Peninsula Youth Orchestra Association in Gig Harbor

Balancing nurture with rigor and Compassion with ExcellencE



Common questions about the Peninsula Youth Orchestra

 Do I have to play an instrument to join the PYO?
No experience is required to begin playing with the Peninsula Youth Orchestra. We start beginning students with instruction on how to hold their instruments, the names of the strings and even how to read music. If you have not yet chosen an instrument, we can let you experiment with some of ours to get a feel for what instrument you might be interested in playing.

How do I join the PYO?
Joining the PYO is simple. You can contact us by calling (253) 534-5384, or emailing: Or you can stop in and see a rehearsal.

How old do I have to be to join?
The PYO is designed for students in grades 4-12. Though there are some exceptions, we generally take students starting in the 4th grade (beginning or experienced). We prefer to stick to this because of the maturity and ability of the students to socialize and keep up with peers in their level (not only their musical ability).

What if I can't afford to buy an instrument?
We recommend that students have their own instruments (rented or owned), but if that is not possible, we do have a limited number of instruments for use by PYO students for $50-$100/season. There are several good quality music stores in our area-you can look them up in the phone book or online, or ask us for recommendations. String instrument rental can be as low as $25 to $60/mo, often with trade-in or trade-up options. Click here for a list of local music stores.

How often are rehearsals?
Debut and Encore orchestras rehearse two times per week. Debut rehearses from 5:15 to 6 p.m., and Encore from 4 to 5:00 p.m., on Mondays and Thursdays at Agnus Dei Lutheran in Gig Harbor. Junior and Youth orchestras rehearse on Thursdays from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Rehearsals are held at Peninsula High School in Gig Harbor.

How much does it cost to join the PYO?
Involvement in the PYO is very affordable. We have a non-refundable registration fee of $100. Tuition for the year begins at $400/Debut level and increases up to $520/Youth level. It can be paid in full at the beginning of the year or in monthly payments online. There is also a $15 audition fee (for all except Debut)

What if I need help with the tuition?
Thanks to the continued generosity of our sponsors (see our PYO Sponsors page), we do have a limited number of partial scholarships and half scholarships available — ask for a scholarship application.

How many times will I get to perform?
We traditionally have two regular season concerts, one in January and one in June. Our summer string camp program also rehearses for a string camp concert in August. In addition, sometimes our orchestras get asked to perform for special events during the year.

Is the Peninsula Youth Orchestra only geared for the young student? Do I have to audition?
PYO offers four levels of string instruction. Debut introduces the student to string instruments and beginning instruction with students who are 4th grade or above — beginning students need NOT audition. Any student entering a level other than Debut will need to audition. The other levels are, with some exceptions: Encore — second year or equivalent experience; Junior — students in 6th grade or above with at least two years experience; and Youth — students in 9th grade or above with at least three years experience.

What are the qualifications of your instructors?
We are fortunate to have several excellent, state-certified instructors with the PYO (which makes it possible to document involvement for home-schooling students). To read about our instructors, please see the our staff page. Ask us how you can receive credit for your involvement with the PYO by contacting us