Procedures, Grades , Seating , Concert Uniform

Class Procedures
  • Beginning of class: 
    • Store book bags/personal items along the walls.  
      • No cell phones, food, drink (including water), other class work or anything else that we are not using during class. 
    • Get instrument and folder
    • Go immediately to your seat and begin personal practice.
  • DO NOT touch another person's instrument. 
  • DO NOT lean on stands or chairs.  
  • End of class: 
    • Return folder and instrument to appropriate storage
    • Retrieve personal items
    • Return to your seat and await the bell to leave class.
  • Honor Code, Mission, and Beliefs

Weekly Rehearsal Grade,Performance Test, Concert, Final Exam

Weekly Rehearsal Grade: Aligned with Profile of the SC Graduate
        Have materials    ;    Engaged in the rehearsal    ;    Continual improvement
3 (100%) = always         2.5 (83%) = most        2 (67%) = some        1.5 (50%) = seldom        1 (33%) = rarely            

  • Integrity and Self Direction:
    • Assume correct performance posture and instrument position at all times.  
      • Wear appropriate clothing (cellos) and be sure finger nails are appropriate length to play on fingertips. 
    • Follow instructions the first time given
    • Always begin playing your instrument when told to.  When told to begin, students should play together as a class.  When told to play individually or practice on your own, students should do so.  During PODS and Section rehearsal, students must use the time to practice in their small group.
    • Always stop playing your instrument when you are told to.  When rehearsing as a group or individually, I will let you know when to stop so you can hear instructions.  You are to be fully aware at all times, know when we have stopped as a group, and control yourself so that you and others can receive instruction.
  • Students' questions and comments are to be preceded by:   1) a raised hand  and  2) permission to speak
  • Example of how your participation works in orchestra and how this rubric relates to your grade:
    • Global Perspective: If you are less than accurate with your musical performance in orchestra, that does affect the team, the ensemble, and the musical experience for everyone.  If you are less than accurate on test answers in a math class, that affects only your grade.  It does not affect the grade, improvement, or any opportunity to excel for other students in the class.
    • World Class Skills/Knowledge: MUSIC: I expertly choose music that I know will match the abilities and needs of everyone on yearly basis.  Unlike a math class where the curriculum is the same from  year to year, the orchestra repertoire changes yearly to fit the needs of the current students.  The music will be challenging, yet within reach.  The music will offer basics as well as offer opportunity for advancing skills.  If a student is not physically able to play their part, that is a situation for the student and me to work out in terms of proper class placement, tutoring, or remediation.
    • Interpersonal Skills/Collaboration/Team Work : PODS (Personal Orchestra Domain) and SECTIONS:  I place students in specific areas of the Pod or section circles based on abilities that I know are best suited for the individual and the group.  I also place students in areas where I know they will be most productive, least distracted, and least distracting.  
      • At no time, is a student allowed to move from their area in the Pod or Section circle without my consent.  
      • At no time, is a student allowed to change a part (in the case of Blythe and Wood) without my consent.  
    • Interpersonal Skills/Collaboration/Team Work: Your contribution:  Students that do not participate fully in the rehearsal or, in the most egregious cases, defy my explicit instruction causing distraction or allowing one's self to be distracted are a detriment to the ensemble.  Students who choose these actions will see this reflected in their grade.   I use a strict rubric that measures basic capabilities and accountability.  
      • This is the student's Daily Grade.  
        • 3 reflects  you met all expectations during the week
        • 2 reflects you met some expectations during the week
        • 1 reflects you seldom met expectations during the week
  • Special Note:  Your weekly test grade is not part of your daily grade.  However, it is likely that a student who loses points for their daily grade, will most often times not do as well on performance tests.  Without full participation, you can not gain the information needed to perform well.
I care about your individual growth AND your contribution to our team.  
One can not exist without the other!
Performance Tests:     
         10 (100%) = all      9 (90%)= most      8 (80%)= some      7 (70%) = seldom      6 (60%) = unprepared    

Students will perform their instrument to show their mastery of the material studied.  Check Parent Portal to see your grades.  
NOTE SCHOOL WIDE POLICY : When a student is absent and misses a test, a 0 will be placed in the grade book.  Once the student takes the test, the grade will be updated.  This is not a punishment!  It is simply a way for teachers, parents, and students to accurately track attendance and make-up tests.  Please stay up to date on Parent Portal to see if you have missed any grades.
  • In-class testing proceduresI use various methods of hearing students' individual performance tests during class; while class is silent, while class is allowed to continue practicing, as part of a section/pod while all students loop the test section together.
  • YouTube option:
    • For missed tests or retakes (retaking a test to improve your grade is allowed and encouraged) 
    • Your video must be audio and visual.  
    • Use the "unlisted" option for your upload.  Do not use "public" or "private". 
Final Exam (There is no midterm exam)  
The end of the year exam will count for 10% of the overall yearly grade and is graded with the same test rubric.  
Choose one of the three:
  • 50% of next year's Region Audition
  • 100% of audition music/scales for promotion to concert or chamber orchestra
  • 3 octave Major and 3 octave minor scale
Concerts  Points calculated only when a concert exists ; 25 points for performing

An Orchestra performs best with all members present. Students are required to perform in all concerts. 
The BHSO calendar is up to date on the homepage.  
Each outside of school time rehearsal/concert will count for 25 points. You must be present to receive the 25 points. 

If you are absent from a concert, please adhere to the following protocol.
  • Communication about an absence must always be:
    • From a PARENT OR LEGAL GUARDIAN.  Please email  or write a note to Mr. Corde
    • Submitted before the absence (when possible) or within 7 days following the absence
  • A student who misses a concert WITH AN APPROVED EXCUSE:
    • will receive a blank for the concert grade. This will have no positive or negative effect on your overall grade. It will not be a 0.  There is no alternate assignment that can take the place of a live performance. The 25 points CAN NOT be “made up”. 
    • Approved absence examples could be , but are not limited to:
      • Emergency
      • Sickness
      • Conflict with another school or family function
  • A student who misses a concert WITHOUT AN EXCUSE or UNAPPROVED:
    • will receive a blank for the concert grade. This will have no positive or negative effect on your overall grade. It will not be a 0.  There is no alternate assignment that can take the place of a live performance. The 25 points CAN NOT be “made up”. 
    • will be moved to the back of the section for the next concert. This policy acknowledges the time commitment of those who participate in fully in the performing ensemble, but removes the grade detriment of an absence outside of school hours. This non-graded incentive provides a consequence for those who miss performances. 
    • Examples of unapproved absence from a concert could be , but are not limited to:
      • Forgetting
      • Lack of transportation (always arrange this WELL in advance if there is an issue)
      • Work (plan ahead and be sure to ask off for important school functions such as a concert)
    • Students who come to a concert performance in unacceptable attire will may be restricted from performing the concert and will not receive points for the event. See concert uniform policy below.

Auditions and Challenges are not graded; challenges are completely student driven and choice)

I will hear auditions to determine section placements at the beginning of each semester; August and January.  
These auditions will consist of some or all of the following: concert music, scales, sight reading.

After that, students may challenge others in their section to move placement.  
  • Students will announce challenges in class on Wednesday and be heard the following Wednesday. 
    • I will write the names/music that day and no changes will be made between Wednesdays.
  • Will occur only between August-Fall Concert and January-Pre-festival Concert. 
  • Will not occur between Fall Concert-January or Pre-festival concert-end of the school year. 
Challenge Procedure:
  • Challengers will choose from the following:
    • 16 measures of music designated for your specific orchestra (and BW sections) in the folder that:
      • are not divided (top, bottom)
      • have been rehearsed/introduced in class at least once.
      • are no more than 16 and no less than 16 measures.
  • If there are more than 2 people in a row challenging, the person with the lowest seat determines the 16 measures.  I will hear all students and adjust the rank based on their performance that day.
  • Bengal and Blue orchestra:  Since this entire orchestra is split between two class periods, check the roster on the website to see your concert seating.  I will video students challenging kids from another class.

    In addition, I may reassign seats at any point in the year based on your rehearsal participation, level of experience, improvement in ability, and/or leadership skills.  Your seat is not a direct reflection of your grade (i.e. the whole section can make an “A” 100% but must be seated from front to back). Again, auditions and challenges will not be graded.  
    Also consider that when the orchestra performs, we do so as a team.  Please do not make your existence on our team like keeping track of a “leader board”. Please focus on your musical and behavioral contribution to the ensemble more than your location in the section

    "The whole [orchestra] is greater than the sum of its parts [individuals]."

    This required dress code policy is in accordance with school dress code and also follows the standard professional guidelines established by the South Carolina Philharmonic and South Carolina Philharmonic Youth Orchestras. 

    • ALL BLACK : floor length attire - pants, dress, or skirt – tops are expected to have at least ¾ length sleeves. Black hose. Black shoes. Plunging necklines, tight-fitting outfits, see through fabrics, and open backs are not appropriate dress. Skirt or dress may be tea length (mid-calf) WHEN SEATED. 
    • Excessive* jewelry and/or perfume are not permitted. 
    • ALL BLACK : black dress pants (not jeans) , black long-sleeved dress shirt, black socks, and black shoes. Please try to match your ensemble! Brown shoes with black pants is not matching. 
    • Excessive* jewelry and/or cologne are not permitted. 
    *Excessive is defined as anything that detracts or interferes with the performance and is at the director's discretion. Any student who does not meet the above requirements will not be permitted to perform, and will receive the consequences of a missed performance

    Practice Tip (transcendent article, thanks Dr. Jesselson!)
    *Additional items that are relevant to what we do in orchestra as well as academics!  Resources obtained from 2 BHS teachers.  (Thanks Mr. Auspelmeyer and Mr. Johnson)
    • Cool article!  I believe this applies to music practicing, reviewing, and maintaining our daily routine inside and outside of class.
    • How to study.  Tons to see here, gather information and inspiration from all of the links!
    • Your role in full group and small group, 3 pics below.
        *addendum to pictures 1 and 3.  "Copying" off of others in orchestra is encouraged for things such as emulating great attitude, posture/position, copying a great vibrato, matching rhythm, matching intonation, matching dynamics.  :)