Durham Orchestra Handbook


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Policies and procedures for the Durham MS Orchestra.

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Durham Orchestra Handbook

  1. 1. DURHAM ORCHESTRA HANDBOOK Part 1: General Information IntroductionWelcome to the Durham Middle School String Orchestra! Our goal in providing thishandbook to you is to clearly communicate our desire for an excellent year and to helpour ensemble members successfully contribute to their orchestra. This handbook shouldbe familiar to parents and students. GoalsStudents will gain a musical sensitivity while performing within an ensemble and as asoloist. The students will also learn music reading skills, music history, music theory andperformance skills on their chosen instrument. Course DescriptionThere is no previous music study necessary for this 6 th grade orchestra; however, 7th and8th grade students are required to demonstrate appropriate ability on their instrument.Students are required to rent / buy their own instruments for practice / rehearsal and willbe given a list of materials for the course. Basics of string instrument performance in agroup and in solo situations will be studied. Students are required to perform in all ofhis/her ensemble’s concerts. EnsemblesEach grade level will have a full string orchestra comprised of violin, viola, cello, anddouble bass. There will also be an opportunity to audition for an extra-curricular group.String Orchestra: String Orchestra is open to all 6 th, 7th, and 8th grade students. It isstrongly recommended that 7th and 8th grade students have previous string education inorder to perform at curriculum level. Sixth grade students will be taught as beginners anddo not need any previous string experience. Rehearsals take place every school day anentire class period. This is a year-long class, and students must be committed for the fullyear. Class participation and concert attendance is required.Extra-Curricular Groups: Depending on student interest and available time, we willhave audition-based small groups. These groups will rehearse outside of school hours.Regular attendance is required in order to maintain membership in the ensemble. 1
  2. 2. Equipment/Materials Needed (Always Label)Daily preparation is essential for success in orchestra. Unless otherwise stated, studentsare responsible for having these materials in class daily: 1. Instrument and bow, in good condition, with a clearly-marked label located in and outside of case with student’s name, address and phone number. (Most cases will look alike). ** Please keep a copy of the brand, model and serial number of instrument at home. 2. Shoulder rest (violins and violas). Please make sure name is on shoulder rest. Shoulder rests are required. It is optional to have a case for your shoulder rest. 3. Books – Make sure to get the edition for YOUR INSTRUMENT! *6th grade method book: Essential Elements for Strings 2000: Book 1 (orange border) *7th grade method book: Essential Elements for Strings 2000: Book 2 (purple border) *8th grade method book: Essential Techniques for Strings 2000 (green border) 4. Black 1” 3-ring binder 5. 15 – 20 clear page protectors. 6. Music (provided in class). 7. Pencil with a good eraser. 8. Soft cloth for cleaning 9. Durham Agenda 10. Extra set of strings! Violin, Viola, and Cello students are encouraged to have an extra set of strings. 11. Folding Metal Music Stand to be used for practice at home. 12. Rock stops (cellos and basses, to use on non-carpeted floors) 13. Tuner (Optional – good for home practice) 14. Metronome (Optional – good for home practice) Grading ProcedureGrade categories are based on the Georgia Performance Standards (GPS) for musiceducation. Points will be designated according to the weight of each assignment, and theassignments will fall under the appropriate standard. The categories and percentages areas follows:GPS Strand: Skills and Techniques/Performance 55% of total gradeGPS Strand: Creative Expression and Communication 15% of total gradeGPS Strand: Critical Analysis/Investigation 15% of total gradeGPS Strand: Cultural and Historical Context 15% of total grade 2
  3. 3. You will notice that the majority of grades are taken from the following assignments:Daily Rehearsal Techniques • Prepared for class with pencil, music, and instrument. • Uses class time wisely. • Participates in class rehearsals, discussions, and performances. • Evidence of teamwork in an ensemble (contributing to the group through positive attitude, behavior, supportive comments and actions.) Students are evaluated on their level of participation in the classroom on a daily basis. Active and full involvement in the rehearsal process is expected. Through observation the instructor will evaluate the individual student’s participation in class and preparedness on a daily basis. Failure to fully participate in class by coming unprepared (including forgetting instrument, music and/or equipment) or not actively participating will result in a lower grade. Remember it is important to try your best!*Performance EvaluationsStudents’ performance will be periodically evaluated by performance tests. These will measurestudent progress towards attainment of a specific musical goal. These tests may consist of musicalpassages from literature, as well as fundamental exercises such as scales, arpeggios, techniqueexercises etc.*Written work (music theory, quizzes, and worksheets)*Individual PracticeAny member who does not demonstrate sufficient practicing in his/her music is not only limitinghis/her individual potential and success, but is also limiting the same for the orchestra. Remember, the orchestra is a group effort. Please do your part! 3
  4. 4. Parent Responsibilities1. Email me, Call me, or Send in a note. I prefer to hear directly from you verbally or in writing, rather than relay verbal messages through your child. I will need to hear from you if your child is going to be unprepared because an instrument is in the repair shop. Also, if you have questions about grades, attendance, etc. please contact me!2. Mark your calendars. Please reserve time and make arrangements with work in order to support your child at concerts and other orchestra functions.3. Don’t try to fix a broken instrument. Bring school-owned instruments to me ASAP, personal instruments go to a repair shop of your choice. Ask if they staff a luthier.4. Provide concert attire. Please take note of what your child is expected to wear at our concerts. Now is a good time to make sure they have the necessary clothing.5. Attend concerts. Your child values your attendance. Our concerts are normally about one hour long. If multiple ensembles are performing, it is courteous for you to stay for the entire concert. Your child will benefit from hearing the other groups perform.6. Financial responsibility. Please be aware that being involved in a music program is a lot like being involved in sports or dance. There may be miscellaneous expenses that will come your way. However, students should never have to miss an opportunity due to lack of funds. If there is a financial situation that would hinder your child’s involvement, please let me know! I will do whatever I can to make sure that all my students have what they need.7. Large instrument = Large vehicle. If your child plays the double bass or cello, please make sure that you have a vehicle to transport the instrument. A double bass will not fit in a sedan or hatchback. You will need an SUV or a Truck with a cover over the truck- bed (in case of rain). 4
  5. 5. Part 2: STUDENT EXPECTATIONS PreparationPreparation is essential for success in orchestra. If a student makes a habit of comingunprepared to class it is very easy for that student to fall behind, bringing the overallquality of the ensemble down. If an instrument has to go to the shop for a repair, I askthat parents contact me (by phone or in writing) to inform me of the situation, and it willnot affect the student’s grade. In the event that a student comes to class unprepared for 2consecutive weeks, he/she may be jeopardizing their future with the Durham Orchestra. Student ConductIt takes effort from each individual in an ensemble to set the tone for an overallsuccessful ensemble experience. I am looking for students who positively contribute tothe education, atmosphere, and quality sound of the orchestra. Students are expected toadhere to the code of conduct in the Durham agenda. In addition to the rules covered inthe agenda, there are some specific guidelines that our students must follow in theorchestra class.Guidelines: 1. Self-control and respect (people, property, yourself) are highly valued in the orchestra. 2. Raise hand to speak or ask a question. 3. Be prepared with instrument and materials. 4. Students should make every effort to use the instruments, bows, rosin, tuners, chairs, stools, and all other orchestra-related equipment in an appropriate way. 5. As we are surrounded by fragile instruments, there will be no running or horseplay in the orchestra. 6. GUM, FOOD, DRINKS, and COSMETIC PRODUCTS are not to be out in the orchestra room. These items may be taken and/or thrown away. 7. Students should handle and perform on their assigned instrument only.Classroom Procedures: 1. Enter quietly and on time. 2. Check the board for instructions. 3. By the time set by the orchestra director, be in your seat with instrument, music, pencil, accessories and agenda. 4. Upon dismissal by the orchestra director, put away materials and follow end of class procedures for your ensemble.Discipline Steps: 1. Verbal Warning 2. “CAT Card” interventions 3. Isolated Seating 4. Parent Contact 5
  6. 6. Conduct Grade: After contact with a parent for inappropriate behavior, the conduct grade may belowered to an N or a U. AttendanceAttendance is expected in class and at concerts. Students who consistently missrehearsals or concerts for unexcused reasons will be removed from orchestra. Ensemblesrely on the participation of all students involved. Concert attendance is crucial for thesuccess of the ensemble. Concert PolicyConcert Performance is a Playing Test: Students will receive an automatic 100% as aPerformance Test Grade by performing in a scheduled concert with proper attire andbehavior. Behavior is assessed from the time a student walks into the orchestra room andincludes the student’s behavior as an audience member as well as his/her behavior on thestage during the performance.Excused Absence: In the unfortunate event of illness or death in the family, a missedperformance is excused. Parents, please let me know in writing of the situation.Late for a concert: If a student is late for a concert, and his/her ensemble is already onstage, it is not acceptable for that student to join the ensemble. In this situation, thestudent will have to make up the performance.Unexcused Absence: If a student misses a concert performance for any reason otherthan illness or death in the family, the absence is unexcused. This includes lack of a ride,family work hours, vacations, etc. Students who miss a concert will need to make a soloaudio or video recording of their concert repertoire to be submitted for a grade. Concert UniformsSince we are striving to sound as one ensemble and not a group of soloists, we also wantto present ourselves as one ensemble. The uniform will be a first impression of yourgroup, before you even play a note. Students are responsible for coming to a concertdressed appropriately. Unless otherwise stated, this is how we will dress for our concerts.6th Grade: White Durham Music Polo shirt (will be ordered in the fall) Black dress pants Black dress shoes Black Socks7th & 8th Grade: Gowns and Tuxedos (ordered in the fall) 6
  7. 7. Instrument Storage RoomViolin and viola students will be given a storage locker for storage during the school day.The orchestra provides padlocks with combinations. Please note that use of theinstrument storage room is a privilege and is not a guarantee. Any student who misusesthe storage room will be denied locker privileges and will not be allowed in the storageroom. The main purpose of the storage room is to give students a break from carryingaround an instrument all day. The general guidelines for using the storage room are asfollows: 1. Students will be given a permanent pass to be placed in their agenda. 2. Students may bring their instrument to the locker before homeroom begins. 3. When a student arrives to orchestra class, he/she should retrieve instrument from locker and immediately take assigned seat. 4. At the end of the day, students will be allowed to retrieve their instruments in order to practice at home. Any abuse of this time or failure to retrieve your instrument on a consistent basis will result in being denied this privilege. 5. Loss of storage room access will result from negligence and misuse. Examples include: failure to take instrument home to practice, excessive socializing, horseplay/rowdiness, tampering with locks/lockers/equipment, and littering. PracticeStudents will periodically fill out practice logs for a grade. Students who practice feelmore comfortable with their instruments, they advance at a faster rate, and theyexperience less performance anxiety than students who do not practice. I expect allstudents to practice on a regular basis. This is your “homework” in orchestra. Things toconsider when you practice: • Practicing should include scales, music from class, and something fun! • Practice is what you do outside of class time; class is not the time to practice. • Parents may need to remind and encourage students to practice. • Do not practice to the point where you are in pain. Take breaks. • Make an environment where you are not distracted during your session. • Reward yourself for a good practice session! Early Morning Rehearsals & Practice TimeThe orchestra room will be open before school for extra-curricular rehearsals and studentpractice. The orchestra room will be open from 8:15 until 8:50 AM, Tuesday throughFriday. This will be an environment where students rehearse in special ensembles orreceive individual assistance from Mr. Schroter. Once a student enters the orchestraroom for rehearsal, he/she must remain in the room until the homeroom bell. Anythingbeyond diligent practice or assisting each other will result in dismissal from earlymorning practice time. 7
  8. 8. Instrument Use and CareIt is strongly recommended that all students rent an instrument. String instruments comein various sizes. As your child is still growing, it would be wise to rent (not purchase) astring instrument to suit the size of your growing child. There are many rent-to-ownprograms at stores in the area. It is best to acquire a stable and trusted student modelstring instrument. This will help save problems and money for repairs in the future.Students and parents should pay special attention to maintaining and caring for theinstrument. If an instrument needs any repairs please allow a professional to take care ofthe issue. Often times I see instruments end up in worse condition because somebodytried to fix it on their own. I am able to replace strings, re-set bridges, and tighten chinrests. Beyond these minor repairs I ask that you seek a professional through one of ourmany local music stores. For best results in maintaining your instrument please followthese guidelines: • Do not try to fix a broken instrument on your own, this includes parents!!! • Never leave your instrument in a car overnight. • If a school-owned instrument needs repairs, bring it directly to Mr. Schroter. • Make sure the case is properly latched before picking it up. • Wipe down strings after playing in order to remove the oils from your fingers. • Do not use chemicals on the instrument other than those specifically made for your instrument. • Hard shoulder rests should not be left inside a violin/viola case on top of the instrument. If your case does not have room for the shoulder rest, use a clip-on case.School-owned instruments: Students who use a school-owned instrument must providetheir own rosin, shoulder rest, books and accessories. Using a school instrument is aprivilege, not a guarantee. This privilege will be taken away if the contract is broken.The student will then be responsible to acquire his/her own instrument within 5 schooldays in order to receive a passing grade in participation. Students who are assigned theseinstruments are expected to take exceptional care of them. Fees may be assessed at theend of the school year if instruments are not in good condition. Any major damage – lossof instrument, destruction of instrument – will result in additional charges.Basses and Cellos: Parents of bass and cello students should make arrangements to haveaccess to a vehicle large enough to transport a cello or an upright bass. This is especiallynecessary for concerts that take place outside of Durham Middle School. Bass and cellostudents are encouraged leave the rented instrument at home for practice and will beallowed to use the school instruments for daily rehearsals (after signing a contract).Students are welcome to use their personal instrument on the day of a concert. Repairsand financial obligations for the maintenance of the instrument are the responsibility ofthe instrument’s contract holder.Violins and Violas: Students should bring their instruments to school in the morningbefore homeroom. I hope to see every student take his or her instrument home on a 8
  9. 9. weekly basis, especially weekends and breaks. Repairs and financial obligations for themaintenance of the instrument are the responsibility of the instrument’s contract holder. 9