Frequently Asked Questions

What about practice?
A consistent practice routine is ESSENTIAL for success on an instrument. Twenty to thirty minutes a day, every day is usually adequate and should be easy to fit into your schedule. Many students like to practice more than that. Parental support and encouragement in the early stages of learning an instrument is essential. Children also need your guidance to find a time that can become routine where they can practice undisturbed.

Will practice interfere with schoolwork?
On the contrary, it has been determined both in our school system and others that most children actually improve their scholastic standings and interest in school due to the mental conditioning and self-discipline required to play an instrument. This is what many of us refer to as a strong work ethic.

Can my child be in Sports and the Orchestra Program?
Absolutely YES! There are very few conflicts with sports since the majority of rehearsal time is during the class period during the school day. Athletic activities are usually after school. Many of our high school and middle school musicians are currently in sports including football, track, wrestling, basketball, softball, tennis, golf, baseball, cheerleading, and swimming.

Where will we find an instrument?
The Highland Music Department has made arrangements with Quinlan and Fabish Music Company – a very reliable music store in Valparaiso – to offer a rental plan for all of our orchestra students who need instruments. You can visit their website for more information, but students will have a chance to try and be sized on instruments at our fitting nights.

What costs are involved?
The beginning registration fee is $125 and includes starting camp, class fees, and the beginners’ uniform polo. Checks are payable to the Highland Orchestra Boosters. Due to COVID-19, if summer camp is not possible in person the beginning registration fee due to the Boosters is only $45.

Instruments may be rented from Quinlan and Fabish Music. The store rents violins, violas, cellos, and basses. If you decide to use Quinlan and Fabish Music for your instrument, you will be required to either make the first rental payment + tax and purchase a starter kit for your instrument. Please see the current pricing sheet for all Quinlan and Fabish Music Prices.

Concerned with costs? Students may elect to fundraise to cover the cost of fair share and other music-related costs (this includes rentals, lessons, uniforms, etc.) There are also assorted scholarships available from third parties for participation in arts program for families in need.

Why Quinlan & Fabish Music Company?
An important consideration when choosing a music store is the quality of rental instruments available. Good equipment is essential for success. Orchestra instruments must be of high quality and in top-notch playing condition. Poor quality equipment or instruments out of adjustment are very difficult to play and can easily discourage beginners. Quinlan and Fabish gives us excellent service. They also employ a number of full time instrument repair personnel. The quality of service they maintain on their leased and rented instruments is outstanding. A Quinlan and Fabish representative visits our schools each week to pick up repairs and deliver supplies. Also, if repairs do become necessary, a loaner instrument will be made available at no charge while the work is being done.

What if we already have an instrument?
If you already have an instrument, it will need to be checked over thoroughly to make sure it is in proper playing condition and that it is the proper size for your child. Please bring it with you to the Registration Night. Please do not buy online without consulting a professional: a string teacher, performer, private lesson instructor, etc.

When does orchestra begin?
Orchestra typically begins during the summer with two weeks of focused instruction to “jump start” the learning process. Due to the unknowns surrounding the containment of COVID-19, summer camp may not be scheduled in 2021. Families who register for orchestra will be contacted and kept ‘in the loop’ about possible camp dates, instrument fitting/selection times, and any alternatives to camp such as video lessons. We thank you for your patience during this time and appreciate the continued enthusiasm your students show for the orchestra program.