Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Question: What is New Horizons International Music Association (NHIMA)?

Answer: New Horizons International Music Association (NHIMA) is an international non-profit organization committed to the New Horizons philosophy of music making and undertakes initiatives designed to support the development and growth of New Horizons music organizations.

Question: How did New Horizons Music get started?

Answer: The idea of adults playing music was developed by Dr. Roy Ernst of the Eastman School of Music. He envisioned that many adults would be interested in making music in a group setting, but might not have the skills or confidence to get started.

Question: How are New Horizons Music programs different from other music programs?

Answer: New Horizons Music programs provide entry points to music making for adults, including those with no musical experience at all and those who were active in school music programs but have been inactive for a long period. A New Horizons Music program should be inclusive rather than exclusive. There are no auditions. Every person has musical potential that can be developed to a level that will be personally rewarding.

Question: I would like to join a New Horizons group, but I don’t think I have any musical talent. No one else in my family has ever done anything in music. People say that I’m “tone deaf.” Can I really do this?

Answer: Professor Roy Ernst says that EVERYONE has musical talent. “In more than 40 years of teaching, I’ve never found anyone who couldn’t learn music.” If no one in your family makes music, you would become a great example for them by starting.

Question: I’m not 50 yet. Can I join?

Answer: Absolutely! The program originally was targeted for people 50 and over, however, many groups now open their membership to adults of any age. This is essentially a decision that is made at the local level. There is no hard and fast rule.

Question: Why should I join NHIMA?

Answer: To support the continuation of New Horizons Music education and opportunities for adults.

Question: What is the cost of a NHIMA membership?

Answer: Go to our Individual/ Couple Membership page for more information. There are also group memberships, planning group memberships and business memberships available.

Question: How do I know what instrument I should play?

Answer: Your preference is the most important factor and the starting point. If you love the look and sound of a trombone, for example, you should start with that. Check with your conductor or teacher to see if you have any physical conditions that could be a problem. It’s rare when that is the case. If your heart isn’t set on a certain instrument, ask your conductor or teacher what the band or orchestra needs. You will be even more important if you play an instrument that fills a special need.

Question: How do I get an instrument?

Answer: You can usually rent a good instrument in good condition at a modest cost from your local music retail store (your instructor should be able to help you find a local store). Usually, if you change your mind about what instrument you want, the dealer will make an exchange for you. The most important thing is to get a good instrument in good condition. Some people become frustrated if they try to play an instrument that no one could play. If you have an instrument in the attic or if you find one at a garage sale, take it to a music store with a repair shop to find out how much it would cost to put it in good condition and whether the instrument is worth repairing.

Question: Are there New Horizons programs other than bands?

Answer: Yes. The first New Horizons program in 1991 was a band, but the intent was to also start other kinds of New Horizons programs. New Horizons orchestras and choral programs started a few years later. Many groups have formed smaller ensembles - including brass, jazz, chamber music, German bands and many others. The concept and philosophy of New Horizons Music can be applied to many other types of music making classes.

Question: How do I find a band, orchestra or other New Horizons group in my area?

Answer: All of the New Horizons groups are listed on our web site. Go to Find a Group to see detailed information. 

Question: Who sponsors New Horizons Music programs?

Answer: Sponsoring organizations for New Horizons Music programs include music dealerships, schools, community music schools, college music departments, recreation centers and senior centers.

Question: How do I change my personal information that is on file with NHIMA?

Answer: Go to the Members Only  tab, and select "update my profile" to change your personal information.

Question: If my question is still not answered on this page, how do I ask NHIMA a question or send a message?

Answer: Go to Contact Us for more information.

Question: Our New Horizons group needs to update the information on the web site. How do we do that?

Answer: To update your group information, please click on the Members Only tab and use your log in information. You can update information by clicking on ‘Update My Profile’. 

Question: We are a brand new New Horizons group. We are not listed on your web site. How do we get our group listed here?

Answer: To add a new group, please go to the following page Group Membership

Question: We have recently become New Horizons Planning Members. How do we get listed on your web site, and how would we update our planning information?

Answer: To add or update your Planning Member information, please go the following page Planning Group Membership

Question: I want to change my preferences regarding the publications I am published in, which ones I receive, how I receive them (printed), and my email preferences. How can I do this?

Answer: Go to the Members Only tab, click on "Update my Profile" and select "Custom Fields".

Question: I want to start, but there are no New Horizons groups near me. What can I do?

Answer: Go to Starting a Group where you will find all of the information you need to start a new group.

Question: Where do New Horizons groups perform?

Answer: In addition to formal concerts, performances in shopping malls and summer concerts in parks, they often play for retirement and nursing homes where added events are really needed. Some groups do group exchanges or travel internationally.

Question: How does music benefit me?
Answer: Active participation in music fills important needs for adults – the need for challenging intellectual activity, the need to be a contributing member of a group, and the need to have exciting events in the future. For many people, music can serve these vital needs better than anything else. It provides an opportunity to experience profound and serious thoughts or joyful moments. It makes connections to the past, the present and the future. It also connects one to other individuals and other cultures. Making music is a way of making vital connections to life. Early studies indicate that music making can reduce depression and increase the strength of the immune system.