerts will be scheduled near the end of the semester, on or around the final week.

The complete FAYM calendar is available online from the FAYM website. Families are encouraged to check all dates and events for the entire semester and mark those dates on their personal calendars.

Inclement Weather
In the case of inclement weather, FAYM classes may be canceled for that day. The decision to cancel classes will be made early in the morning, usually by 8AM. Families will be notified by email, and a notice will be posted on the FAYM website. Because FAYM rents the church building and several other groups use that building throughout the week, a makeup class cannot be offered.

FAYM will not give refunds if inclement weather causes us to cancel classes.

All payments should be submitted online, at the FAYM MyMusicStaff website, using a credit or debit card. There is no charge for paying online. FAYM strongly encourages families to pay through the website. In the case that a family cannot or does not want to use a credit or debit card, checks are accepted, payable to FAYM. The mailing address for payments is 7931 Lake Anna Parkway, Spotsylvania, VA 22551.

Whether families choose to pay by check or online, all families must register on the FAYM MyMusicStaff website for an account. You will choose your own name and password for your account. The account allows you to check your own records of payments and charges (even when you pay by check). Parents can log on to their account using their username and password and submit either recurring payments or a one-time payment. For families who do not want to pay for the entire semester at once, payments can be made in THREE MONTHLY installments: September, October, and November; -or- due upon Registration, February, March, and April.

Complete information about the FAYM MyMusicStaff website can be found on the Tuition and Fees page.


There will be no refunds given if you pay for the entire semester up front and then drop a class before the semester is over.

Late Payments
All payments are due immediately upon registration, or, in the case of installments, upon registration and monthly. If a payment is not received within one week of the due date, a $10 late fee will be added to your account. Families with delinquent accounts will be suspended from all FAYM classes until payments are up to date.

Returned Check Policy
All checks returned for insufficient funds are subject to a $50 fee. When a check is returned for insufficient funds, the amount of the check plus the $50 fee must be paid by the 30th of the month or the family will not be allowed to participate in any FAYM classes until all payments are up to date.

Refund policy
Refunds are not given for any reason once the semester starts. If you've committed to a class, then it is expected that the student will attend regularly and come prepared. No refunds will be given if a family pays for the entire semester in advance but does not finish out the entire semester. There will be no refunds given if you pay for the entire semester up front and then drop a class before the semester is over.

* The ONLY exception to this policy is during the registration period. If a family signs up and pays for a class, and then has to change the class because of scheduling, or drop the class because the student did not test in to the expected level; and IF the semester has not started yet, THEN payment for the class will be refunded. Registration fees are never refunded because of the many, many hours of work and planning that the FAYM teachers put in to registering and auditioning and lesson planning for students.

Attendance Policy
It is expected that FAYM students will keep absences to a minimum. If a student has to miss a class, the family should contact their FAYM teacher to notify him/her of the absence. Excessive absences can cause a student to be dropped from the roster. If a student misses too many classes right before a performance, the student may be dropped from the performance.

Dropping A Class
If a student drops a class, the parent should notify FAYM as soon as possible. Failure to notify FAYM will result in the family being charged for the class that is being dropped, even if the student does not attend. Refunds will not be given for the remainder of a month if a family drops out before the end of the month.  There will be no refunds given if you pay for the entire semester up front and then drop a class before the semester is over.

Books and Materials, Musical Instruments, and Required equipment
The class descriptions (available from the FAYM website) will list any books, instruments, equipment, or other materials required for a class. In almost all cases, students need to provide their own instruments. The student should try to have all required books by the first class of the semester. FAYM will not provide books required for a class, except where noted. It will be the responsibility of the student to obtain his/her own book in most classes.

Where to get band and strings instruments: go to Roberson's Music, William Mason's Violin Shoppe, KBI, Music and Arts, etc. Please do not go to Guitar Center for a band, percussion, or strings class instrument. We've had too many problems in the past with Guitar Center selling the wrong instrument to a family. Go to Guitar Center if you want a guitar, but not if you want a band, percussion, or strings class instrument. You should go instead to a store that specializes in school instrument rentals and sales.


Please DO NOT renew or purchase SmartMusic for the 2020-2021 academic year on your own. SmartMusic has a new policy which requires the school to purchase all subscriptions, and students pay the school directly for specific level access to the program and the class material. 

The orchestra, band, percussion, chorus, and Music Theory classes will offer SmartMusic homework assignments for practice, assessment, and grades. Check with your teacher to verify if SmartMusic will be used in your class. While a subscription to SmartMusic is not required, During COVID online classes in the FALL 2020 semester, SmartMusic will be REQUIRED for Band, Strings, and Choir classes. Students who subscribe and do the practice and assignments will have an advantage over the other students with their practicing and progress. Students without a SmartMusic subscription can still practice and complete assignments on their own, but the SmartMusic subscription will give students an extra learning advantage, as well as extra tools, such as recordings, sightreading, tuning help, exercises, and class assessments and grades. The teacher will use SmartMusic each week to make assignments and assess each student's progress. Grades are automatically given by the program upon the completion of each assignment.

More information can be found on the FAYM website as well as the SmartMusic website: www.SmartMusic.com.
Class Descriptions
The large number of classes offered by FAYM prevents us from listing the complete descriptions here. Complete class descriptions, including age limits and other prerequisites, are listed on the FAYM website. Classes may vary each semester. Parents should not sign up a student for a class without checking the age requirement or any other prerequisite first. It is the parent's responsibility to find out what is required for each class before registering.

Testing Up (Band and Orchestra)
The students in percussion, band, and orchestra classes are divided by level, not by age or grade.

Beginning students will start in the Intro class. Students may not move up to the next level without testing up (showing competency in specific skill areas). Students will have an opportunity to testup before the semester starts. Students wanting to test up must sign up for a testup from this website. 

Band, percussion, chorus, and strings students, by participation in any band, chorus, or strings class, are eligible to participate in any VBODA- or VCDA-sponsored event, including District Band, Regional Orchestra, District Chorus, All-Virginia Chorus, All-VA Jazz Ensemble, All-VA Band or Orchestra, and Solo/Ensemble Festival. The teacher will have information about auditioning for these events as it becomes available.

Students wanting to audition for JRO or Middle School District Band must be a member of a level 3 band or strings class or higher. Students wanting to audition for SRO or High School District Band must be a member of a level 4 band or strings class.

Private Lessons
Taking private lessons is a very important part of a student's musical education. While FAYM does not require any student to take private lessons (except for Band 4 and Strings 4), the students who do study privately usually progress much more quickly and advance to higher levels sooner than the students who do not take private lessons.

FAYM ensembles are not meant to replace private lessons. Students learn different things from the two different experiences (ensemble playing and private lessons). A well-rounded musical education will include both of these experiences and not rely on only one to provide a total musical education.

FAYM does not offer private lessons as part of the FAYM program. The FAYM website includes a list of teachers who have agreed to have their information posted for your convenience in finding a specific teacher. Rates and availability will vary, so parents should contact the individual teacher to discuss those specifics.

Occasionally, a private lesson instructor may agree to teach lessons (on their own terms) on site when an open room is available. Please discuss this arrangement with the FAYM director before making specific plans to assure that there will be an open space available to you for your lesson.

Concerts and Performances
Opportunities for performing are an important part of most music classes. During the semester, students will prepare for performance opportunities, including the Final Concert, the Class Showcase, and the Solo/Ensemble Recital. Every effort will be made to schedule these events before the start of the semester and list them on the FAYM Calendar for your information.

The Class Showcase is an opportunity for the non-ensemble classes to show the public what was learned during the semester. The Class Showcase is a performance, but also a demonstration. The Beginning Piano classes, Beginning Guitar classes, Recorder class, WindStars1 class, and Elementary Music classes will perform music learned in class and/or display written forms of their work. The teachers may explain to the audience the scope and sequence of the class. The Class Showcase is a required performance for students in those classes!

The Final Concert (Winter Concert or Spring Concert) is a major performance for the large ensemble classes - Bands, Orchestras, and Choirs. Students participating in this performance will contribute to the rental fee of the concert venue (usually about $12 per family). The Final Concert is a required performance for students in those ensembles!

The Solo and Ensemble Recital is a fun, voluntary (not required) music and fellowship opportunity for students and FAYM families. Students can choose to perform solos or small group ensembles that they have prepared on their own. FAYM families will enjoy refreshments and fellowship with each other in between the performances. This recital is not offered every semester, but only when time and performance space makes it possible.

Other performance opportunities may be available during the semester if time and logistics allow.

Concert Requirement
The Class Showcase and Final Concert are a required part of those participating classes. Parents should make note of the dates of these performances and mark them on their calendars at the start of the semester in order to adequately assure attendance at these performances. Students must also attend the dress rehearsals in order to participate in the concerts.

The Solo/Ensemble Recital is not a required performance for any class. Students are encouraged to participate by preparing a musical selection on their own. Refreshments will be served at this recital, and all FAYM families are invited to attend, even if not performing.

All other performance opportunities for ensemble classes are NOT required. Sometimes FAYM ensembles are invited to perform at other community events. Obviously, in order to represent our organization well and to have a good performance, we want to encourage as much participation as possible, but no other performance during the semester is a required performance, other than the Final Concert and the Class Showcase.

Concert Dress
Concert dress for the Class Showcase is nice picture clothes, or "Sunday best" kind of dress. Please, no jeans or sneakers. Discuss concert dress with your class teacher in case the class decides on a more specific kind of concert dress.

Concert dress for the Final Concert is white shirt, black pants, and black shoes.

  • White shirt - the shirt can be long sleeve, short sleeve, button down, or golf shirt, as long as it is all white with no printing.
  • Black pants - girls can opt to wear a black skirt instead, but the skirt must be calf-length or longer. This is not just below the knees, but 3-4 inches below the knees. Girls that do not have a long black skirt should plan on wearing black pants instead. Younger girls (under age 10) can have a difficult time finding longer skirts. A MINIMUM knee length skirt is allowed for younger girls, as long as black leggings are worn underneath.
  • Black Shoes with black or dark colored socks.

The Concert Clothes Exchange Box contains concert clothing that students have outgrown. Any FAYM family is welcome to look through the box and take what is needed, free of charge. It is understood that when your concert clothes no longer fit, you will contribute to the box for other families to use.

Dress Rehearsals
The last 2 class days before the final concert will be dress rehearsal days. This does not mean the students need to be in concert dress, but the major ensembles (choirs, bands, orchestras) will practice their music in concert order. Practicing in concert order allows the students to learn how to enter and exit the stage, and how to judge how much time they have to get ready in between the different performing ensembles. Because we don't know the concert order until a few weeks before the concert, the schedule for those 2 dress rehearsal days will not be determined until a few weeks before the concert.

Dress rehearsals for the major ensembles are required for participation in the Final Concert. Families should check the calendar near the beginning of the semester for the dress rehearsal dates and mark those dates in their own datebooks. Because the exact times of day will not be known until week 12, families should block those entire two days on their calendars.

Food in Class
Food is not allowed in any classroom at any time. If students spend many hours at FAYM and need a snack or a meal, all food must be consumed in the designated area.

Because of several severe allergies, no nuts, tree nuts, peanuts, or peanut butter is allowed at FAYM at any time.

NO GUM is ever allowed anywhere in the building at any time!

Water bottles are the only liquid allowed in classrooms, but students must keep the lids/caps/tops secure.

Waiting Area - Lounge
The church is gracious in allowing FAYM the use of a waiting area. Students who have a break in between classes should wait in one of the waiting areas (designated classroom). Students should not be wandering the halls when they are not in class. Parents can not drop off students more than 20 minutes before the start of their first class, and pick up must happen no more than 20 minutes past class dismissal (but not past the end of the last scheduled class of each day).

Students who need to eat lunch while at FAYM should eat in the designated area. (FAYM is a nut-free environment because of some severe nut allergies. Please respect our NO NUT policy.)

Students should never be allowed to run and jump on the furniture in any room.

Students 10 and under are not allowed in the waiting area without their parent or guardian (even if waiting in between classes - a parent must be present).

Students who need to wait in between classes should be prepared with something to keep them occupied while they wait. The following activities are acceptable in the waiting area: board games, card games, schoolwork, snacks or lunch, reading (books, kindles, ipads, etc.), and electronic devices for personal use that do not disturb the other families sharing the waiting area (ipods, ipads, laptops, etc.).

Families who use the waiting area should be conscientious of how they use the room and how they leave it when they are done. If a chair is moved, it should be returned by the person who moved it. If snacks or food are eaten, all trash should be put in the trash cans, and the table (and floor, if necessary) should be swept or wiped down by the student who had the food. Throughout the day, students who use the lounge will be reminded of these policies and shown where dustpans/brooms and wipes can be found so they can take care of themselves.

Families who use the waiting area will be reminded that they should not leave any unnecessary tasks for the cleanup crew at the end of the day.

Because of past abuses of the waiting areas, FAYM will be strict in enforcing these policies.

Unused Classrooms
The daily schedule for each classroom will be posted on the classroom doors. When a classroom is not in use, parents can make use of the empty classrooms as waiting rooms or quiet study rooms. Occasionally, classrooms designated as free might be needed for sectionals, student practice, or private lessons. In these cases, those musical activities take precedence and any parents or students in the empty classroom should be prepared to leave the classroom. Food is not allowed in any classroom except for the lounge waiting room.

Outside Policy
The following outside policy will be strictly enforced for student safety and liability.

Students are not allowed outside to play or sit without an adult present (an adult is a guardian at least 21 years old). When the weather is pleasant, students can take advantage of the picnic tables to eat, read, or play games, but only with adult supervision (an adult is a guardian at least 21 years old). An adult guardian (at least 21 years of age) has to agree to accompany all students outside, or no students will be allowed outside.

Please do not play in the baseball areas without permission from New Life Church.

Please do not play in the playground behind the church. There are people that live in the trailers behind the church, and the church has asked FAYM to respect the personal property and space of the occupants that live there by not disturbing them with unnecessary traffic and noise.


Parking is available in front of the church ONLY. Please do NOT park or drive on either side of the building, or behind the building. This policy must be strictly enforced to ensure the safety of the children who are walking between cars and the building. 

If it is raining, please give your child an umbrella to walk to the building. Do NOT drive on the side of the building, because there is not enough room to turn around safely. 

Drop Off and Pick Up
Although FAYM allows parents to drop off their children for a FAYM class, children can not be left at FAYM beyond their regular class times. Early drop off and late pick up are not allowed. Families who regularly abuse this policy will be dropped from the FAYM student roster.

Parents can drop off students for a class and make use of the shopping areas nearby. However, students should not be dropped off more than 20 minutes before the start of their class. Students should be dropped off with enough time to get their instruments and music stands assembled before the start of class (about 10-15 minutes).

Parents are encouraged to come inside to pick up their children after their last class is over, although students can meet parents out in the parking lot. Students should be reminded that they should wait for pick up on the sidewalks only, not by wandering through the parking lot.

Students should be picked up within 10 minutes of the end of their class. Parents can not pick up more than 20 minutes past the end of their child's class, and never past the end of the last scheduled class for the day.

If parents pick up their children past the end of the scheduled day, a babysitting fee will be added  to their account at the rate of $10 for every 10 minutes late.

Classroom Responsibilities - Set Up and Tear Down
The first class of the day in any given room is responsible for setting up their own classroom before class starts. All students and accompanying adults are expected to help the teacher in setting up the classroom. Likewise, the last class of the day in any given room is responsible for tear down and clean up of that specific classroom. Again, all students and accompanying adults are expected to help. Tear down responsibilities of each classroom include resetting of all chairs and tables, folding and returning to the closet any FAYM stands, picking up paper off the floor, and inspection of the carpet (and sweeping if necessary). Because no food is allowed in classrooms, the trash cans should not need to be emptied. FAYM is not required to empty a trash can that only contains one or two pieces of paper. If a classroom trash can is found to be full, the trash bag should be taken outside to the trash receptacles and a new bag replaced.

Hall Monitors
In order to fulfill our agreement with New Life Church, FAYM must provide hall monitors any time a FAYM class is in session. FAYM will ask parents to volunteer to work hall monitor and cleaning positions in exchange for tuition. This is a voluntary position, and nobody is required to work in order to participate in FAYM.

Cleanup Crew
At the end of the day, FAYM agrees to clean up any part of New Life church that was in use by FAYM and return it to the same condition in which it was found. Since each classroom is responsible for resetting and cleaning its own room, the Cleanup Crew is only responsible for checking the hallways, sitting rooms, bathrooms, and instrument rehearsal room. The Cleanup Crew must verify that these areas are clean and reset before leaving the building for the day. Any parent/guardian with students in classes that meet at the end of the day are expected to help with general cleanup and resetting of classrooms and the rest of the building.

Student Expectations - Classroom behavior
It is expected that each student will come to weekly classes regularly with as few absences as possible. Each student is equally important in a musical ensemble. When a flute player is missing, the trumpet player cannot just move over to the flute section to play the flute's notes. When many students are missing from a class, it makes the other musicians' jobs much more difficult!

It is also expected that students will come to class prepared. This means:
* being on time
* having your instrument in good working order
* remembering to bring your book and/or other music
* having your parts learned (practice!)
* having all necessary supplies (extra reeds, pencils, music stand, etc.)

Not following these expectations is unprofessional and unfair to the students who are coming to classes prepared and ready to learn. Of course, there may be an exception or circumstance that is beyond your control. Even so, students should not be unprepared on a regular basis.

Students who miss more than 2 classes in a row, consistently come unprepared, do not respect the directions of the instructor, or consistently come to class late may be dropped from the class roster without refund.

Respect by parents and students for the Directors/Teachers
It is expected that parents will respect the choices and efforts made by the teachers/directors/hall monitors/helpers. This includes curriculum or music choices, instructions or directions, and lesson plans. Parents should also encourage their children to respect the instructions given by the classroom teachers. Because this may be the first classroom experience for some students, parents should teach their children what constitutes proper classroom behavior and respect for the teacher.

Parents and students are also expected to show respect to all other students in the class. Students should act encouragingly to all other students in the class, regardless of their level of ability. We can all help and learn from each other!

Parents who wish to talk to teachers are encouraged to contact the teacher by email. If a face to face meeting is desired, parents should email the teacher to set up a date/time to talk. Teachers are not always available in between classes to address concerns with parents.

It is important that parents feel comfortable addressing any concerns to the teachers or director. FAYM welcomes your questions, comments, and concerns in order to continue developing a great program for all families. If parents have comments or concerns about any part of FAYM, they should email their concerns, or contact a teacher or the director to set up a time to discuss. The teachers and director aren't always available to talk in between classes. Parents should not assume that they can have an important conversation with a teacher as they pick up their child after a class. Some teachers have break times in between their classes, but parents should still contact the teacher ahead of time to make sure the teacher is available for a meeting.

The number one way you can get the most out of your tuition payments is to PRACTICE your instrument or class assignment regularly. When students practice, classes progress at a faster rate, rehearsals run more smoothly, and the director can spend more time on ensemble playing and less time on helping individual players. Think about what would happen if you practiced your math or spelling skills only once a week! Your musical skills need frequent attention also. Try to make practice a part of your daily schedule. The amount of time that you practice each day is not nearly as important as the frequency - which means you'll learn the most by practicing often (every day).

It's a circle: if you practice, you'll get better. When you get better, your music will be easier. When it is easier, it is more fun to play! When it is more fun, you'll want to play/practice more. When you practice more, you'll get better. See?