Welcome back to your child’s 2nd or 3rd year in Orchestra! I am looking forward to a great year. I thought it would be helpful to review the expectations and curriculum for your child as they continue to study a stringed instrument. If you have any questions about anything below please feel free to call or email me!
o Each child is expected to practice 5 days a week for 20-30 minutes each day.
o This year we will be using the 1000 Minute Club Practice Chart. Your child should fill in 1 box for every 10 minutes of practice. Once one chart is completed they should turn it in and begin the next chart, working towards 2000 Minutes of practice, and eventually 3000, etc.
o Awards will be given at the end of the year picnic for the children who become members in each “practice club.”
o Your child should circle the pages they should practice in their method books before they leave their lesson. All sheet music in their binders is expected to be practiced. This will help them know what to practice when they are at home.
o Practice charts will be checked weekly on the day of your child’s lesson. Please sign your initials after they have completed one row of practice.
· Lesson/Rehearsal Attendance
o Attendance at weekly lessons and rehearsals is expected. Children should be on time to their lessons and rehearsal. Lessons occur either on Tuesdays, Wednesdays (pm), or Fridays. Rehearsal is every Friday from 12:45-1:30.
o Any work that is missed in the classroom while your child is at lessons and/or rehearsal must be made up.
o Children are expected to attend lessons and rehearsals with their instrument, binder, practice chart, book(s), sheet music, and a pencil. They should be ready to learn and prepared with their music. A dry cloth should be in their cases to wipe off the rosin after each time they play!
. · Information to go home
o Anything that I send home I ask the children to put it in the left side pocket of their binders. I typically do not send information home weekly, but it is important to check your child’s binder on a regular basis and/or ask them if they have any papers from orchestra for you. Any quizzes or worksheets they have completed will also be found on this side of the binder so that you can see their progress.
o Newsletters will go home bi-monthly, starting in November. I write the newsletter to help keep you informed about what your children are doing in orchestra, but also to inform you about other string topics. So, if you have any topics that you would like me to write about in the newsletter please let me know. These will be available online, and a hard copy will be sent home.
· Method Books/Curriculum
o The 2nd year string players will continue to work in New Directions for Strings, Book 1 this year, as well as begin work in Essential Elements 2000, Book 2. We have begun the year reviewing D-Major and the 8 notes they learned last year. By the end of book 1 they will have learned how to play on all 4 strings, all 4 fingers. They will learn many new rhythms, key signatures, time signatures, and bowings this year as well. Book 2 has already been purchased for them.
o The 3rd year string players have begun working in a new book, Essential Elements 2000, Book 2. In book 2 they will review the concepts they have learned up to this point, but they will also build on these skills. They will learn two octave scales, new key signatures and rhythms. They will also learn some new bow styles. This book will help reinforce and develop new skills that will help them play the music in orchestra with beautiful style and intonation. They may also do some work in¸ Essential Technique where they will learn how to shift.
o All children will be assessed frequently throughout the school year. Some of these assessments will be on songs/exercises in their books. Other playing assessments will be on excerpts from the various sheet music they will play.
o Worksheets will be given to complete as part of their homework throughout the year. The worksheets help to reinforce skills they are learning to play by writing the concepts they have learned about.
o Your child will receive a progress report for orchestra each trimester. Please look for it to come home in the same envelope as your child’s classroom progress report.
· Concerts/Concert Attire:
o The concert dates are as follows:
- Winter Concert: Wednesday December 12, 2012 (6:30pm)
- In-School Winter Concert: Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012 (2:00)
- Arts Night- TBD
- Spring Instrumental Concert: June 4, 2013 (6:30pm)
o Students are expected to arrive at school at 6:00pm to get tuned and prepare for each concert.
o Orchestra students should wear a white shirt and either black pants, skirt, shorts, or crop pants if possible.
o I am hoping there will be other performance opportunities as well. As soon as these are set I will send home the dates for your calendar.
· Rental Instruments
o If you have a rental instrument it is important to have an extra set of strings for your child’s instrument. Unfortunately the school cannot supply these for you. I recommend the brand, D’Addario Prelude. These are less expensive than some brands, but produce a nice sound compared to brands of lesser value. It is cheaper to buy them as a set. It will also save you money to buy them online. I purchase strings through both Southwest strings (www.swstrings.com) or Shar Music (www.sharmusic.com) I believe both of these companies will ship strings only orders for free!
o If you rent it is also your responsibility to purchase a shoulder rest, and rosin if the one in the case ever breaks.
· How to contact me
o I am at S.B. Butler on Tuesday, and Wednesday (pm only) and Friday. If you need to contact me on one of these days please call SBB at 860-572-5825.
o I am at Northeast Academy on Monday, Wednesday (am), and Thursday. Please feel free to call: 860-572-5852.
o I can always be reached via email: email@example.com
o Please do not ever hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns. I believe it is very important to keep communication open between one another in order for your child to have the best musical experience possible.