8th period students - please listen to our recording and mark your music. Practice the parts that you heard need improvement. Remember, concert is Tuesday!
Dear Parents and Guardians,
For those of you who don't know me, my name is Christina Carrigan and I will be your child's orchestra teacher at CMS this year. I am so excited to get to work with all of the awesome orchestra kids and am greatly looking forward to seeing them all next week.
As I work to get things ready for the school year, I need to determine who will need to rent a school instrument.
If you have not yet rented or purchased an instrument for your child, I encourage you to do so ONLY from actual music stores (in person or online). There are many great things that can be purchased from big suppliers online, but if the online store also sells Instant Pots, Socks, Slip N Slides, snacks, and tools, it is not a music store. If the price seems too good to be true, it likely is. Student level violins/violas run about $200-$400. Student level cellos start about $600-$800. Student level basses are about $800-$1,000. Before purchasing a used instrument from a friend or pawn shop, I encourage you to check it out with Luke at Whittlesticks. He can give you an idea of if it is an instrument worth playing.
Students who own or rent their own cello or bass can leave their instruments at home for practice and just rent one for use at school for $50/year. Students who do not own their own may also use one at home they are unable to rent/buy one. Fee waivers apply to this rental fee if needed.
Students who own or rent their own violin or viola should plan to bring it to and from school every day. If a family cannot afford to rent from a store, you can rent from the school for $50. Fee waivers apply to this rental fee if needed.
My goal is for every student to be successful this year in orchestra. One of the best ways to set up a child for success is to make sure she/he has the materials necessary to make that happen. A quality instrument will make all the difference. A $50 instrument is more like a toy and will be difficult to tune, difficult to play, and will not sound good. I will have different music store hand outs available on Monday night at Back to School night.
These are the supplies kids will need in addition to an instrument:
Cello/bass players: Rock Stop
Violin/Viola players: Shoulder rest
Intermediate: Essential Elements Book 2
Make sure the method book matches the instrument your child will be playing.
If you know right now that your child will need a home cello, a home bass, or a school violin/viola, please respond to this email with your child's name, instrument, and which class they will be in next week. I will do my best to accommodate everyone. Students who have played in previous years will have first priority. New beginners might consider being willing to play a second choice instrument like viola instead of violin. We always need more viola players!!
See you next week!
Dear Parents and Guardians,
In this email:
1. Shirt Orders Due!
2. Instrument Rental Contracts (school owned instruments)
3. What's we've been learning, upcoming tests
6. Required materials
1. If you are planning on ordering an orchestra shirt for your child, please send the order form in by Friday, September 8th! Even if you cannot pay for it yet and will pay for it in a month, please get it sent in by the end of next week so I can place the order for the shirts.
2. If your child is using a school instrument, the instrument rental contracts were all sent home last week or the week before. Please make sure you have paid the rental fee or filled out the appropriate fee waiver paperwork at the office (School registration fees do not cover instrument rental or orchestra shirt purchase). Also, please make sure you have signed the rental agreement and that your child has returned it to me.
3. The intermediate orchestra students have been doing such a wonderful job so far this year! I am SO impressed with them. We've been reviewing/learning to count and clap rhythms as a class, how to write down rhythms and their counting as individuals, how to play rhythms together by bowing and counting. We've also been going over D Major, G Major, C Major and their different finger patterns. We've worked on smooth legato bowing, staccato bowing, hooked bowing, and slurs in 3/4 time and 4/4 time. We will get our first sheet music next week.
4. Students are expected to practice every day. The amount of practice time will vary by the student - they need to practice for the amount of time it takes them to master the material we have covered in class. For some students this will be 10 minutes, for others, it may be 30 minutes. Some good practice strategies are: counting and clapping the rhythms, saying the notes, pizzing and saying the notes, counting and airbowing, saying the notes and airbowing, etc. The play-along tracks are available for download online (see the front of your child's method book for more info). These can be downloaded onto a home computer, an ipod, a tablet, etc. Playing along makes it MUCH more fun for kids to practice so if possible, I highly encourage you to help your child get the play-along tracks downloaded.
5. This week we got a few more grades in the gradebook - the course disclosure which was sent home the first day of school - it tells about the class, what materials are required, and when our concerts are. If you have not yet seen this, please ask your child about it so you can sign it and he or she can return it to class. Another grade in the gradebook was a collection of our first two weeks of rhythm bellwork. Students copied down the rhythms we were learning and added the counting to it. This week we also had our first playing test on No. 8 in the book "Morning" and our first timed note name quiz. We will redo the note name quiz in class next week. As is true for ALL assignments in orchestra, students are always welcome and encouraged to redo any assignment that was less than 100%. My goal for all students is mastery of the material. Students may redo assignments and playing tests during 9th period advisory/SMART time or after school.
6. There are still a few students who have not yet purchased their method books or have not purchased a shoulder rests (for violins/violas) or rock stop (for cellos/basses). ALL students really need to have a book so they can participate fully in class and practice at home. ALL violin/viola players must have a shoulder rest so they can hold their instruments comfortably and accurately.
Have a great three day weekend!
Dear Parents and Guardians,
In this e-mail:
1. Summer Orchestra
2. Playing Tests
4. Scale Pass-Offs
5. Concert attendance opportunities
1. Summer Orchestra will be June 6-June 23rd Monday-Thursday each week. We will have a short concert at the end. If your child will be participating in summer orchestra, please fill out this google form: http://goo.gl/forms/GsztRlOjjE
Then, please fill out and send payment with the registration form (I'll attach to this e-mail and also have paper copies available in class).
2. I wanted to give the students as much time as possible to learn and perfect their music before beginning playing tests. However, we had to start tests last week and will have another test this week. Each piece we are playing for the concert will be tested during class or after school if the student prefers. All of the completed tests have been entered into powerschool.
3. Our last CMS Concert of the year is on Tuesday, May 10th at 6:00pm. Call-time for students is 5:30pm. We will end the concert with over 200 students from grades 5-12 playing Orpheus in the Underworld (aka The Can-Can).
Students in Advanced orchestra only will be performing for Open house on Thursday, May 19th from 6:30-7:30. Call time is however much time they need to get tuned and set up in the cafeteria.
4. We will begin our scale pass-offs as soon as we are finished with our concert. The scales and arpeggios must be memorized (3rds too for advanced). Each scale will be graded as pass/fail. Failed tests may be redone after school. Students may complete these before our concert if they want to stay after school to do so. This is a large portion of the student grade for the class this quarter. We have devoted a great deal of class time to learning scales.
5. These are the concert opportunities I am aware of for Q4:
Thursday, May 12 - 7:00pm Suzuki Strings - Free
Tuesday, May 17th - 7:00pm Cedar High School Orchestra - Free
Wednesday, May 18 - 7:00pm Canyon View HS Orchestra - Free
Thursday, May 19 - 6:30-7:30pm - CMS Advanced Orchestra plays for CMS Open House
6. Please encourage your child to practice every day. A student is unlikely to show great enough improvement in skills if he or she only plays during class. Individual practice time is essential to building muscle memory and individual understanding of the musical concepts presented during class.
Have a great week!
We are learning Dance of the Tumblers, Mozart Mix, and Autumn now in orchestra. We will have a playing test on Tumblers and Mozart this week and a playing test of Autumn next week. We are also working on learning the combined piece, Orpheus in the Underworld.
After our concert on May 10th, students will begin their scale pass-offs. Students must memorize their C, G, D, A, F, and Bb major scales and arpeggios. These are pass/fail tests.
Students should also plan on attending one more concert for the year during this 4th quarter.
At this point in the year, the students should feel comfortable reading, counting and playing rhythms (16th notes, triplets, etc.), reading and performing notes on all strings of their instruments, and be able to play with confidence on the pieces we've worked on during class. Students should understand key signatures and how they impact finger patterns, understand whole and half step patterns, and have comfortable facility in 1st position on their instruments. As always, students are expected to practice EVERY day for a minimum of 20 minutes (two 15-20 minute sessions a day is even better)!
Dear Parents and Guardians,
In this e-mail:
1. New music
2. Playing tests
3. Concert attendance project
4. Practice expectations
5. Festival Thanks
1. We are continuing to learn new skills in our method book (triplets) and work on new music. This week, the students got A La Media Noche and Themes from the Nutcracker. We will work on these new pieces and continue working on The Kings of Christmas for our upcoming December Concert (December 8th at 6:00pm).
2. We will have a playing test on each piece as we learn it. Our first playing test will be on Kings of Christmas. As always, if a student would like to redo a playing test, I stay after school on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday.
3. Q2 Concert Attendance Opportunities:October 28 – 7:30pm SUU Orchestra @ Heritage Center. I’ll have free tickets available in class
October 28 – 7:00pm Canyon View HS Orchestra @ CVHS Free
November 12 – 7:30pm Orchestra of Southern Utah @ Heritage Center $5/students. I have a few free tickets available for this concert for families who otherwise couldn't afford to attend. Please contact me for tickets.
December 2 – 7:30pm Manheim Steamroller @ SUU Centrum (tickets start at $54)
December 4 – 7:30pm SUU Orchestra @ Heritage Center (I can probably get free tickets to hand out for this one too).
December 13 and 14 – 7:30pm Orchestra of Southern Utah – Messiah –@ Heritage Center - Free (get there early)
December 15 – CVMS Orchestra @ Canyon View MS time? Free
December 16 – 7:00pm CHS Orchestra @ Cedar High School
There are more string concerts down in St. George, Vegas, and up in SLC. This is just a quick list I was able to find online around Cedar City. Any string concert will work.
4. It is so great when I ask the class who practiced last night and almost every student in the class has a hand raised! Thank you for all you do to encourage your child to practice every day. It helps your child improve and it helps our orchestra sound its best!
5. Thank you for everyone who helped out at our festival on Saturday! The kids did a great job representing our school and our orchestra. It was quite an adventure when the bus broke down at the Texaco on the way back. I appreciate the good attitudes of the kids and I apologize for the inconvenience of having to pick your child up in New Harmony or 2.5 hours late at school. I hope the kids all had as much fun as I did at the festival.
Have a great week!
The intermediate orchestra is doing well preparing their music for the upcoming festival.
We spent the last day of the first quarter and the first few days of the second quarter learning about 16th notes and 8th-16th notes combinations. Students are doing very well counting and playing the rhythms now which is important since they immediately had to apply them in their new piece. Students are continuing to work on a piece from 1st quarter too since we will play one piece from the October Concert and one from the December Concert at the November 7th festival.
Our festival is on Saturday, November 7th. We will load the bus at 7:30am at the middle school. Students 12 and under should bring $7.50 for lunch and students 13 and older should bring $9.50 for lunch. Lunch money will be collected on the bus. Intermediate will warm up at 9am and perform at 9:30. Students will then have the opportunity to work with the judge. After they perform, the students will evaluate two other performing groups. We will head to lunch about 12-12:30. We should return to Cedar City by 2:30 or 3:00pm. Students can call on the bus when we are nearing town.
Thank you for encouraging your student to practice EVERY day. Each child is expected to practice a minimum of 20 minutes each day.
We are off to a great start in intermediate orchestra! The students have really started to play together and listen to each other.
In class the students have a daily bellwork of copying a rhythm down and then writing in the counting. Then the whole class counts and claps together to help build strong rhythm reading skills and also rhythmic ensemble skills. The students also play out of their "purple" (Essential Elements Book 2) method books each day to help build technique and understanding of musical concepts (order of sharps, key signatures, altered finger patterns, etc.)
Two weeks ago the students took their first note name and rhythm quizzes. I was so impressed with how well the students did. I have been even more impressed with the students who did not do well the first time but went home and practiced their note names and came back and aced the test! Good work students!! The students also had their first playing test two weeks ago on "Morning" from the method book. Students were graded on playing the correct notes, using the correct fingerings, playing the indicated dynamics, playing in tune, playing the indicated bowings, playing the correct rhythms, and maintaining a steady tempo. Again, many students were well prepared, but it has been great to see students continue to work hard and stay after school until they were able to play it perfectly!
We'll be having another set of written quizzes and playing tests this week. Students should feel well prepared if they have been practicing at home.
The new finger patterns we've been working on are:
Extended position for cellos
Half position for basses
High 3's for violins and violas
We've also been reviewing/introducing different key signatures and scales (C, G, D, and A major so far). The students have also been learning a piece called Gargoyles. Soon, we'll be getting a piece called Creatures.