First of all, give yourself a big pat on the back for joining. You have chosen to be with like-minded people who want to experience the joys of making music together. Whatever your level of playing, you will find the experience rewarding and, under the guidance of a professional conductor, will learn to become a valued player of a group that performs in front an audience. Here are some things you can do to make sure that your participation will be a pleasure for you and everyone else.

1. Come to all rehearsals. Unless there is a good reason to miss a rehearsal, do try to come to every one. However, if you are not able to come to a rehearsal, please give the Association's president as much notice as possible. Every rehearsal builds on what went before and time will be wasted if the conductor needs to go back over performance issues that have already been settled.

2, Arrive early. Rehearsals and concerts require setting out chairs and stands so try to arrive early to help out. Also give yourself enough time to tune and warm up. No instrument plays well straight out of the case and all players need to give their playing muscles a workout before the rehearsal begins. This is especially true for wind instruments and in the winter months.

3. Come prepared. Rehearsals are not intended to teach you how to play your instrument. It is your responsibility to do so - ideally with the help of a good teacher. Therefore, except when rehearsals involve sight reading, you are expected have practised at home and to play what you can during rehearsals. Conductors will then be able to work with the whole orchestra or band on performance issues such as tempo, dynamics, phrasing, balance between sections, and so on. If there are parts you find difficult, those are the ones to focus on in your private practice. No one is expected to be note perfect from the start. Some people may require several rehearsals before they can play everything. During concerts you should refrain from playing parts that you have not mastered. String section leaders should make sure that players in their sections have the same bow and finger markings. The conductor will choose music that will suit the orchestra's instrumentation and capabilities. Some pieces may be relatively simple and others more challenging but in all cases the aim will be to have a solid performance that the audience will appreciate.

4. Preparedness also involves making sure you bring your music, a pencil and anything else you may need (stand lights, special chairs, etc.).

5. Be courteous to the conductor and your colleagues. This means turning off your phone, not talking or playing your instrument when the conductor is speaking, and not eating or drinking except during a break. If you have any concerns, talk to the conductor or a board member during the break or after the rehearsal. Problems can always be solved through respectful dialogue.

6. Respect your score. Your music is the property of the Sunshine Coast Community Orchestra Association and should be returned to the librarian at the end of the year or sooner if requested. If you wish to mark phrasing, fingering or anything else, please do so in pencil and erase the pencil marks before returning the score.

7. Respect the rehearsal and performance venues. Do try to avoid spills on floors and seats during rehearsals and concerts. If spills occur, be sure to arrange a clean-up. Wind players: please bring a towel to catch condensation from your instruments.

8. Above all enjoy yourself! All of the above is just common sense - you probably already do most everything suggested. So sit up, enjoy the music and have fun.