• COURSE EXPECTATIONS                                       ORCHESTRA




    This is a performance class.  This course provides students with an opportunity to develop music reading and theory skills.  We will explore fingering and bowing techniques.  The emphasis will be on bowing skills and new fingerings including shifting.  Music listening and music appreciation will be included.



    Students will need a practice area at home.  Practice will be necessary to learn individual parts, mark music and prepare for tests.  Students should be practicing several days a week.  If you plan to be really good you probably need to practice at least one hour per day.  If you have professional goals two hours a day would be more realistic.  Practice records are due every Monday and should have at least 90 minutes per week.  That would be a minimum amount of practice to keep up.



    Evaluation will be based on student’s participation in and preparation for class and on tests, performances and practice records. Students need to bring their instruments every day unless a non-performing day is planned.  These will usually be the day after a concert and will be announced ahead of time if possible.  After three days of no instrument, failure to bring your instrument will lower the class grade by 10%. Repairs should be made as soon as possible and a note should be sent so I know it’s being repaired.  Grades will not be lowered for necessary repairs if I receive a note.

    Playing tests will be done in class.  Students usually have 1 to 3 weeks to prepare a seating test.  We do seating tests in fall and December or January. We will also be doing smaller playing tests in class. 



    Regular attendance is necessary in this class.  All members of the group are important and the group must learn together.  Participation in all performances during school, evenings or Saturdays are an important part of this class.  If students are missing, arrangements need to be made for other students to play their part and this cannot be done on short notice.  It will affect what music is selected for performance.  Concert attendance is part of your grade.  A make up assignment is required if you miss a concert for any reason.  Please do not schedule other events on concert dates.  All students are expected to stay and listen for the entire concert except for Serenade.



    Outstanding (O) – The student consistently exceeds expectations and exhibits behavior that enhances the learning environment. This includes but is not limited to: helping others, meaningful class participation, on time, prepared every day with materials, attentive, respectful to teacher and other students.


    Satisfactory (S) – The student consistently exhibits behavior that contributes to a safe and successful learning environment. This will include but is not limited to: class participation, on time, prepared with materials, respectful of others, works well in a group.


    Needs Improvement (N) – The student sometimes exhibits behavior that is not conducive to a safe and successful learning environment.  This includes but is not limited to frequently tardy, unprepared with materials, off- task behavior, disruptive behavior.


    Unsatisfactory (U) – The student often exhibits behavior that is not conducive to a safe and successful learning environment.


    Students should never touch someone else’s instrument without permission.  Students found to be hiding other student’s instruments will be suspended.



    Use of makeup and other beauty products is NOT appropriate in the classroom.  I am very allergic to hairspray, perfume, lotion and any scented product.  Please do not use these in my classroom.  Please use hand sanitizer outside.



    • Students must have their instruments, music in a folder or binder and a pencil at all rehearsals. Music should not be folded or put inside a case with the instrument.
    • Please put your name on your case. Use a luggage tag or put duct tape on the case and write the name. They need to be identifiable by the staff on the outside of the case.  There are several hundred cases in the room. If you ride the bus please put the school name on the name tag so the bus driver can return it to school if it is left on the bus.
    • intermediate book Intermediate orchestra will use Essential Elements book 2 (purple). Be sure to get the correct book for your instrument.
    • Advanced Orchestra will be using Sound Innovations creative Warm Ups yellow book).advanced book
    • Extra strings, a mute, rosin and a tuner (optional) are needed on a regular basis.
    • All students should have a shoulder rest for violin and viola.
    • Cellos and basses will need an endpin stop for performances on stage.
    • A chromatic tuner with a bridge clamp pickup works the best in a crowded room.  Tuners are nice for learning to tune but are not required.  Please put your name on your tuner. 
    • Instruments should have working fine tuners on all strings unless it has Perfection Pegs. Students have a difficult time tuning their own instruments without good pegs and fine tuners.
    • Please consider the quality of the strings you are using. As students get more advanced they are capable of better tone but can only produce what the strings will provide.  Please consider using “Dominant” strings or Evah Pirazzi  on violins or other good quality synthetic core string.  Cellos should stay with a louder string such as Spirocore or Jargar, Chromcor or Helicore.  (The dominant strings can be somewhat softer than other strings.)  Also check to see that the bow is in good condition.  Bows usually need to be re-haired or replaced every 1 to 3 years. 


    Please be careful when purchasing an instrument.  Many instruments available online and in stores that don’t specialize in string instruments are what we call Violin Shaped Objects.  They are often not lined up correctly, the pegs slip, the bridge is not fitted correctly and are extremely difficult to play.  Please do not buy strange colored violins.  The finish is very important to sound quality.  I have recommended some stores that I trust and buy instruments from.  Please do not buy Cecilio, Palentino, Mendini or any other $100 or less violin.  You probably need to spend at least $200 to get a playable violin but it won’t have great tone.  A better sounding instrument will cost more.  Of course the larger instruments cost more.


    Some good resources for supplies are:


    Local Stores:

    Nicholson Music on E. Bidwell behind KFC 983-0763

    Books, instrument rental, instrument purchases, repairs, strings, bows, mutes, case tags, shoulder rests, music, and other supplies.  They are open Tue-Fri 11-7 and Sat. 10-5.  They are closed Sun. and Mon.


    Aurino Violin Studio, Michelle Xiao You   916-742-1613 work, 916-770-6063 cell, text

    Fine instruments to rent, rent to own or purchase       good violin teacher


    Cheryl Macomber, violinmaker 923-1744 instrument purchase, rental, repairs.  Bow re-hairing


    Scott Krieger  string instrument repair hawksgate@juno.com    530-919-2479 cell phone


    Jeff Sahs Violins 739-1962

    Instrument repairs, re-hair bows, new and used instruments for sale.


    Ifshins  http://www.ifshinviolins.com  This is the premier violin store in the western U.S.  It is located in Berkley CA. The website can have interesting articles. Excellent instruments and repair.


    Southwest Strings   swstrings.com  1-800-528-3430 Instruments, cases, strings shoulder rests, tuners (KORG, Matrix or Quicktune tuner and Matrix pickup) and other accessories.


    Shar    sharmusic.com   1-800-248-7427 Instruments, cases, strings shoulder rests, tuners (KORG, Matrix or Quicktune tuner and Matrix pickup) and other accessories.


    Kennedy Violins   http://www.kennedyviolins.com


    JWPepper    jwpepper.com   music and recordings of our music


    The Woodwind and the Brasswind   wwbw.com   accessories and software Korg tuner and pickup


    Smartmusic practice software http://www.smartmusic.com   This is a great product.  Makes practicing fun and checks for accuracy.  Includes lots of music.


    Strings Magazine    http://www.stringsmagazine.com/index.asp   interesting articles and discussion groups. Very good playing tips!



    Black and White for Intermediate Orchestra and all black for Advanced Orchestra.  Long Black pants or skirts (below the knee when seated) and long or short sleeve shirt. .  Black shoes and socks.  We wear our music T-shirts for casual performances.



    Left hand nails must be kept short in order to play with correct position.  Long nails force you to play flat fingered which puts you out of tune and prevents vibrato.  Although I am willing to accept long nails for a special occasion, it needs to be for as short a period as possible.  It creates bad habits very quickly.



    The best way to reach me is by email.  mmoon@fcusd.org




    Sutter Middle School

    Orchestra Calendar



    October 29  Tuesday Fall concert  SMS orchestras  7:00   SMS  First concert in our new building  multi 

    December  12  Thursday   Winter Orchestra Concert  7:00  SMS

    January 11-12 Friday and Saturday CMEA capitol section Honor Orchestra   by application and teacher recommendation only  all day  8:30 – 5:30

    February 29 Saturday Sac State  CMEA Solo and Small Ensemble Festival  For select students only.

    March 24   Stand Up for Music at the State Capitol  this is during the school day  Advanced orchestra only

    March 25 or April 1st  Date to be determined  Wednesday  Folsom Empire Concert    4:00 – 9:00  FMS multi.  All band and orchestra groups except jazz.  You will not need to stay for the whole event .  Each group will need about 1 hour to set up and perform  Please be sure not to book something else on this date.  This is the most important concert of the year!

    May 1-2  State Solo Festival  You must score a Superior at CMEA solo Festival to be eligible for this event.

    May 20  Wednesday  Spring Serenade SMS all groups 5:30 – 9:00

    You should expect additional performances to be added. 




    All performers should plan to arrive 45 minutes before the concert time in order to tune and warm up.  Students should plan to stay and listen to the entire performance.  All concerts are part of the course requirements and each student is expected to participate in all performances.  Missing students affect the performance of the whole orchestra.  Please reserve these dates. There may be additional dates for fieldtrips and school performances. 






    ORCHESTRA COURSE Expectations

    View the expectations on line on our class web page.  Go to the school website and look under teacher websites for Moon



    Please sign and return signature sheet


    I have read the course expectations and concert dates.  I understand that it is very important for all orchestra members to be at all required performances.


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