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.