We would like to take this opportunity to welcome you to the 2014-2015 West Valley elementary instrumental music program.  We are looking forward to an exciting and successful year!  Jefferson County takes pride in being able to offer instrumental music classes.  Although we consider participation in instrumental music programs a right of all students, we do expect certain standards of each student enrolled in this class:

  • Responsibility
  • Dependability
  • Continue to strive for musical excellence
  • Dedication

It is our goal to produce an outstanding instrumental music program.  It is also our belief that students learn more and develop better self-discipline, responsibility, and knowledge, as well as take more pride in superior programs than poor ones.  Excellence takes a commitment.  We should not allow ourselves to strive for anything less.


The instrumental music classes are curricular classes that meet two times per week during the school day.  The nature of this class requires the development of skills, concepts, and attitudes to be learned in class.  Often these skills must be demonstrated apart from class via many forms of performances.  The broad objectives of the class are to improve playing skills, play a wide variety of musical literature, expand the students knowledge of history, sound and techniques of music, and enjoy the gift of music.

Member Responsibilities

By joining instrumental music, you become an important team member.  Each and every one of you is equally important to the success of the team.  Therefore, the musicians in this group are asked to abide by the following:

  • Respect yourself and others.
  • Respect your instrument and your surroundings.
  • Be in the room on time.  A student is considered tardy if they enter the room after the start of class.  Students are expected to have instruments out and music placed in rehearsal order as indicated on the board by 4 minutes after the start of class.  Delays in getting equipment out in a timely fashion will affect the student's grade.
  • Be ready to play when Mrs. Nelson or Mr. Alcorn is on the conductor's podium.
  • Be attentive and quiet during class.
  • Follow instructions.
  • Come prepared with your materials.
  • Turn in permission slips and forms on time.
  • Touch only your instrument.
  • If you are absent, get your assignment from another student, Mr. Alcorn, or Mrs. Nelson.
  • Write only in pencil in your music.
  • Put your name on your case, folder, and additional accessories (rosin, rockstop, shoulder pad).
  • Keep your case where Mrs. Nelson or Mr. Alcorn has instructed you to store it.
  • Violins and violas: keep a cloth in the case on the top of your instrument.


  • Instrument
  • Music
  • Pencil NO PENS

Student Performance Expectations

(Adapted from Jefferson County Public School's Instrumental Music, Grades 5-8, Scope and Sequence Supporting Materials Document by Randy Hise.)

  • Arrive on time and at the correct location.
  • Dress Appropriately
  • Leave all personal belongings in the appropriate area - not the performance area.
  • Students enter performance area in control and with a performance stance.
  • Look at the director, not the audience.  When not performing, students need to direct their attention to the focus of the concert (speaking introduction, soloist, instrumentalist, dancing group, etc.).
  • If not involved in the musical selection but still in the performance area, students are to sit quietly and demonstrate appropriate concert etiquette.
  • Plan with your teacher how to acknowledge the audience.

Audience Concert Etiquette

(Adapted from MENC Teacher Success kit by Randy Hise.)

  • Audience members need to be seated and quiet when the performance is in progress.
  • If it is necessary to arrive late or leave before the concert is over, please do so between musical selections.
  • Clapping is the appropriate way to show appreciation for the performance.  Laughter is acceptable when appropriate.  Whistling, yelling, or screaming are not appropriate at any time before, during, or after a concert.
  • During a jazz concert, clapping is an appropriate way to acknowledge a single soloist.  During multiple solos, please wait for all soloists to finish performing before applauding.
  • Parents should keep small children seated with them and not allow them to move around during the concert.  If very young children become restless and disrupt others' ability to listen, please take them from the performance area until they are quiet.
  • It is customary to welcome the director with applause.
  • Listeners and performers are distracted by extra sounds and movements from the audience.
  • Hats or caps should be removed during a concert.  Food or beverages should not be present during the concert.
  • Watch the director when the music stops to decide whether or not to applaud.  Some musical works have extended endings, several parts, or multiple movements and the audience is expected to applaud only after all movements have been performed.
  • Cellular phones and pagers interrupt a performance.  Please be sure they are turned off.

Instrumental Music Grading Policy

Students' progress will be based upon the Jefferson County music standards:

  • Standard 1
    • Students, alone or with others, sing and/or play instruments, using a varied repertoire of music.
  • Standard 2
    • Students read and notate music.
  • Standard 3
    • Students create music.
  • Standard 4
    • Students listen to, respond to, analyze, evaluate, and describe music.
  • Standard 5
    • Students understand music in relation to history and a variety of cultures.

Students will be assessed through performance, written work, effort expended in practice, and concert participation.  Progress will be stated using the following performance levels:

  • A - Exceeds Standard (advanced)
  • B - Meets standard (proficient)
  • C - Making progress toward standard (partially proficient)
  • D - Lacking adequate progress (unsatisfactory)
  • F - Effort lacking and requirements not met

Instrumental music report cards will be sent home with the student two times during the school year.  They will be distributed according to the dates on the instrumental music calendar (please note that this may or may not coincide with your students regular school report card.  Coordinating this between multiple schools is very difficult.)

Concert Policy

It is important that all members attend all concerts in order to facilitate a successful and balanced program.

  • All concerts, evening rehearsals, and field trips are required as they are part of your grade.
  • An unexcused absence at a concert will significantly lower your grade. (See section on grading) Extenuating circumstances will be dealt with on an individual basis.
  • If you know you will not be able to attend a concert, you must let Mrs. Nelson or Mr. Alcorn know at least one day prior to the concert (emergencies do arise and will be dealt with).  If excused, a make-up assignment will be given.  It is extremely disrespectful to your teacher and classmates to know you are going to be absent ahead of time and not communicate this to the teacher.
  • Family birthdays, visiting relatives, too much homework and "I don't have a ride" are not valid excuses to miss a concert.
  • Throughout the year, field trips will be taken during the school day.  You are responsible for any work missed while you are gone.  Please keep up with your studies in order to participate in these events.  The group needs you!
  • For a list of concerts please see Calendar page.

Concert Dress


  • White Shirt
  • Black knee to ankle length skirt or slacks (slacks are preferred)
  • Nice Shoes


  • White Shirt
  • Black pants
  • Nice shoes and dark socks

Care of Music

Students are responsible for all music they receive.  Missing or damaged music must be replaced at the publisher's cost that averages $2.50 for each piece of sheet music and $6.00 per book.  The following will be considered damage:

  • Torn pages
  • Extraneous markings
  • Writing in ink or magic markers
  • Music which has been folded
  • Stains or dirt on the music
  • Any other markings or damages which might hamper future use of the music



The following will be expected of all members:

  • All instruments are to be in good playing condition.  Proper maintenance is REQUIRED.
  • Orchestra Students
  • Need  to have rosin, hard or soft shoulder rests, cleaning cloths, pencils, good strings, etc. cello and basses should have rock-stops at all times. 
  • Band students
  • Need to have Pencils, reeds, valve oil, slide oil, and cleaning tools. 
  • All students are required to have a folding wire music stand for home practice and concerts.
  • All instruments should be labeled clearly with the student's name.
  • Should you break a string you will be expected to bring a string to school that has been purchased at the music store to replace the one that is broken.  This includes school owned instruments.  You may want to consider investing in an extra set of strings to keep in the instrument case.

Parent Communication

Should there be any problems or concerns we will call as soon as possible to discuss the matter.  We will also be sending home notes concerning the student's outstanding academic work, performance or behavior in instrumental music.

Practice and Attendance

At home practice is an essential part of a students' development on their instrument.  Students are required to practice at home.  Students should set a goal for each practice session (between 3-5 times a week) and practice until that goal is reached.  This could be anywhere from 10 minutes to 45 minutes or more per practice session.  The amount of time a student spends is not as important as the reaching of the goal.

It is educationally sound for students to attend class on a regular basis.  Attendance of class is mandatory and will be taken.  If a student has more than two unexcused absences from class (absences excused by the office or instrumental music teacher are also excused in our class) or forgets their instrument or supplies more than two times in a grading period they will be put on probation.  (please see section on probation).  If a student continues to miss class they will be removed from instrumental music.

Final Words

Jefferson County has one of the finest music programs in the state.  Together we can build on this program and make this a successful year.  Please feel free to contact us at school should you have any questions or concerns.  Your child's success in instrumental music not only depends upon their dedication and commitment, but also on parent support.  Here are some thoughts as we enter into this new school year.

  • Show an interest in your child's musical study by asking them to play for you and attending concerts.
  • Establish a regular time for practice.
  • Find a quiet place for practice without interruptions.
  • Never make fun of strange sounds that may be made.
  • Be patient, be patient, be patient :)
  • Be committed to your child's participation in instrumental music.
  • Teach your child to be on time to rehearsals and concerts.

We are looking forward to an enjoyable and prosperous year and encourage you to take part in your child's music education as well as their academic progress.