Frequently Asked Questions


Whilst we hope that members will wish to attend every rehearsal, inevitably there will be an occasional event or illness which will result in absence.  Please be proactive in comparing CMA and school/family events.  Where a clash occurs, inform the ensemble leader as soon as possible.  This is particularly important for final rehearsals and concerts.  In the case of absence due to illness, please email the CMA office.


Food will be on sale in the Space Bar at the RGS during the early part of Friday evenings to get around the “when will I eat?” problem.  Typical menus will include pizza, soups, baked potatoes, pasties and cakes.  Bring a bit of money and try it out: it beats making two packed lunches!

Concert Dress

  • Junior Ensemble members:
    • Boys: Long sleeved white shirt, black bow tie, black trousers, black socks, black shoes
    • Girls: Long sleeved white shirt or blouse, black knee length skirt, white socks/neutral tights, black shoes OR black trousers, black socks, black shoes
  • Senior Ensemble members:
    • Male: Long sleeved black shirt, black trousers, black socks and black shoes NEW
    • Female: ¾ or full length sleeved black shirt and long black floor-length skirt/ trousers OR long black dress, dark/neutral tights and black shoes
Senior Ensembles Junior Ensembles
Symphony Orchestra Sinfonia
Philharmonic Orchestra Stringchronise
String Orchestra String Stars
Concert Band Academy Wind Band
Symphonic Wind Band Supersonic
Big Band Blast Off
Youth Choir Jazz Band
Show Choir Vocus
Recorder Consort Vocalise
Recorder Ensemble Springboard Choir
Clarinet/ Saxophone/ Flute Choirs Junior Recorders
Brass Dectet Recorder Racers
Harp Ensemble Riff Raff
Percussion Ensemble Percussion Pioneers
Senior String and Woodwind Chamber Groups Junior String and Woodwind Chamber Groups

Occasionally, ensembles perform more informally wearing black CMA polo shirts. These can be purchased from the online shop.

Ear Protection

Any child playing in our wind/jazz bands and percussion ensembles should wear earplugs; children over 6 years old playing in other large ensembles may also like to consider doing so.

There are alternatives:

  • Noise attenuation earplugs: these should enable you to experience loud music at safe levels without loss of audio quality and are suitable for all CMA ensembles. £17-£20, available from Strings of Penn.
  • Low-density foam earplugs are a cheaper alternative. The wearer will not hear musical balance quite as accurately, but for the louder bands they will be sufficient. They are widely available, and can be purchased at the CMA tuck shop for £1 a pair.

Foam earplugs are most effective and comfortable if they are inserted correctly:

  • Always wash and dry your hands before fitting.
  • Roll the earplug between the thumb and finger until it is compressed into a thin cylinder.
  • Whilst compressed, insert the plug well into the ear canal. Fitting the plug is easier if the outer ear is pulled outward and upward during insertion.
  • With the fingertip, hold the plug in place until it begins to expand and fills the ear canal.
  • To remove, ease gently and slowly from the ear.

If you lose/forget your earplugs, spares will always be available at the tuck shop for just £1 a pair. Don’t forget to label them though- sharing is not recommended!

Emergency contact

In the event of an emergency, you may need to contact us on 07946 411553. This number is for use during weekend CMA sessions only.

Gift Aid

Boost your fees and donations by 25p of Gift Aid for every £1 you donate! CMA can claim gift aid on 80% of membership subscriptions and 100% of additional donations. Please see our Gift Aid FAQs for details.


If you need to hire an instrument, please contact us on an individual basis. CMA have instruments available to hire and, if the instrument you need is not available, we can advise you.

Membership fees

You will receive notification of your termly membership fees by email, usually a couple of weeks into each term.  Payments are managed on ParentPay.  Please remember to give half a term’s notice of any intention to leave CMA.

Scholarships and bursaries

The CMA would like to welcome all young musicians, irrespective of their ability to pay. Please contact the office in cases of financial hardship.

Special needs

If your child has special needs, please contact us. We have children with a variety of needs playing and singing weekly in our mainstream groups.

RNIB Logo Support for blind or partially sighted students

As part of our offer to develop the musicianship of all our students, provision is offered for those who are blind or partially sighted. With the support of the Music Advisory Service at the Royal National Institute of Blind People, we can not only provide resources in accessible formats, such as Braille music or Modified Stave Notation, but also ensure that the skills are taught to use these notations effectively. Beyond notation, special consideration is given for the practicalities of ensemble performance, public performance in unfamiliar venues, the use and interpretation of gesture and any other elements normally dependent on sight. CMA welcomes the support of James Risdon, Music Officer, and Sally Zimmermann, Music Advisor from RNIB.