Orchestra Contract

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 Settler’s Point
 Sonoma Ranch

Strings Handbook
This handbook explains our procedures and expectations and is to be used
as a reference and resource through the year. If you need a replacement,
one can be downloaded from our website at
Please take the time to read through this handbook together. Both student
and parent/guardian must sign and return the Strings contract at the back
of the handbook.

Communication is one of the keys to our success. Please contact me if you
have any questions or concerns. Since I am a traveling teacher, it can be
difficult to reach me by phone. The best and easiest way to reach me is by
e-mail. I check my e-mail every day and will do my best to respond within
24 hours. When contacting me, please include your child’s first and last
name, as well as their school.

          Make sure you bookmark our website!!

  Visit the website for class information, homework assignments, music,
                                  and more!

The purpose of this handbook is to ensure that all students and parents
understand the responsibilities of being in strings class. Please read all of
the information carefully. Every student will be held accountable for the
information within this handbook.

Instrument: Violin, Viola, Cello, or Bass
Shoulder Pad: for Violin or Viola only
Rock Stop (end pin holder): for Cello or Bass only
Rosin, Clean Soft Cloth, Pencil
Folding Stand: for home practice. Important to maintain proper playing
Cello/Bass Cart (luggage wheels): optional; not necessary but may
be handy for smaller students. Bungee cords work well to strap
instrument in place.

5th Grade Strings Books:

Orchestra Expressions, Book 1
Blue and yellow book, be sure to get the right book for the right
instrument, as they all look similar.

Essentials for Strings by Gerald Anderson
Brown book. Make sure you don’t get “Essential Elements.” This is another
popular book that they music store may assume is what you’re asking for.
Double check that it’s Essentials for Strings.

6th Grade Strings Book:

Orchestra Expressions, Book 1 (same as last year)
Blue and yellow book, be sure to get the right book for the right
instrument, as they all look similar.

                Classroom rules and expectations
Our primary responsibility is to learn basic musical ideas (dynamics,
reading music), how to play our instruments, and to have fun doing it.
Student behavior should be positive and contribute to the learning process.
With the limited amount of meeting times we have, proper classroom
behavior is important so that each class session we can maximize what we
learn. All students will respect the learning and safety of others.

Students are responsible for bringing their instrument, materials, music,
and pencil to every class meeting.

All students must keep their nails short. Please, no fake nails!! If a
fingernail extends past the fingertip, it is impossible to play with correct

All students are required to follow the six pillars of character.

I’d like to highlight respect in my classroom. Every child and parent will
be treated with respect by myself, and in return, every child will treat
myself and others with respect.

A complete list of classroom rules will be posted at the front of the
classroom for students to observe.

                             Grading policy
Students will receive an achievement grade for Strings (A, B, C, D, F).
The grade earned in strings class is divided in to three weighted categories;
Daily Participation, Homework (Practice Planners and written work), and
Group/Individual Performance Assessments.

Daily Participation (50% of the overall grade)
Each student must be ready to participate in each class. They must bring
all of their material to class each day. Their materials include: instrument,
music, rosin, shoulder pad, and a pencil.

Students will start each quarter with 200 participation points. A student
will lose 3 points for not bringing their instrument to class unless I am
notified by the parent/guardian with a valid reason they could not bring it.
A student will lose 1 point for not bringing their music or shoulder pad.

These materials will be brought to class every meeting to earn full points
for the day. Points can be deducted for behavior issues.

Homework (21% of the overall grade)

To be successful in a class that doesn’t meet every day, students must
practice at home. Practicing at home accounts for the majority of the
homework grade.

When we first get started, especially for 5th graders, it won’t be necessary
to practice more than a few minutes a day to refresh what we learned in
class. However, as we progress and learn more, required minutes will
increase. By the second quarter students will be required to practice as

5th Grade: 50 minutes a week (10 minutes a day, 5 days a week)
6th Grade: 75 minutes a week (15 minutes a day, 5 days a week)

The total minutes are what will be required, 10-15 minutes a day is the
suggested way to reach these goals. You will progress much easier
practicing a little a day rather than cramming all the minutes in to one day.
Extra credit points can be earned for practicing over the required weekly

Students will log these minutes on practice planners and return them with
a parent signature for a grade. Forging of parent signatures will result in a
score of 0 for that planner the first time, and more extreme discipline
from there on out.

Playing an instrument requires fine muscle movement and muscle
memory that needs to be built up, just as with playing any sport.

Group/Individual Performance Assessments (29% of the overall

Individual playing tests demonstrating each student’s ability to perform
his/her assigned music will be given and graded throughout the year.
These are aligned with the 5th and 6th grade orchestra learning outcome
goals set by the elementary band and orchestra department. Students
across the district will be held to similar standards by all band and
orchestra teachers, not just myself.

Students are expected to learn their parts and perform them along with
the rest of the class at a level appropriate to their grade level. Formal and
informal assessments will be made during class rehearsals. Concerts are to
be treated like a final exam. This is your group performance assessment.


This is a performance-based class. Concerts will be considered final
exams. String members are required to attend each performance. Many
families like to make concert nights “family nights” in honor of the
performer. We only perform two after-school concerts, so please block
these nights out on your family calendar and avoid planning conflicting
activities. Concert nights are something you and your young performer
will remember for the rest of your lives.

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