There is a different philosophy at work in the
orchestra at the high-school level. It is not the same kind of class as
it was in middle school. In middle school, it was possible to be
successful and even get an "A" if you were always in the right place at
the right time. Attendance counted for a great deal, and orchestra was a
class where all levels of musicianship were welcomed, as long as
standards of attendance, attitude, and effort were maintained. Those
standards are still expected, but added is the very important standard
of musical expertise or accomplishment. The following are examples of
things that are different in the high school orchestra classes, as
opposed to middle school orchestra.
Practice. Everyone is expected to practice. We
learn music at a much faster pace than in middle school. It is not
acceptable to use only rehearsal time to learn the music.
Lessons. Private lessons, while not required,
are highly recommended. Our time in orchestra includes some instruction
on the techniques of playing, but orchestra is not a group lesson class.
Most of the time is spent working on the music that we perform. The
demands of this music, and the level of playing required, mean that
every student needs the technical help that is only available through
Uniform. Participation in the orchestra
requires a performing uniform. You must purchase a tuxedo for the school
year or acquire a black dress. (We will provide information about a website we recommend that sells tuxedos inexpensively.) Measuring for tuxedos takes place during
class periods at the beginning of the school year. The tuxedo rental
does not include a dress shirt, or a black tie and cummerbund,
which you must provide. You must also purchase black dress shoes (closed
toes) and black socks or panty hose. See the Tuxedo Information or the Women's Dress Code.
If the cost of the uniform items causes financial hardship, there are
resources available for such a situation; please see your director
Transport. Students are required to make their
own arrangements for transporting instruments and music to and from all
local rehearsals and concerts. The director cannot take anybody's
instrument or other items. When we travel together, we make arrangements
for transporting instruments, but each student must still assume the
primary responsibility for their own instrument and music folder.
Equipment. In addition to instrument supplies
and a music stand, every student needs access to a metronome and a computer recording system. These are necessary for playing tests. If you do not have a system to record yourself, you will have to make arrangements to do it at school.
Playing Tests. The grading scale reflects a heavy
emphasis on playing tests. The level of a student's individual
musicianship, and how much time they spend practicing, is one of the most
important aspects of their grade.