The orchestra program strives to provide a place where music skills can be learned and immediately put into practice; where the individual gifts can be developed and understood while developing an appreciation for the tremendous historical volume of literature in the string and orchestral repertoire. Benefits include learning to work as a team, success in society, success in school, success in developing intelligence and success in life.
The orchestra program strives to:
Dedicated to all students and parents that I have the privilege of working with who share the joy and wonder in creating and sharing beauty and who seek the best of themselves.
These are my thoughts…
Music is science. Music develops insight and demands research. It is precise, specific, and it demands exact acoustics. A conductors’ full score is a chart, which indicates frequencies, intensities, volume changes, melody and harmony all at once and with the most exact control of time. The deciphering of the score and the individual players parts demands the implementation of the scientific method of analysis
Music is math. It is rhythmically based on the subdivisions of time into fractions which must be done instantaneously by both the mind and the body.
Music is foreign language. There is no other language that can be communicated instantly by people of every nation, nationality, creed or religion. It is the only true universal language. The terms used in music are in Italian, German, French, or Russian and the notation itself is a highly developed style of shorthand that uses universal symbols to represent ideas.
Music is history. Music reflects the environment and times of its creator and often the country, its politics, its place in history and culture. It places you in the past, present and the future at every moment. It gives you vision of history and time.
Music is physical education. It required fantastic coordination of fingers, hands, arms, wrists, lips, cheeks and facial muscles in addition to extraordinary control of the diaphragm, back, stomach, and chest muscles all which respond instantly to the symbols the eye sees and the mind interprets and the sounds the ears hear. It is a highly team oriented event and demands the best of your and those around you at all times.
Most of all,
Music is a living art. To utilize all the senses and add the vital dimensions of sharing humanism, emotions and feelings to recreate the work of a genius is the true challenge and reward. Your gift is to recreate a geniuses work from a printed page with all the intent, emotionalism, spirit and life of its creator.
Your reward is to let your soul express itself and celebrate!
This is why I teach music. Not because I expect you to major in music.
Not just because I hope you will play or sing all your life.
With love and joy in living and creating beauty,
Jeffrey R. Thomas
September 7, 2010
Advanced Technique for Strings: Allen, Gillespie, Hayes
Essentials for Strings: Gerald Anderson
There will be copies of these books in each folder so students can keep theirs at home. If this book is lost, the student(s) that are assigned the folder will be held responsible for its cost.
All students begin with an “A”. Keeping this grade will depend on your success in the following:
Attendance: see below
Concerts: 1/3 of grade
Assignments: 1/3 of grade
Citizenship/Participation: 1/3 of grade
Students should be prepared each day in class with their instrument and music. If your instrument is broken, see Mr. Thomas immediately. You may need to take it to a repair person to ensure timely repairs. Recommended practice time will be determined by the student’s ability to play the music being rehearsed in class. Students should be ready to rehearse when Mr. Thomas steps on the podium to start the rehearsal. This means being in your seat, with music and instrument ready, and of course, paying attention.
Concerts represent everything that we do in class each day. As a performance-based class, we rely on each other to put on the best performance possible, thus performances should not be missed. Please consult the calendar and reminder emails, especially when scheduling appointments, family functions, etc. I know there are many wonderful opportunities for our students to take part in (and music students do take part in many activities and groups) but please do not sign them up for events if they may conflict with one of our performances. Students should not miss a performance because “they do not have a ride”. There are plenty of ways to get students to a concert. If you have problems, let me know at least one day in advance of the performance. An excused absence will only be granted for illness or emergency. If you think you may have a legitimate reason for missing, send a note or email from a parent. Students with an excused absence from a performance may get credit by completing a make-up assignment from the instructor.
Seating will be determined by a playing audition. This will be your assigned seat. You may challenge the person one seat ahead of you. Challenges give the student another opportunity to perform and are highly encouraged to develop playing skills in front of an “audience”. Challenges also greatly enhance individual playing skills. You may challenge up to three weeks before a performance or if the group as a whole is not learning its music. Challenge dates and music excerpts will be announced by the director the week before challenges.
Men: The Band and Orchestra Boosters will provide black pants and coat. Students will purchase a tuxedo shirt (order through orchestra).
Women: Black concert dresses will be sized and fitted per our uniform crew.
These uniforms will last for all of your years in high school orchestra.Make sure you check your uniform fit regularly. Because you are fed, clothed and made to sleep by a caring adult, you tend to grow throughout the year. If there is a problem with your uniform in any way please let the director know at least two days prior to the concert. There are enough things to worry about in getting ready for the concert so let’s not let the uniform be one of them!