Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions1. How did New Horizons Music get started?

The idea of senior adults playing music together was developed by Dr. Roy Ernst of the Eastman School of Music. He envisioned that many adults, as they approached and entered retirement, would be interested in making music in a group setting, but might not have the skills or confidence to get started.  Our New Horizons ORCHESTRA welcomes adults of any age!

2. How are New Horizons Music programs different from other music programs.

New Horizons Music programs provide entry points to music making for adults, including those with no musical experience at all and those who were active in school music programs but have been inactive for a long period. A New Horizons Music program should be inclusive rather than exclusive. There are no auditions. Every person has musical potential that can be developed to a level that will be personally rewarding.

3. I would like to join, but I don’t think I have any musical talent. Can I really do this?

Professor Roy Ernst says that EVERYONE has musical talent. “In more than 40 years of teaching, I’ve never found anyone who couldn’t learn music.” If no one in you family makes music, you would become a great example for them by starting.  Get a music stand, buy or rent a violin, viola, cello or bass and you can join us!

4. I’m not 50 yet. Can I join?

Absolutely! The program originally was targeted for people 50 and over, however many groups, including this orchestra, allow membership that is open to adults of any age.

5. How do I know what instrument I should play?

If you don’t have an instrument, you may want to listen to the orchestra in rehearsal.  Visitors are always welcome and any orchestra member would be glad to demonstrate his or her instrument (at least with a scale!).  Adam, our beginner strings teacher may have some ideas for you.

6. How do I get an instrument?

Good instruments can be rented for modest cost from Heid Music in Appleton,  StringWorks online, and other music stores in the area or online.  If you have an older string instrument, especially one that hasn’t been played for a while, it would be a good idea to have it checked over at the repair department of one of the music stores.  Some orchestra members also are qualified to tell you what needs to be done to make it playable.

7. How much does it cost to join?

The orchestra year is divided into five sessions;  10 or 11 week Fall session, 4 weeks Holiday session,  8 or 10 week Winter session, 10 or 12 week Spring session, and 4 or 6 week Summer session.  In all, 46 weeks of rehearsals are offered in the 5 sessions.  Note: the Holiday session and the Summer session are dependent on sufficient enrollment to cover costs.

The cost per 2-hour rehearsal is about $15 or less.  Tuition for a 10-week session will be $150 or less.  A wonderful deal!  Tuition payments are due by the first rehearsal and tuition may be paid in two installments.

There are a limited number of full tuition scholarships available for those who would benefit.  Just ask for an application.  The steering committee decides.  Scholarship applications and the names of recipients remain confidential.

8. Where and how frequently will we perform?

We plan a concert at the end of the Fall, Winter and Spring sessions.  Our Fall and Spring concerts share the program with our sister ensemble, the New Horizons Band Fox Valley.  A wonderful Orchestra-only Winter Concert is usually planned, and the time and date varies.

9. How do I get started?

Go to the Join Us page and register for the next available session.

10. What equipment do I need?

We encourage players to have the following equipment:

  • –  Music stand
  • –  Instrument, bow, case
  • –  Rosin
  • –  Tuning device (phone apps may be difficult to use for tuning because the space echos)
  • –  Rock stop (cello only)
  • –  Shoulder rest (violin, viola only)
  • –  Cleaning cloth
  • –  Peg grease
  • –  Replacement strings
  • –  Stand light
  • –  Beginner players:- All for Strings – theory book 1 for your instrument
    – Measures of Success – book 1 for your instrument


Items in bold are essential, other items are optional.

For assistance picking out which options are best for you, please stop by your local music store! Experts at Heid Music are ready to answer any questions you may have.


Contact us! You will find an orchestra made up of friendly, welcoming members who enjoy making music together.

“Before finding this group, I thought my days of performing were done.  I’m so glad I was wrong.  I come alive when I play.” ~orchestra member