Fort Dodge Orchestras Home Page

Orchestra families and students,
During this school closure, I will be posting resources for students here. I plan for there to be a mix of fun videos and games as well as informative lessons and links for unique performances for you to enjoy. Please understand that nothing will be require from you, these resources are here for you if you choose to use them. 

String Instrument Cleaning Tips

  • WASH YOUR HANDS for 20 seconds before and after handling an instrument or interacting with a teacher, student, parent, or other person. 

  • Refrain from sharing your instrument with others. 

  • We do not suggest attempting to clean your instrument on your own. 

  • NEVER use alcohol or bleach based cleaners, or disinfecting wipes on the varnished parts of any instrument; body, scroll, wooden bows, or bow hair. Instrument varnish is very delicate. There is no good way to sanitize the varnished parts of an instrument

  • Schultz strings or Rieman music can provide professional varnish-safe cleaning.

  • If you become sick, consider quarantining your instrument. The COVID-19 virus is known to live on surfaces for several days. We suggest you do not touch your instrument for 5 days after symptoms subside. Instead, listen to your favorite or new music, write music, or watch videos about playing. 


Music Games

Classics for Kids -

Music Tech Teacher

Soundtrap - - Create your own songs and loops

Typeatone - - compose by writing words

Online Sequencer - - a cool way to compose

Noteflight - - A more traditional composition website. 


An updating list of all the major classical concerts and events being streamed live:

• London Symphony Orchestra – ‘Always Playing’ (more details coming soon)

• The Metropolitan Opera – ‘Nightly Met Opera Streams’ (free)

• Berlin Philharmonic – ‘Digital Concert Hall’ (free)

• Wigmore Hall – ‘Live Stream’ (free)

• Bavarian State Opera – ‘Staatsopera TV’ (free)

• Seattle Symphony – ‘Live Broadcasts’ every Thursday and Saturday (free)
Visit: or

• Vienna State Opera – ‘Continues Daily Online’ (free)

• Detroit Symphony Orchestra – ‘DSO Replay’ (free)

• Gothenberg Symphony Orchestra – ‘GSO Play’ (free)

• Budapest Festival Orchestra – ‘Quarantine Soirées’ (free)

• Pianist Boris Giltburg – ‘Lunchtime Concerts’ (free)
Visit: or

• Opera North – ‘Watch The Ring Cycle In Full Online’ (free)

Cool Performances/ Artists

2Cellos -

Brooklyn Duo -

Joshua Bell

Yo-Yo Ma -

Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Nicholas Walker -

Edgar Meyer -

Vitamin String Quartet -

Mark Wood -

Trans-Siberian Orchestra -

Hilary Hahn -

Prague Cello Quartet -

Lindsey Stirling -

Piano Guys -

Punch Brothers -

 Bach Suites Documentary

Itzhak Perlman -

Jascha Heifetz -

Pablo Casals

25 bizarre classical music facts -

Practicing Resources

Please be careful while tuning

Online Tuner -


        Another How to tune video -

            Yet another how to tune video -

            How to tune Vioiln:

       Cellos -

Online Metronome -

How to hold the violin bow -

Drones (Great for helping establish pitch and hearing the relationship between notes) -

Rosining the bow -

More Rosin Tips -

Violin Practice Tips -

More Advanced Practice Tips -

Practice Routine Tutorial -

Creating A Practice Routine -

Practice Scale Bow Exercises -

Cello Bow Practice Exercises -

The Importance of Warm Ups -

How To Vibrato -

Violin Vibrato in Slow Motion -

How to NOT scratch and squeak -

Keeping the Bow Straight -

Improving Bow Control and Sound -

Beginners Guide to Finger Positions -

Notes on a Violin in 1st position -

Tips to Play Faster -

Learn the notes to scales Quickly -

Practice Strategies


*Always set a goal: What musical objectives would you like to accomplish today? Always practice with a goal and don’t stop practicing until you have accomplished something. You may have to adjust your goal as you practice. Make obtainable goals, learning an instrument is process and progress is rarely made quickly. 

*Make a plan (sometimes): planning your practice before you begin can help you achieve your goals. However, not planning, and simply “following you curiosity as you practice” can help you relax and enjoy your instrument. Mix it up!

*Follow a routine: find a place and time that works with your schedule to practice, even if it only 10 minutes after school in the orchestra room. 

*The orchestra room is available during 8th period.  


Start slowly and gradually get faster: If in doubt, slow it down. 

Chunking: Zoom in on the difficult parts of your piece

Don’t always start at the beginning: Start in a different place every time you practice a piece. Focus your efforts on the parts that need work or the  parts that are fun.  

Use a metronome: Vary your tempo. Try playing slow sections quickly and fast sections slowly. Metronomes can be found for free on app stores. If you search metronome on Google, one appears at the top of your search results. There is no excuse for not using a metronome. 

Mark with a pencil: Write reminders about accidentals, difficult rhythms, fingerings, note names, etc.  


Work backwards: Choose a short passage at the end of a section you wish to improve. Repeat or modify until you feel it is improved. Then, increase the length of the passage by starting a few notes earlier. Repeat this process until you feel comfortable with the entire passage.

Change the rhythm: For example: if you encounter a difficult passage with straight eighth notes, try changing them to dotted eighth/sixteenths, and then sixteenths/dotted eighths.  Changing the rhythm this way can help show you where the hard notes are and make you think about notes differently. 

Change the articulations: For example, play the entire passage staccato, and then play it legato. Experience with different placements of slurs and accents. 

Make it fun: If practicing is a chore, change something. Take a break, or ask for help. Turn practicing into a game.

Practice with a friend: practicing doesn’t have to be lonely. A friend can give you an aural model of a passage, give you feedback, and motivate you to practice. 

Memorize: a passage or an entire passage. When you can play a piece from memory, you have guaranteed that you know the essentials and are ready to dedicate your thoughts to other ideas to make the music more interesting.

4-3-2-1: Repeat each not in a difficult passage four times, then three times, and so on. This is a great strategy for quick moving passages because you are able to practice the bow stroke/articulation at tempo while slowing down the fingering.

Improvise: Experiment with your instrument. Create new sounds and melodies. Create variations on a theme in your music. 

Let your feelings out: Focus on the musical ideas you are trying to convey in your playing. Experiment with expressing different emotions. Tell a story with your instrument. 


Use MENTAL practice: Read through your music without making a sound on your instrument. Move your fingers and speak the note names or rhythm. Think about your music when you’re away from your instrument. 

Sing it/ hum it/ whistle it/ speak it/ clap it: Singing, humming, whistling the melody and speaking or clapping the rhythm can help you develop an aural model of your music, play in tune, and correct errors.

Use YouTube: This free online resource contains many amateur and professional recordings. Listening to recordings of your music can help you catch your errors and refine your own interpretation of the piece. YouTube also contains many free instrument lessons on topics such as vibrato, shifting, or bowing techniques.  

How its Made Videos

Gut Strings ( kind of gross, you were warned!) -

Guitars -

Violins -

Violins -

Galen Hartley Builds a Violin -

Bows -

How String Instruments Make Their Sound -

Everything You Would ever want to know about the Violin -

Other Sting Instruments

Viola da Gamba -

Octobass -

Nyckelharpa -

Hurdy-Gurdy -

Viola Organista