Westfield Orchestra handbook
Westfield Community School
2017 - 2018
Directed by Amy Jones
Welcome back to another school year and the Westfield Community School Orchestra program. You are now part of a growing musical community whose purpose is to give you a well-rounded music education and to help you grow as a musician and as a person.
I make every effort to teach students more than just the vocational skills they will need to work. In orchestra, students are expected to learn and demonstrate a strong work ethic, professional and respectful conduct, and good communication skills that are required in every workplace.
Please read the following information carefully to ensure a successful year together.
Large Group Rehearsal1. Be on time to all rehearsals. After your third tardy in a quarter you will receive a detention
- Be prepared for class every day. This means that everyone must have the following at each rehearsal:
- Pencil – Get a pencil holder to keep in your binder
- Three ring binder with ALL music – it would be safer to keep the music in page protectors.
- Instrument, bow, rosin, rag to wipe off rosin, and case
- An open mind, willing to learn
- Be respectful of everyone and everything around you.
- Keep the rehearsal area clean by picking up any papers that are lying around.
- Always return your instrument and music to their designated spots after rehearsal. Only your instrument and music should be stored in the orchestra room. Don’t leave your instrument in the hallway.
- Gum, food, and drinks are not allowed in the orchestra room. Please spit out gum when you enter the room for rehearsal.
Small Group Lessons and Practice JournalsIn addition to daily rehearsals, all students will have a weekly lesson during the regular school day. These lessons are on a rotating schedule so that the student will not miss the same class each week. There will be a schedule posted in the room to show what time your sectional is.
All students will be given a practice journal for each quarter of the school year. This journal will help communicate to students and parents weekly assignments. It will also serve as a way for students to monitor their progress and serve as one way to help students identify areas of strength or areas requiring assistance. Each week, students will be given the opportunity to demonstrate the amount of progress they have made in accordance with the minimum achievement standards outlined in their practice journal. All journals will be checked weekly and must be signed by a parent or guardian. Points for the journal are awarded for being completed by the students and signed by a parent or guardian. Points for the journal are NOT awarded based upon the amount of practice minutes logged.
Practice Journal – Up to 2 points
2 points Journal filled out at home and signed by a parent or guardian
1 point Journal filled out at home but not signed by a parent or guardian
0 points No journal is turned in
Lesson Attendance – Up to 8 points
8 points Came to a lesson
0 points Unexcused absence from lesson
Lesson Preparation – Up to 50 points
50 points Student has completed the Essential Elements homework for the week
25 points Student is behind the Essential Elements homework for the week – these points can be
made up once the student completes the homework.
The Practice Journal and Lesson Attendance will be combined into one 10 point grade each week, just called Lesson Grade (or LG week 1). The Lesson Preparation is one grade by itself. This will be your Essential Elements grade (or EE week 1).
Make-up Work (Small Group Lesson)
It is the responsibility of the student to make reasonable arrangements for the completion of work missed due to an excused absence. Students must regularly check the posted lesson schedule outside of the orchestra room for small group lesson times. Tests/Labs/Quizzes/Field Trips/Absence from school are the only excused absences from lessons and can be excused with a yellow pass to Mrs. Jones signed by the teacher giving the test/quiz to excuse the missed lesson. All passes must be received no later than one school day subsequent to the missed lesson in order to qualify as an excused absence.
GradingGrading is based on a system of points that are earned through:
- Class participation – attendance at lessons and rehearsals, being on time, and being prepared with your music and instrument
- Playing tests, written tests and homework
- Practice journals
Each of these sections is given a percent value to determine the final grade for the quarter.
- Practice – Practice journals, lesson attendance, worksheets, bell ringers/exit slips, in class work
- Evidence of Learning– Lesson preparation, practice journals, lesson attendance, worksheets, in class work, quizzes done in class, playing assessments 40%
- Summative - Playing and written tests, composition projects, concerts, concert reflections, completion percentage of Essential Elements: 60%
AttendancePart of the responsibility of being a member of the WCS Orchestra program is mandatory attendance at all rehearsals and all performances. An unexcused absence for a performance will automatically drop the student’s final grade by two full letter grades. Illness, family emergency, or a death in the family is among the few permitted excuses. A written note must be presented to Mrs. Jones by the next day after the absence to be considered excused.
Looking your best at a performance actually makes you sound better. Therefore, the dress code for all orchestra performances, except Solo/Ensemble, is as follows:
Every student will wear black dress pants, black dress shoes and black socks along with the Westfield music department polo. All students will purchase a polo using the attached form from the music department. If you have a polo from last year that still fits or a sibling’s polo that you can wear, you do not need to purchase a new polo. Please check to make sure your polo still fits and if not, please order a new one. Appropriate concert dress is part of your performance and will affect your grade if you are not dressed appropriately. It could also result in the student not being able to perform in the concert.
Rules and Consequences
- No talking when the conductor is on the podium.
- Follow directions the first time they are given
- Do not play your instrument unless you are supposed to.
- No foods, candy, gum or drink allowed in the room.
- Verbal warning
- Second warning in the same class period – loss of 1 point from the large group rehearsal daily grade
- Third warning in the same class period – detention
- 3 verbal warnings in one week – detention
- After the 3rd detention – parent/student/teacher conference
Placement in Chamber Orchestra is determined by audition. This group is comprised of students from mainly 7th and 8th grades, but it is at the discretion of the teacher to allow select 6th graders with at least 2 years of playing experience to audition. This is an extracurricular group and meets on Thursday and Friday mornings before school. This group has 2 concerts a year and also performs outside the school building for special events.
Students playing the violin or the viola: a shoulder rest is one of the most important tools to aid in the improvement of playing. A good shoulder rest allows the student to hold the entire instrument with the weight of the head so that the left hand is free to execute shifting and vibrato. Shoulder rest prices are listed below and can be ordered through Westfield (which will save you sales tax).
Kuhn for Violin: $22.00
Kuhn for Viola: $23.00
Throughout the year strings will break and can be purchased through Westfield if you own your instrument.
String PricesViolin Viola Cello Bass
E: $5.00 A: $6.00 A: $12.00 G: $18.00
A: $6.00 D: $7.00 D: $13.00 D: $20.00
D: $8.00 G: $10.00 G: $15.00 A: $24.00
G: $10.00 C: $12.00 C: $18.00 E: $26.00
Orchestra Materials- In addition to an instrument, students will need the following:
- 1 inch, 3-ring binder for music storage: This will be the student’s “folder” for this year. It is the student’s responsibility to take care of this binder and the music within it. Clear plastic sheet protectors are encouraged. If any student loses a copied piece of music, it is then the responsibility of that student to make a replacement copy. Students are expected to have a binder at the end of the first full week.
- Pencils: Great musicians make notes and reminders in their music all of the time. Pencil is better than pen, because reminders can be erased when they are no longer needed.
- Essential Elements for Strings 2000 book 1 or 2, Essential Technique (book 3), or Advanced Technique for Strings (book 4): This will be the “textbook” used in small group lessons. The most important parts of learning a musical instrument are listening and practicing. Having a working model of what to practice will reduce frustration and make practice more efficient. All orchestra students will need the Essential Elements (EE) accompaniment CDs for the appropriate Essential Elements book. The CDs may be downloaded for free from the Hal Leonard website: http://www.halleonard.com/EE2000Book1Downloads.jsp?subsiteid=6 (book 1) or http://www.halleonard.com/EE2000Book1Downloads.jsp?subsiteid=6 (book 2)
- Box of Kleenex: We are asking each 6th grade orchestra student to make a donation to the classroom collection of tissues.
School InstrumentsDue to the size of their instruments, cello and bass players do not need to carry their instruments back and forth every day. They will be assigned a school instrument that they can use for rehearsals only. Each student will need to have their own instrument at home that is available for them to practice on. Cello and bass players will need to bring their own instruments for concerts and other performances.
Since the school only owns a few violins and violas, these students will need to bring their instrument to school every day. The school instruments will be available when there is an emergency (if a student needs to send their own instrument in for repair, etc.). If a student continually leaves their instrument at home, points will be deducted from their grade.
Instrumental Chorus Students
Students may be in both orchestra and choir. Students are responsible for keeping up with the work and assignments in both classes. Time will be split equally allowing students to participate in both ensembles- either “blue week” or “gold week” schedule. As concerts near, teachers may alter schedules slightly to prepare for performance.
Music WebsiteEach grade level has its own page in Haiku. This is a website that your student has access to and you may request access to through the school/your student. The Haiku site has the orchestra calendar as well as links to the concert songs. There will be occasional homework that will also be posted on the Haiku site.
Like Us on FacebookThe orchestra department has a Facebook account. If you’d like to keep up on the daily news from the orchestra room, like us at https://www.facebook.com/WestfieldCommunitySchoolOrchestra
Orchestra Concert and Festival Dates
August 28 - 31: Chamber Orchestra Auditions (7th/8th grade only)
Before or after school, must sign up in advance
Monday, September 25: Evening rehearsal for String Festival (7th/8th grade)
Hampshire High School
6:00 – 8:00 pm
Wednesday, September 27: Field trip to Hampshire High School (7th and 8th grade)
9:00 am – 1:00 pm
Wednesday, September 27: District 300 West Side String Festival (7th and 8th Grade)
Hampshire High School Auditorium
Saturday, September 30: Illinois Music Educators Association Honors Orchestra auditions
Selected students, 7th/8th grade
Yorkville Middle School
Wednesday, November 8: 6th grade, 5th grade and Chamber Orchestra Concert
Westfield Large Gym
Saturday, November 11: Illinois Music Educators Association Honors Orchestra concert
Only students selected from the audition
8 am – 5 pm.
Wednesday, December 13: 7th and 8th grade Orchestra Concert
Westfield Large Gym
Thursday, February 15: 6th grade Orchestra/Band/Choir Concert
Westfield Large Gym
Tuesday, March 6: 7th and 8th Grade Orchestra Concert
Westfield Large Gym
Saturday, April 7: District 300 Solo/Ensemble Contest
(optional) Dundee Crown High School
8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
April ?: Elementary Tour (8th grade only)
8:00 am – 2:00 p.m.
Wednesday, May 2: 6th and 7th grade and Chamber Orchestra Concert
Tuesday, May 15: 8th Grade Orchestra, Band and Choir Concert Westfield Large Gym
All the above dates are mandatory performances, with the exception of the solo/ensemble contest, which is voluntary, but you are strongly encouraged to participate. There may be additional field trips and performances added at a later date. Again, I will inform you of those additional dates as soon as possible.