WMS Orchestra Handbook

Parents and Students, please read the handbook below and then complete the acknowledgment form at the bottom.  
Forms should be submitted no later than Friday, September 15th, 2017.
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Wayland Middle School Orchestra Handbook 2017-2018
Mrs. Whitney Tandon, Orchestra Director
Whitney_Tandon@wayland.k12.ma.us

Orchestra website: https://sites.google.com/a/wayland.k12.ma.us/wayland-strings/

COURSE DESCRIPTION
Orchestra class will be an opportunity for intermediate string players (grade 6- 8) to develop and refine their individual and ensemble techniques. Students will broaden their knowledge and understanding of the fundamentals of music (scales, keys, rhythms, dynamics and expression symbols) as well as techniques specific to stringed instruments (shifting, vibrato, bowing styles). We will perform in at least four concerts a year, which will include performance opportunities outside of the middle school setting.  Through these rehearsals, performances and technique study, orchestra members will become discerning listeners and will, hopefully, foster a lifelong appreciation of music.


CLASS SCHEDULE
•	6th grade Orchestra meets during Block 2 (“Flex”) on A & B days.
 •	7th/8th Grade Orchestra meets during Block 2 (“Flex”) on C & E days.
In addition to regular rehearsals, Block 1 each day  and Block 2 on D days are utilized as time for “orchestra workshops”, or extra work on orchestral music and skill development on the instrument.  Students who do not take private lessons are asked to attend one workshop per quarter. Workshop signup will take place online.

SUPPLIES
Each student should have the following at each orchestra rehearsal and workshop:
•	Instrument and bow, well-maintained and properly sized 
•	Case WITH NAME LABELED
 •	Violins/violas: shoulder rest
 •	Music/sharpened pencil (kept at school)
In addition, the following items are necessary for home practice:
•	Folding music stand, metronome/tuner, home copies of music 

CLASS PROCEDURES
Students are expected to arrive at class on time with instrument.  (Cellists and bassists will be assigned school instruments; violinists & violists should bring instruments to cubbies in the morning.)  Instruments should NOT be kept at school overnight. 
Any student arriving late is expected to have a pass from his/her prior teacher. Any student who arrives without a pass will be asked to go and get one. At the end of class, students are expected to pack up in an orderly manner and return folders to the appropriate slots.
Seating will rotate throughout sections until section leaders are identified.  Assigned seating will be given a few weeks prior to each concert.


GRADING
Class Performance (usually 75%) This includes general effort, positive attitude, cooperation, citizenship, enthusiasm, respect.  The following will adversely affect a student’s daily grade: lack of effort during class; disruptive behavior during class; forgetting an instrument (violin/viola); lateness to class; improper care of instrument (cello/bass).
	
As “Flex” is scheduled as a time that students can meet with teachers for extra help, it is understood that occasionally an orchestra student will need to request an absence from rehearsal to work with a teacher. Every effort should be made to schedule such meetings at other times throughout the day, since our rehearsal time is so valuable. However, if it is crucial (making up a test due to an absence, for example), and the student provides a pass from the cooperating teacher in advance, he/she may be excused from orchestra. This privilege is not to be abused and is NOT intended for use completing homework or studying for a test. Permission to miss orchestra will be at the discretion of Mrs. Tandon and will NOT be granted during the last three rehearsals before any performance.
Missing class without a pass is equivalent to cutting class. 

Skill Development (usually 25%): Playing tests and assignments completed on SmartMusic; Participation, effort and appropriate etiquette in concerts

Written Work (varies): Theory work, concert evaluations, self-evaluations, etc. 


CONCERTS
Ladies: White long-sleeved top, long black skirt or black dress pants, black stockings and black shoes.
Gentlemen: White long-sleeved, collared shirt, black dress pants, black shoes and socks, black bow tie. Gentlemen may order a black bow tie through the school (order form will be sent out mid-September) or purchase one on their own. Black bow ties will be part of high school orchestra concert dress as well.

In middle school, we focus quite a bit on responsibility. As an orchestral ensemble we work as a team, and each individual member’s dedication and responsibility is integral to the group's success. Therefore, attendance at all rehearsals and performances is expected. Those missing a concert will be asked to do a make-up assignment.To view this year's concert calendar, please click on "Elem/MS Calendar of String Events" in the left sidebar.

HONORS CHAMBER ORCHESTRA
The Honors Chamber Orchestra (HCO) is a select ensemble consisting of auditioned students in grades 6-8 of outstanding performance ability. The group rehearses on Mondays from 2:30 – 3:30. HCO is a fantastic way to challenge yourself on your instrument while making new friends and learning great music!
Audition requirements for HCO are: two scales of my choice (shifting strongly encouraged), a prepared solo (vibrato strongly encouraged), and sight-reading. Working with a private teacher is extremely important as well. 
All members of HCO must participate in their in-school grade level orchestra.
An open rehearsal for anyone interested in auditioning will be held on September 11, 2017 from 2:30-3:15. Auditions will be scheduled the following week. Attendance at all rehearsals and performances is expected and required for membership in HCO.


EASTERN JUNIOR DISTRICT ORCHESTRA
The Massachusetts Eastern Junior District Orchestra is an auditioned group consisting of students in grades 7-9 of exemplary performance ability from the Eastern part of the state. Audition requirements include scales, a pre-selected solo, and sightreading. Mrs. Tandon will be happy to work with you on your material, but students will need a private teacher to work with on the solo.  Any student planning to audition will take part in a Districts Recital in order to perform for each other.
For more information and audition requirements, please see http://mmeaeasterndistrict.org/junior.htm.
This year's auditions will take place on January 27, 2018.  We will have a required districts audition recital which will likely take place on Thursday, January 11th (more info to come).


PRIVATE LESSONS
Private lessons are very strongly encouraged for orchestra students. Individual instruction allows for specialized development of technique and repertoire. For information on Wayland Schools Community Program’s Private Lesson Program, please see: 
https://sites.google.com/a/wayland.k12.ma.us/wayland-strings/wscp-private-lesson-program


SMARTMUSIC
SmartMusic is used extensively throughout the Wayland instrumental programs primarily as a practice aid, and at the MS and HS as a way to submit performance tests for assessment. All families are strongly encouraged to purchase SmartMusic for use on the home computer or Chromebook– it makes practicing much more fun, as it allows students to work on their part while hearing others, clearly indicates to students when notes are out of tune, provides a metronome, tuner and audio recording options, and gives students an opportunity to explore orchestral repertoire as well as solo material right on the computer.  Students will need a SmartMusic account to submit playing tests and assignments throughout the year.  Students and parents will then be able to log in  and check for feedback.

To purchase Smartmusic and see demonstrations of how it works, please see www.smartmusic.com.  The cost is approximately $40/year.  Any student who is not able to purchase SmartMusic for home use will be allowed to do so on the two practice room computers during free time in the school day. 


COMMUNICATION
Parents and students are encouraged to regularly communicate any questions, concerns, confusion, suggestions, or feedback of any kind with the teacher. Since I travel between schools, I am most easily reached via email at: Whitney_Tandon@wayland.k12.ma.us


Most important: orchestra is supposed to be FUN!  We are here because we love music.  If you have any concerns throughout the year, please do not hesitate to contact me.  I look forward to a great year!

Students and parents, if you understand and accept the policies outlined in this handbook, please complete the form below and submit it to Ms. Tandon by  Friday, September 15, 2017.