Welcome to Craig and Parker High School Orchestra! I am excited that your student has chosen to return to be a part of our string community. This year, your student will be making lots of beautiful music and learning about more challenging musical concepts and techniques. Please read through the following information about this class with your family:
Supplies: You are required to provide your student his/her own instrument/case, either by owning or renting. Most of you have these supplies by now, but please ask me about any questions you may have! In addition to your instrument with bow and case, you will also need:
Shoulder rest (violin/viola only) –Especially at the High School level, a shoulder rest is a MUST for good posture and learning vibrato. Even if you only have a sponge, it’s much better than nothing!
Rosin – You should rosin your bow every time you use it! I have some extras if you don’t have one—ask me!
A soft cloth (can be a clean rag or piece of old t-shirt) to clean your instrument –You should clean your instrument of rosin dust, smudges, and sweat (ew!) after every playing session.
Folder for your sheet music – provided by school
A Pencil – I ask you to write things down occasionally, so always have a pencil with you!
Most of these items are available for purchase at your place of rental (like Voigt Music Center or Knapton Notes), or at string instrument websites such as www.sharmusic.com and www.southweststrings.com . If there is a problem with your instrument, let me know right away! It is easier to fix if the problem is not allowed to get worse. Please be careful with your instrument! Your instrument and accessories need to be at school and ready to be used by the beginning of the first week of school (Monday, Sept. 5th) at the very latest, if at all possible. I would like to begin rehearsing as soon as possible, as the first concert is always closer than you think!
Grading The grading system at the High School level is a bit different this year. Here is the standard, school-wide policy:
High School Grading Purpose Statement: To implement grading practices that accurately and equitably report student achievement. GRADING SCALE: GradeGPARange A 4.0 92-100 A- 3.7 90-91 B+ 3.3 88-89 B 3.0 82-87 B- 2.7 80-81 C+ 2.3 78-79 C 2.0 72-77 C- 1.7 70-71 D+ 1.3 68-69 D 1.0 62-67 D- 0.7 60-61 F 0 50-59
Retakes/Test Corrections For summative assessments, our aim is to get students to master the content at 80% proficiency with multiple opportunities for students to learn.
All students, regardless of their summative assessment grade, are able to do test corrections.
If not demonstrating at 80% or better on the first try, a student is expected to make corrections and/or retake the assessment.
Students may be required to provide evidence of the corrective action they have taken to prepare and learn essential content prior to retesting and/or completing corrections.
A student must demonstrate learning during the semester deadline.
A student may be allowed retakes in order to master content within the semester deadline.
The teacher will establish where and when test retakes can occur; this may occur outside of the class period.
Students should be encouraged to retake material that has not been mastered.
Corrections and/or retakes on semester exams and CBAs are not required.
80% Summative (assessments) or higher / 20% Formative (assessments) or lower
If a summative assessment is not completed by the end of the semester, the student will receive a 50% F on the incomplete summative assessment.
Teachers have professional discretion to alter course requirements and/or final grades when there are extenuating circumstances (i.e., student arrives late in a semester without a transfer grade, family crisis)
All formative assessments should be completed by the summative assessment of the unit.
If a student is absent, the teacher may allow the student to turn in the formative assessments up to the point that the student takes the summative assessment.
Formative assessments will be accepted without penalty up to the summative assessment.
Summative assessments will be accepted without penalty throughout the semester.
With the ability to complete test corrections and/or retakes, students have multiple opportunities to improve their grade. To maintain the emphasis on core curriculum work, extra credit will not be offered.
The Role of the Zero
All grades range from 50-100%.
A student scoring below 50% would still receive a 50% on that assessment.
The student must retake the assessment and serve the disciplinary consequence.
In regards to orchestra, here is the breakdown of how you will be graded:
80%: Summative Assessments
Concerts Students are required to attend all concerts. Students have worked very hard on the music, and we need every student’s participation in order to be successful. Participation in concerts will also be a large part of the student’s grade in orchestra. Please make every effort to make these concerts a priority – they are akin to a test in other subjects, but more fun!
*Examples of Excused Concert Absences: Extreme student illness, extreme family illness/death/crisis. Occasionally, an absence for another reason may be allowed, but only if it is absolutely unavoidable and is shared with Mrs. Lidholm well in advance of the concert. For all excused absences, the grade must still be made up (details below) for a maximum of 100% of points possible.
*Examples of Unexcused Concert Absences: Most family vacations (especially those planned after concert dates are shared with family), non-emergency doctor’s appointments, driver’s ed, failure to secure a ‘ride’, student/family forgetfulness, truancy from school, sporting events (yes, practices AND games), work (you have plenty of time to ask off), any other extra-curricular activities (school comes before extra-curriculars), and any time an absence has no real explanation. In short, if the absence could have been avoided with thoughtful planning with concert dates in mind, the absence is unexcused. In unexcused concert absence cases, students can still make up the grade for a maximum of 80% of points possible.
*The make-up assignment for missing a concert is a private individual concert for Mrs. Lidholm. The student who missed the concert must perform his/her part for all of the concert pieces and will be evaluated for proficiency as if it were for a CBA performance grade. Students who need to make up a concert grade MUST schedule this with Mrs. Lidholm outside of class before the end of the semester in which the concert falls, or they will receive a 50% F for the concert grade.
*Students should report to the school 30-45 minutes before the start of the concert in order to warm up, get tuned, and be ready to play.
*Concert dress: Students in high school are required to look professional for concerts. This is the highest level of performance in the school district, and dress should reflect abilities and professionalism. All applicable normal school dress codes apply for concerts. Let me know if you have any questions about this policy:
Ladies: All black. You can choose to wear a nice shirt and dress pants (no jeans), a long dress, or shirt/skirt combination. Your shoulders should at least be covered (no lone tank tops or spaghetti straps), and skirts/dresses should be conservative. If a skirt is too short to meet standards alone, black opaque tights or leggings may be worn to reach an appropriate length. Black dress shoes are required (no tennis or casual shoes). A rule of thumb: If your outfit attracts more attention than the music, you will want to consider another outfit.
Gentlemen: All black. Black dress pants (no jeans), black button-up shirt (tie optional) or nice black polo, black socks, and black dress shoes. Black suit coats are allowed but not necessary.
*Personal items (purses, cell phones, etc) are not allowed on stage during a performance. Please secure these items in your lockers or in the orchestra room until after the concert.
*All students are expected to behave appropriately when on stage and when part of the audience listening to the other ensemble(s). No running, no sitting on the edge of the stage, no wandering backstage, no yelling across the stage or in the auditorium, etc. DO enjoy your moment in the spotlight, relax, do your best, and make your family members weep for joy at the beauty of your playing.
Concert Dates Please put these on the calendar right away! Remember, attendance is mandatory.
Craig High School: Fall Concert: Monday, October 17th, 2016 -- 7:00pm, Craig High School Auditorium Winter Concert: Monday, December 19th, 2016 – 7:00pm, Craig High School Auditorium Joint Dessert Concert: Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017 – 6:00pm, Craig Cafeteria District Solo/Ensemble (Optional): Saturday, February 25th, 2017– Parker High School All-City Strings Concert: Wednesday, April 5th, 2017 – 7:00pm, Parker Gym State Solo/Ensemble (Optional): Saturday, April 29th, 2017 – UW-Whitewater Spring Concert: Wednesday, May 31st, 2017 – 7:00pm, Craig High School Auditorium
Parker High School: Fall Concert: Wednesday, October 19th, 2016 -- 7:00pm, Parker High School Auditorium Winter Concert: Wednesday, December 14th, 2016 – 7:00pm, Parker High School Auditorium Joint Dessert Concert: Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017 – 6:00pm, Craig Cafeteria District Solo/Ensemble (Optional): Saturday, February 25th, 2017 – Parker High School Fine Arts Festival: Monday, March 27th, 2017 – 7:00pm, Parker Auditorium All-City Strings Concert: Wednesday, April 5th, 2017 – 7:00pm, Parker Gym State Solo/Ensemble (Optional): Saturday, April 29th, 2017 – UW-Whitewater Spring Concert: Monday, May 22nd, 2017 – 7:00pm, Parker High School Auditorium Graduation Performance: Thursday, June 8th, 2017 – 5:30 (ish)pm, Meet at PHS
Orchestra CBAs These assessments have been designed to encourage growth in many areas of music, including performance. There will be one CBA per quarter, for a total of four per year: two are written, and two are performance. Homework assignments given will support information that is assessed for the written CBAs, and lessons will support the performance CBAs.
Semester and Final Exams These tests will encompass most of the musical concepts covered in class over the semester. Students will have the study material and information about each semester exam at least two weeks before the exam date.
20% Formative Assessments
Ensemble Skills (one point per day) This includes having practiced, bringing one’s instrument and materials to class every day, being respectful to teacher and students, using proper technique, and participating physically and mentally during class time. I do not require practice charts at this level. It is expected that you are diligent in your practicing on your own time in order to be prepared for rehearsal. Unexcused absences and missing materials/instruments will result in a zero participation grade for the day. Missed points can be made up with extra documented practice at home. An abnormal amount of absences may prompt a student/teacher conference, a phone call home, and/or school disciplinary action. Homework Assignments Periodically, written assignments will be given to help teach students music theory, history, and social significance of music that cannot always be addressed during rehearsals. These assignments will vary by student age and ability—not everyone in each class may necessarily receive the same assignment. Lessons As a part of the Project Redesign initiative at the high school level, CBAs have been implemented as a tool for assessment. Because learning and assessing individual musical performance is almost impossible to do well in a group setting, time has been set aside for students to come down to receive extra help, put in some practice time, and most importantly, to take the performance CBA for Orchestra. Students are required to attend TWO LESSONS PER QUARTER, the successful completion of which will be used as part of the student’s overall grade. Each lesson will be worth 10 points. Students will receive more detailed instructions about this in class. Extra Ensembles Students have the opportunity to work with me outside of class in ensembles of their choosing. Normally this means a chamber ensemble, but can also include duets, trios, and other small collaborative groups. I highly encourage these small groups, which can compete at the district Solo/Ensemble festival, as well as performance opportunities at our school concerts and other venues. I will have a sign-up for the large chamber ensemble (or two!) at each school, and any students wishing to create their own ensemble should speak with me so we can set up rehearsal time.
Have your instrument and supplies/accessories at school ready to play. If you do not have your instrument that day, I will no longer be giving passes to elsewhere in the building. If you do not have your instrument, you will lose your participation points for the day.
Practice your music on your own. Practice your music on your own. Practice your music on your own. Practice, Practice, Practice. Learning music (well) happens best when students take the time to work on it outside of class. There is only so much we can do if no one is prepared.
Have a pencil with you, and write things down in your music. No one can remember everything.
Be mentally ready to play. I know you have super-exciting lives outside of orchestra (me too!), but when you’re here, you’re here to play and work together as a team.
Be ready to tune 3 minutes after the bell. If you are not in your seat with your instrument out and actively tuning in that amount of time, you will be marked tardy. Use your time wisely.
Be ready to work hard and stay ‘in the zone.’ Rehearsals often mean having to take time with one or two sections at a time, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do something productive with your time. You could be:
Practicing your note names
Practicing your fingerings
Plucking your part (softly) along to see how it fits
Working on orchestra homework
Evaluating the group that is being worked with, and figuring out what they could be doing better, and/or what they are doing well so you can do the same!
No food or drink (besides water) in the classroom!!!! We do not want to attract critters or damage/dirty the instruments. Our classroom is our shared workspace, let’s work together to keep it clean.
No phones/electronics!!!! This has become a major problem in the classroom. If I see it, you will lose it. You will also lose your participation points for the day. No exceptions. Please be responsible.
Be respectful of myself and your classmates. We are all here to learn about some fantastic music and to enjoy our time together, but we need each other’s positive support to be successful.
Respect your instrument. They are expensive and somewhat delicate, and school instruments especially cannot always be fixed right away due to a very, very small repair budget.
Do not hang violins/violas from stands.
Do not use an instrument that is not yours.
Watch where you step. We don’t want any accidents.
When not in use, put your instrument somewhere safe (on chair for violins/violas, on the side by your chair or back on the rack for basses/cellos).
Do not hit your bow against your stand (or against any other surface or person, for that matter)
Wipe your instrument clean of rosin when you are done playing and loosen your bow.
Respect school equipment and the room.
Do not deface the stands/chairs in any way. They are in great condition and I expect them to remain so.
Clean up after yourself. Do not leave trash on the floor.
Keep your music off of the floor. Violins/violas have lockers. Cellos/ Basses have a folder cabinet. Please use it. Folders and music should be stored and kept neat to avoid missing music and nasty dust bunnies.
Most importantly, be ready to have fun! Making music is one of the most rewarding things a person can do, and you wouldn’t be here unless you love it (I hope!).
Please read through this handbook carefully, and sign and detach the following page to be returned to Mrs. Lidholm. Thanks, and let’s have a great year!