Ottawa New Horizons Band

Ottawa New Horizons Band

Music for life

Ottawa New Horizons Band

Ottawa New Horizons Band

Frequently Asked Questions

What band should I join?

There are a number of in-person concert and jazz bands to choose from. Some bands, including virtual bands, may not always be offered. There are no hard and fast rules for which band you should join. The general descriptions below may help you find the best fit for you.

For more information on both the virtual and in-person programs, please refer to the Our Bands page on the ONHB website.

  • Beginner Concert Band
    For those who have never played an instrument or are starting on a new-to-you instrument. You will be taught the basics – putting together your instrument, getting a sound, learning to read music, learning and playing a scale and simple band pieces at a level 0.5 – 1.

  • Easy-Intermediate Concert Band
    This band is a step up from Beginner. It may appeal to those returning to playing after a lengthy absence, those who want easier music to play, or those who would like more instrument-specific instruction. Music will be mainly at a level 1 – 2.

  • Intermediate Concert Band
    For those who play their instrument on a regular basis and want to enjoy full ensemble playing with occasional instrument instruction, this band will offer music at a variety of levels, mainly within the range of 2 – 3.

  • Advanced-Intermediate Concert Band
    For those who play their instrument on a regular basis, who can easily sight-read music, and who enjoy the added technical challenges present in music at a level 3 – 4.

  • Easy Jazz Band
    For those with one or more years of playing experience looking to learn jazz styles such as Swing, Latin, blues, funk, rock and/or Motown. It will be required to purchase Jazz Ensemble Method by Dean Sorensen and Bruce Pearson, published by Neil A. Kjos Music Co.

  • Intermediate Jazz Band
    For those who are comfortable playing their instrument and want to learn a variety of jazz styles including big band, blues, funk, rock and Motown.

  • Advanced-Intermediate Jazz Band
    For those with several years of experience at an intermediate or advanced level, including familiarity with jazz music, this band will provide the challenge you are looking for.

  • Virtual Band (when offered)
    This band is conducted over Zoom, allowing musicians to participate together online while muted. A variety of music will be offered at the intermediate level. All are welcome to join from any location in Canada.
Which instruments are normally considered part of a concert band or jazz band?


  • Flute
  • Oboe
  • Clarinet/bass clarinet
  • Bassoon
  • Saxophone (alto, tenor, baritone)
  • Trumpet
  • French horn
  • Trombone
  • Euphonium/Baritone
  • Tuba
  • Bass guitar
  • Percussion (includes bells, xylophone, drums, tambourine, timpani, etc.)


  • Flute (reading transposed trumpet and alto sax parts)
  • Clarinet (reading trumpet or tenor sax parts)
  • Saxophone – alto, tenor, baritone
  • Trumpet
  • Trombone
  • Euphonium/baritone (reading trombone parts)
  • Electric guitar
  • Electric/acoustic bass
  • Drum kit/auxiliary percussion
  • Piano

On the registration page, you can see what your instrument choices are for any band by clicking on that band and scrolling to the drop-down list.

How do I choose an instrument?

You may be drawn to certain instruments for their sound quality or because of their association with a particular genre of music. Alternatively, you may discover that you are better suited physically to playing certain instruments. If you enjoy singing and have a good sense of pitch, this is a definite advantage when choosing a brass instrument.

The best option when you are starting out is to rent an instrument from a reputable music store until you are certain of your choice. If you play percussion, purchase a set of sticks and a drum pad so that you can practice at home.

ONHB has a few larger instruments which may be available for loan. Percussion instruments are not available for loan but are provided at rehearsals.

Once a year (usually in June) there is an information meeting for anyone interested in joining ONHB. Check our calendar and/or sign up for our mailing list for advanced notice. Several ONHB musicians will tell you about their instrument and their experience with ONHB.

How long are the sessions?

The fall and winter sessions are generally 11-12 weeks in length. The shorter spring session usually runs for about 8 weeks. Rehearsals are held once a week.

Bands have typically held “open rehearsals” or concerts during the last week of the session where friends and family are invited to attend.

There may be opportunities for bands to play formal concerts or perform at community events.

What is the demographic of ONHB members?

Our musicians range in age from 18 to 90+, and we all share a passion for music! Our Ottawa NHB membership includes not only a wide age range but also an interesting group of people with many diverse backgrounds.

Who are the band leaders?

Our ONHB band leaders are professional musicians and/or music teachers with a passion for teaching.  Their credentials are impeccable and many have been with ONHB for several years. Check out our Band Leaders Bios.

What do I need to bring to rehearsals?

You will need:

  • an instrument in good working order (plus reeds if you play clarinet, oboe, or sax) and instrument care materials such as valve oil/cork grease/slide cream, cleaning cloth, etc.  If you are a percussionist or electric bass player, talk to your band leader about what to bring

  • a portable music stand

  • a method book (only if required – check the Our Bands section or your band leader will inform you by email close to the session start)
  • a pencil

  • a music stand light (optional, but especially helpful if you have vision issues)
Is there parking?

Yes. Free parking is available at all venues, as are transit services.

What does it cost?

In-person band fees and virtual band fees are set by the ONHB volunteer Board of Directors to cover anticipated expenses such as band leader fees, rental fees, music, insurance coverage, website, and other costs. ONHB is a non-profit organization and fees are very reasonable. 

How do I register and pay?

Click on the Registration menu tab. Registration generally begins a few weeks prior to the start of a new session. 

Payment options include:

  • PayPal
  • Credit Card – via the PayPal portal (you do not need a PayPal account to pay with your credit card)
  • Email transfer – to
  • Cheque – made out to Ottawa New Horizons Band. On the memo line, put your name (If different from the name on the cheque) and the name(s) of your band(s).

    Mail cheque to:
    745 Island Park Drive
    Ottawa ON K1Y 0B9

You will receive an automatic email confirming your registration – you may have to check your spam folder. If you choose to “skip online payment” during the registration process, you must send payment via email transfer or cheque. Registration is not complete until payment is received.

If you wish to change your registration after submitting the form (for example, switch from one band to another), please email

Each band leader will send a detailed email out to all registered band members about a week prior to the start of the session.

Can I register for more than one band?

Yes, ONHB members are welcome to join a second band providing band space and instrument balance allow.

Will I get a refund if I withdraw?

A member withdrawing from a band before the third rehearsal of a session will receive a full refund, minus a $25 administrative fee. Refunds will not be provided for later withdrawals.

To withdraw, please send an email to our ONHB Administrator and your band leader to advise them of your decision. Please tell them why you are leaving so that we may improve the ONHB experience for our members.

What happens if a rehearsal is cancelled?

If three or more rehearsals are cancelled for a particular band, those members can request a pro-rated refund by emailing

How can I share my feedback?

The members of the Board of Directors as well as band leaders appreciate feedback provided by our ONHB members. Please refer to the Contact Us page. Each band also identifies a band representative to support their respective band leader and members and can be contacted during the session or rehearsals. We also run surveys throughout the year to help us fine-tune our program.  All comments are carefully considered, and many great suggestions have been implemented.