In the spring of Grade 3, students embark on the wonderful journey of learning an orchestral stringed instrument; violin, viola, or cello. Beginning in March, 3rd grade students will meet weekly with the orchestra teacher, and throughout the remainder of the school year will learn about their instrument; how it is made, how it produces sound, how to hold the instrument and bow properly, how to care for the instrument, how to play pizzicato and arco, and how to perform a few simple songs.
Students in 4th grade will continue working on proper posture and basic skills. Note-reading will be a primary focus at this level, as students work through a method book together. Emphasis will be placed on producing a beautiful tone, and the literature will include simple folk melodies as well as familiar tunes from symphonic literature. Classes meet twice weekly, and daily home practice is required.
Orchestra students in 5th grade will continue working through a progressive method book as they learn more advanced music theory and are introduced to skills such as shifting and vibrato. During this year, students will make the transition from unison and two-part playing to playing literature arranged for string orchestra. Literature studied will include arranged symphonic literature as well as original compositions especially for the developing string orchestra. Classes meet twice weekly, and daily home practice is required.
MIDDLE SCHOOL ORCHESTRA
The Middle School Orchestra is comprised of students in grades 6-8. These students continue to develop shifting and vibrato skills and work on scales in multiple keys and modes. Literature studied is from all compositional periods, including jazz and blues. Students at this level will have more opportunity for improvisation and small ensemble performance. Older students may choose to audition for other community and Honors ensembles.