GGP Handbook & Policies

Table of Contents:
Private Teacher and School Music Program Coordination
The GGP Program
Annual Orientation
Regular Tuesday Rehearsals
Saturday Theory Class and Gig Practice
Student Responsibilities
Parent Responsibilities
Concerts and Recitals
Concert Dress
Financial Aid
Membership Policy
Attendance Policy
Harassment Policy
Complaint Policy
Refund  Policy

Synergy with Bay Area Private Music Teachers and School Music Programs Fosters a Powerful Learning Dynamic!

Golden Gate Philharmonic (GGP) works closely with the San Francisco Bay Area private and school music teacher communities to ensure our program complements the experience of both private lessons and school music programs. We encourage all private and school music teachers to recommend their students to participate in our large orchestra and ensemble experience, and we require our students take private lessons and maintain their enrollment in their school’s music programs, where available.

To enhance coordination:

  • All GGP students are to take private instrumental lessons and also participate concurrently in their school’s music programs (where available).
  • GGP faculty avoid taking on as private students GGP participants who receive instruction from other private music teachers, and respect the musical training objectives set by students’ private and school music teachers.
  • We are regularly engaged with the private and school music teacher community and design the GGP program to complement and enhance those training experiences.


The GGP Program

Tuition includes: Monday orchestra rehearsals, sectional instruction and snacks;  three full concert performances; Music theory classes during regular rehearsal sessions (CADET AND JUNIOR LEVEL), and via Zoom (SENIOR AND CADET LEVEL);  recital and gig opportunities allowing students to perform solos studied with their private instructors (piano accompaniment provided)  and other chamber music opportunities.

GGP Communications

Most communications are done through email.  Regular email announcements contain important information about our program, rehearsal schedules and upcoming events. All students and parents are expected to read these email announcements.  If you are not currently receiving GGP updates and would like your email address included in our list, please send that request, and other questions or comments to:

Orientation – First Day of Each Season

A mandatory orientation is held annually for all parents and students on the first day of each season (late August or early September) at Ruth Asawa School of the Arts, 555 Portola Drive.

Regular Monday Rehearsals

Snacks and theory book assistance are provided at 4:00 pm for all students. Parents, you must email if your child will be absent for any reason.  Please be on time for both drop off and pick up.

  • Cadet and Junior Orchestras (Lakeside Presbyterian Church, 201 Eucalyptus Drive @ 19th. Ave) 4:00 pm arrival, 4:30 to 6:00 pm rehearsal
  • Senior and Camerata Orchestras (Lakeside Presbyterian Church)
    4:00 pm arrival, 4:30 to 6:30 pm rehearsal

Student Responsibilities

Each student is responsible for regular attendance, and to bring their music, well-maintained instrument, and sharpened pencil with good eraser to every rehearsal, concert and event.  Students are expected to be in their seats ready to play on time, to fully participate in the three all-GGP concerts, and to wear appropriate concert-dress attire. Students not performing in any single Chamber Recital are strongly encouraged to come as part of the audience.  It is a learning experience and gives support to your fellow musicians.

Note:  the ability to perform as a soloist is an important part of musical development. GGP students are encouraged to prepare at least one solo piece each year.  We expect each chamber group to also prepare at least one piece each year in anticipation of performing at one of our recitals. To be selected to perform, students are required to audition their piece in advance and/or have faculty approval.

Students are responsible for the music and equipment issued to them. Sheet music is to be kept in the red GGP music folder.  There is a $15 charge for each lost red music folder or theory book.

  • All students must learn — and follow — Rehearsal Etiquette:
    • All electronic devices and cell phones shall be turned off and stored during rehearsal.
    • Students shall be in their seats on time, with instrument out of its case, music and pencil on the music stand.
    • When the conductor starts the rehearsal, stop all conversation.
    • When tuning, play softly so you can hear your pitch.
    • Be respectful: rehearsals are not the time to pluck, practice or talk.
    • Conductors will frequently stop rehearsing to instruct. Stop playing immediately.  Be attentive and listen. Do not talk, practice or make noise .
    • Always have your pencil at your stand and copy bowings and fingerings as instructed.


An early arrival time is expected for all students. You must be in your seat, ready to play at the start time.  This shows respect for your conductor, for the professional faculty working with you, and for each other. It also is part of your music education training:  performers’ attendance at professional rehearsals and concerts demand early arrival for everyone.

Parent Responsibilities

Help your child structure his or her time to include home practice. A shorter practice time each day is much better than longer practice times less frequently.  Make sure to get your child to rehearsals early with their music and instrument, and don’t be late to pick them up!

  • Parent Voluntarism   We are able to keep GGP tuition low only because of parents’ willingness to volunteer.  All parents are asked to volunteer 20 hours per season.  Volunteer opportunities are announced regularly, and families completing their volunteer obligation will receive a $250 tuition credit towards the following season’s tuition.
  • Communication  Please notify in advance of any absence.  GGP will send out updates, important announcements and information to keep all families and students fully informed via both weekly emails and our website. We ask that you stay involved and up-to-date. Please email with any questions or concerns.
  • Encouragement and Support   It is important that you show your support of your child’s hard work by showing an interest in his or her participation and daily practice, and by attending your child’s performances. LOVE listening to your child play music!
  • Student Pick-up   GGP staff and volunteers remain on-site during rehearsal hours only.  Parents are responsible for picking up their children immediately following rehearsal. GGP encourages parents to carpool and make prior arrangements for emergency pick-up with other GGP families.  NOTE: the SOTA campus (555 Portola) has multiple entrances open to the public.  Please help us keep your children safe by picking them up on time at the music wing entrance.
  • Siblings   Siblings not enrolled in GGP must always be accompanied by an adult at rehearsals and performances.
  • Fundraising   Tuition covers approximately half the cost of services provided to each student.  We must ask for additional help and all families are expected to contribute what they are able to.
  • Prompt Tuition Payments  It is expected that parents will honor their commitment to pay tuition on time according to the payment plan agreed upon during registration.

We must rely on your continual volunteer and financial support to close the gap between tuition and expenses, and to ensure GGP is a fulfilling experience for your children. We need you to support our Annual Fund and Annual Benefit Gala. 100% participation to our Annual Fund can help GGP secure grants, and our Gala is one of our largest revenue generators for the organization.  Please give generously, and if you are able, consider sponsorship of one of our scholarship students.

Concerts and Recitals

GGP hosts three Tuesday evening all-GGP Concerts and several weekend afternoon Chamber Music Recitals each year.

All-GGP Concerts include all ensembles, and start at 7:00 pm. Held at Lakeside Presbyterian Church (201 Eucalyptus Drive), every GGP student is expected to attend.  Students should arrive at 4:00 pm at Lakeside for a final rehearsal before the concert.  Dinner for all students is provided, and families are welcome to have dinner with their student (please watch for announcements to make your dinner reservation for a small fee to help us cover expenses).  If you are able to, we are very appreciative of a  $10 concert donation to help us defray costs.

Chamber recital times and locations vary. Please refer to the concert schedule on the GGP website for dates and locations, or email with any scheduling questions you may have.

All performances are free, but we ask for, and strongly encourage donations to help us defray expenses.

Concert Dress

Please note that there is a limited selection of concert attire on hand for students to wear if they are not dressed appropriately:

  • Only Camerata students and Faculty wear all black dress shirt and pants or skirt/dress; black dress shoes and black socks.

  • All other students (Cadets, Juniors, Seniors, Harps, Symphonic Winds):

    • Wear a white collared shirt (like an oxford, polo, or GGP-logo shirt) and black pants/skirt; black dress shoes and black socks.
    • NO athletic shoes or skirts/dresses above the knee, NO sleeveless or low-cut blouses, shirts or outfits. NO bare shoulders.
  • Gigs and Other Performances

    • All black, dress shoes. Skirt/dresses must fall below the knee. 
    • If requested, performance dress for some formal gigs may be dress shirt and cummerbund, black pants or skirt, dress shoes.
    • NO athletic shoes or skirts/dresses above the knee, NO sleeveless or low-cut blouses, shirts or outfits. NO bare shoulders.


Financial Aid

A limited amount of Financial Aid is available to qualified students. This is awarded primarily based on financial need and secondarily on orchestral need, and is determined by a subcommittee of the Board of Directors, plus GGP’s Executive and Artistic Directors. To be considered, families must indicate their intent to apply for Financial Aid application during registration, then complete the financial aid form and submit it to the office along with all necessary documentation, including the previous year’s tax returns.

Financial Aid students are expected to be exemplary in their attitude and attendance; parents of Financial Aid recipients are equally expected to fulfill their parent participation obligation by taking on volunteer assignments.

It is hoped that Financial Aid recipients will demonstrate leadership by continuing in the program until high school graduation.

Membership Policy

Membership in GGP is open to any qualified youth in grades K-12. All students and their families are bound by the rules, policies, and procedures contained in the GGP Handbook. GGP students must participate in their school’s music program (when available), and be concurrently enrolled in private instrumental music lessons. GGP’s Saturday Theory Class, or its equivalent, is strongly encouraged for all students. We reserve the right to audition all students to determine their level, placement and acceptance into specific ensembles, and to decline registration if we determine we are unable to meet the needs of a student. Members must understand and agree that failure to comply with GGP policies and handbook, or failure to pay tuition as agreed to during registration may result in dismissal from Golden Gate Philharmonic, at the discretion of the Executive and Artistic Directors, without refund of tuition.

Attendance Policy

Absences create a hardship for the student, their section, their ensemble and their conductor.   Please make every attempt at regular attendance at Tuesday rehearsals.  Attendance at concerts and recitals is critical and mandatory.  Notification of an absence must be submitted in writing to in advance of the rehearsal or event to be missed. One unexcused concert absence or two unexcused rehearsal absences may result in suspension from GGP for the remainder of the year, with no refund of fees.

Acceptable excused absences:

  • Illness
  • Out of town
  • Conflict with a school performance
  • Conflict with a school sports or academic activity


Harassment Policy

GGP values the diversity of its students, their families, and its faculty and is dedicated to creating a learning environment that is free from bullying and harassment of any nature. Actions that target a student’s actual or perceived gender, race, ethnic or socio-economic background, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, or disability for the purpose of denigrating, intimidating, or harassing a student, a group of students, or the student’s family, are strictly forbidden. Any student engaged in such behavior, whether it takes place during rehearsals, classes, performances or other GGP-sponsored function; or while a student is enroute to or from GGP, will be subject to disciplinary action. Students engaged in such behavior outside of GGP or online may also be subject to disciplinary action. Harassment includes but is not limited to the following:

  • Teasing or taunting
  • Verbal or physical intimidation of others; bullying
  • Unwanted touching or contact; assault
  • Unwelcome sexual flirtation
  • Obscene or threatening letters, notes, invitations, e-mail, posts on social media, text messages, or phone calls
  • Racial, ethnic, or religious slurs or comments of a demeaning nature
  • Comments that create an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment
  • Sexually demeaning comments; sexual statements; demands for sexual favors; sexually suggestive questions, slurs, jokes, epithets, anecdotes, or materials
  • Sexually suggestive or insulting sounds or gestures, including whistling
  • Graphic or suggestive comments about an individual’s dress or body
  • Creating, transmitting, viewing, storing, or displaying any sexually suggestive objects, pictures, electronic images, or words
  • Graffiti containing sexually suggesting comments or racial, ethnic, or religious slurs written on walls, desks, or other areas

The GGP community must work cooperatively to stop harassment and foster an atmosphere of personal responsibility, self-discipline, and respect for others. Any student who is the target of harassment or the student’s parents must notify a GGP faculty member, Board member, or the Director. Similarly, students or parents witnessing an incident of harassment must notify GGP.

Disciplinary measures will depend on the severity of the incident and may range from suspension from some or all program activities to dismissal from the program. No person will be adversely affected as a result of bringing complaints or reports of harassment or bullying.

Complaint Policy & Board-Parent Liaison

Golden Gate Philharmonic’s Board-Parent Liaison (a designated member of the GGP Board of Directors) facilitates parental involvement, provides access to information, assists parents and others with questions, concerns, suggestions, and helps resolve disputes. Parents may contact to be placed in contact with the Board and/or to request a Parent Liaison.

The channel of complaints is as follows:

Regarding Rehearsals, Music, Student Placement:

Please, first speak with the conductor of your child’s orchestra.  If unresolved, contact Geoffrey Gallegos, Artistic Director and Principal Conductor by emailing

Regarding Faculty, Conductors, Program:

Contact Geoffrey Gallegos, Artistic Director and Principal Conductor by emailing

Regarding Administrative Matters:

Please, first email to try and resolve your concern.  If unresolved, contact Brenda Nelson Chairman of the board  by emailing

If your issue remains unresolved, you may make use of the formal complaint procedure.

Golden Gate Philharmonic Formal Complaint Policy

Each complaint will be investigated before consideration and action by the Board of Directors. Community members are strongly encouraged to first address their concerns in a face-to-face meeting with the person they have a concern with before escalating the issue into a formal complaint.

Formal Complaint Procedure:  A community member wishing to make use of the formal complaint procedure shall first make a written request for a conference detailing the grievance.  A complaint against faculty or conductors, or pertaining to the music program, rehearsals or student placement shall first be made to the Artistic Director and Principal Conductor after the complainant has attempted to redress his/her concern with the faculty.  A complaint regarding administrative matters shall first be made to the Executive Director.  If a complaint is being made against the Artistic Director and Principal Conductor or Executive Director, the complaint should be submitted to the Board of Director’s Designated Parent Liaison after the complainant has attempted to redress his/her concern with the Director.  Please email your request to contact a designated Parent Liaison to

The Artistic Director and Principal Conductor, Executive Director or Board of Director Parent Liaison, as applicable, shall acknowledge receipt of the complaint within five (5) business days, indicating the anticipated amount of time to investigate the matter, which shall be no more than one calendar month. The Principal Conductor, Artistic Director, Executive Director or Board of Director Parent Liaison, as applicable, shall grant a conference with the complainant and initiate an impartial investigation.

The Director handling the complaint shall respond in writing to the complainant.  The response shall outline the results of the investigation and any corrective or remedial action that will be taken as a result.  If the complainant does not feel the resolution of the investigation is adequate, s/he may send a request to be heard by the Board of Directors at the next regularly scheduled meeting of the Board of Directors by emailing that request to office@ggphorg.

The Board of Directors, GGP’s governance body, shall address community complaints only when the formal complaint process is followed, as above.

Refund Policy

No refund of tuition can be made once a student has started rehearsals.

GGP is a non-profit organization and tuition rates are based solely on the bare minimum required to operate. Student tuition covers less than half of rehearsal costs, facility rental fees, conductors, sectional coaches, concert programs, concert venues, music, website, photocopies, and other fees and services paid out each season.

Most of GGP’s operating costs are incurred during the summer months prior to the start of each season.  We rely on the generosity of our donors, along with grants and family foundation awards to help fill the gap.  Because we simply do not have the funds, we are unable to offer refunds on tuition.