Symphony Syllabus

Syllabus and Orchestra Policies


Assignments to Music Department ensembles are made by the faculty & conductor after student auditions during Welcome Week in the Fall Quarter. If assigned to the orchestra, for the full year, the quarter, or on a concert-by-concert basis, it is understood that each player will make a commitment to attend every rehearsal and concert. Each player is responsible for learning and mastering their part, which entails substantial preparation outside of rehearsal. To be accepted into the orchestra, string players must posses a sufficiently advanced technique to execute a variety of bow strokes, e.g. spiccato, at various tempos. Wind, brass, percussion, and harp parts are assigned to both music majors and non-music majors. However, all things being equal, i.e. experience, expertise, and availability, music students will have preference over community players and non-music majors. Wind and brass players who have not been assigned to the orchestra are expected to participate in the Wind Ensemble. Periodically, in consultation with the Wind Ensemble Director, some players may be rotated between the orchestra and the wind ensemble. Orchestra members are expected to participate in the Fall Quarter Orchestra Retreat, at which time work is done to prepare for the entire year's concert season.



All orchestra members are required to purchase "Rhythmic Training,"by Robert Starer, for use throughout the year. This text is available at The exercises in this book prepares players for understanding and performing most rhythmic challenges. Although assignments may not be given regularly, each member of the orchestra is expected to work on the exercises on his/her own. Periodic, individual checks will be made, either during rehearsal or in specially designated private sessions. 



Seating is made on a concert-to-concert basis. Rotation is at the discretion of the conductor, possibly in consultation with other members of the faculty.



Attendance at all concerts and all rehearsals is required. Absence from rehearsals and concerts will be excused only in cases of incapacitating illness or family emergency. Written notice is required, and a doctor's note may be requested. Absences for reasons other than the above will affect your grade and/or membership in the orchestra (see below). At the discretion of the conductor, you might be asked to find a substitute should you be excused from a rehearsal.

Attendance is taken at 6:50 pm, UCI Standard Time (the rehearsal studio clock) and rehearsals begin on time with the tuning note. All musicians should be in their places and warmed up before the start of each rehearsal and after break. More than infrequent lateness will affect one's grade and/membership in the orchestra. It is the student's responsibility to request excuses, and document absences/lateness via e-mail.


Rehearsal Schedule

Orchestra members are expected to check the rehearsal schedule regularly, as times and locations are subject to change.


Orchestra Behavior/Etiquette

Orchestra members are expected to behave with the same decency, respect, and courtesy for all other members and instructors as would be demanded in school and society. Any single incident of abusive language or behavior is cause for immediate dismissal from the group.

For last minute emergencies, please leave messages on the orchestra office voice mail, (949) 824-0225.


Course Registration

All orchestra members who are UCI students are expected to register for a letter grade. Wind and brass players assigned to only one of the two concerts/quarter and who do not intend to follow the auxiliary curriculum should register for one, not two credits (Mus. 06120, different course number) as well as their other ensemble assignment. The auxiliary curriculum in orchestra is designed for students who need to fulfill the requirements for two credits, but are employed in playing on a limited basis. These requirements may include one or a combination of the following: weekly coaching in an area high school, research paper, attendance and participation (non-playing) in rehearsals and concerts, and possible library work.



One half of a student's grade will be determined at scheduled pre-concert evaluations made no later than two weeks before each concert. This might include evaluations in a smaller ensemble (e.g. string quintet) performing challenging sections of a work, or just observation during a sectional or full rehearsal. One half is determined by overall accomplishment. After determining the level of accomplishment as defined above, grades are lowered one-third of a grade (e.g. B+, B, B-) for each unexcused absence and/or more than infrequent lateness. Assuming excellent musical progress (A level) two unexcused absences would lower the grade to B+.


Final Grade

Generally, the final grade is computed after members of the orchestra have satisfactorily completed the quarter and all its requirements.
If a member does not perform the final performances, without approved absences (supported by an accepted doctor's letter), this member is not likely to receive a passing grade.


Music and Folders

Musicians will be responsible for that music until it is collected at the final concert performance. All music distributed for a particular concert must be left on the stand at the end of that concert. Failure to leave the music on the stand could result in a fine to compensate for any late fees charged by rental companies, and/or a lowered grade.

Any loss of music or folder will be compensated by the individual member.

Charges for missing or damaged parts will be assessed and must be reimbursed by the player. A grade of incomplete will be filed until the situation is resolved. If the player must be absent from a rehearsal, arrangements must be made to deliver the music to the rehearsal. The timely copying of bowings and changes are the responsibilities of the players and section leaders.



Orchestra members are expected to assist with the distribution and posting of promotional materials as determined by the orchestra manager and the publicity department of the School of the Arts.


Concert Dress

Concert black: black dress shirt or blouse, dress pants or dress; black shoes and black socks. Black jackets are optional. No ties.

Please wear deodorant but refrain from wearing strong perfumes as some people are allergic and wind players have a hard time breathing with it in the air.

There is no dress code for rehearsals.


Music Library Course Reserves

Scores and recordings of current repertoire will be available on reserve in the Music Media Center. It is the responsibility of members to avail themselves of these materials. Failure to listen to recordings and check scores could result in reduced grades or removal from the group.


The Conductor

Dr. Geoffrey Pope has been recognized through numerous appointments, commissions, and awards as a conductor and composer. Pope’s musical work has taken him throughout the United States and Europe, where he seeks to present provocative and engaging performances that have a strong cultural impact. He joins UCI in 2022, having led in an interim capacity in the spring quarters of 2019 and 2021. For more information, click here.

Upcoming Performances