Gregory Middle School
Kathryn Lakiotis and Robert Provost, Gretchen Pearson, directors
Dear Orchestra members and parents,
Welcome to the orchestra program at Gregory Middle School! The instrumental music
experience is a very important part of our school curriculum. Students' participation in
instrumental music enhances many areas of their personal, creative, and intellectual growth, and
adds depth to their overall education. The orchestra program is designed to help string players
improve their performance skills, expand their musical understanding, and promote their
personal growth through working and practicing together daily and through performing together
Our goals for each student include:
to discover, appreciate and value his/her talents and individual creativity and the talents
and contributions of others
to discover and appreciate the beauty and value of many types of music
to gain a desire to continually improve upon past performance - to be the best he/she can
to gain the personal integrity that results from achievement through hard work and
to experience the self-fulfillment and joy that result from creating beauty and sharing it
to gain a life-long enjoyment and appreciation of music that will last long beyond his or
her time at Gregory Middle School
It is to these ends that we ask each student to give his/her best effort and cooperation. With all of
us working together as a team, we will surely have a positive and rewarding year.
Thank you for taking the time to read this information all the way through! If you have any questions or
concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us. We feel strongly that being in a partnership with you will
help us to provide the best experiences possible for your musician.
Kathryn Lakiotis 630-428-6300 ex 9360 or Kathryn_Lakiotis@ipsd.org
Robert Provost 630-428-6597 or Robert_Provost@ipsd.org
Gretchen Pearson Gretchen_Pearson@ipsd.org
GREGORY ORCHESTRA INFORMATION
The 6th, 7th, and 8th grade orchestras are curricular classes that meet daily for a full class period.
Co-curricular opportunities are: Select Strings (honors orchestra, open by audition only), and Pioneer
Fiddlers (open to all violins, violas, cellos, basses, and guitars).
Orchestra students participate in daily full group rehearsals as well as a weekly 30 minute technique class consisting
of instrument-specific instruction and individual skill development. Technique class is scheduled on a rotating basis
throughout the day so that no student will miss the same class two weeks in a row. Students may be excused from
technique class if they have a test, lab, special project, or presentation in their regular class, but they must make up
the missed class. To be excused, students must fill out a Technique Class Excuse Form and return it to their
technique teacher within a day of the absence.
Calendar and Concert Expectations
Participation in concerts is mandatory. A concert is the culminating event of months of preparation by all the
students. When one person misses a concert, the experience is greatly diminished for all the others. To avoid last-
minute conflicts, we ask that all students and parents carefully read the Orchestra Calendar and write the dates on
their home calendars. Please notify Mrs. Lakiotis of any conflicts at least two weeks before a concert.
The Gregory Music Department Uniform is:
Black Shoes, Black socks
Grey Music Department Polo Shirt
The Gregory Middle School Music Department has one fundraiser each year. The success of this activity gives us
the opportunity to provide the music students with extra musical enrichment activities not provided as part of our
curriculum. This includes fees and transportation to special clinics, guest conductors and summer camp scholarships.
Yes, you should remind your child to practice.
Almost all students need to be reminded to practice, just like they need to be reminded to take out the garbage or
finish homework. This isn’t a sign that your child is not interested in music; it is simply a normal part of helping
your child to develop good study skills. The self-discipline it takes to practice independently takes time to develop.
Encouragement from a parent can make practicing a productive and positive part of a child’s daily schedule.
Help make practicing a positive experience. Set aside a regular time and a quiet place so your child can practice
with concentration. A music stand will ensure good posture. The goal for each student is five days each week.
6th grade – 20 minutes a day 7th grade – 25 minutes a day 8th grade – 30 minutes a day
Private lessons are encouraged for all students. Students can progress much more quickly with the individual
attention they receive in a private lesson. Private study challenges advanced students and supports students who
are struggling with any aspect of their playing. A list of private teachers is available for students who are
Musicians are made, not born.
Were Mozart and Michael Jordan “born with it”?
Many people are lulled into thinking that good musicians and athletes are just born
with natural talents and are destined to excel. There is no denying that these
individuals were given many talents, however, their surroundings and
upbringing had more to do with their success than any other factor. Mozart’s
father happened to be the premier piano instructor in Europe and saw to it that
from a very young age, Mozart had daily instruction and practice. Michael
Jordan’s parents also insisted on daily practice and training. The results? Experts
in the field of music and basketball.
We are all familiar with the discussion of nature versus nurture. Nature refers to
the talents we are born with in relation to what we become. Nurture refers to how
our upbringing and environment play a role in what we become. Research shows
that a student’s success in their schooling is largely dependent on parent
involvement and the environment in the home. As parents, it is easy to hear the
sounds of young musicians and think to ourselves that our kids either “have it” or
they don’t. The truth is, a student’s success in orchestra is not determined at birth.
Honestly, success for your student may not happen immediately, but may occur
years into their musical journey. We firmly believe that students can learn musical
skills, foster them through consistent practice, and, with support from home, have a
rich experience in music regardless of what they may have been “born with”.
Musical skills are learned just as math or reading skills. With repetition and
practice, they become second nature and empower the students to grow and
succeed. Music has repeatedly been proven to use more of the brain simultaneously
than any other activity. It creates well-rounded, critically thinking, sensitive people
who are able to work well with others while pursuing an art form that defines
Music is for life. Your belief in your student’s ability to participate in music
will have a lasting impact.
My child is in both
Orchestra and Chorus
Students enrolled in the Gregory Music Department have the privilege and opportunity to be
Combo Students. Combo Students or Combos are students who are in band/orchestra and chorus.
To facilitate participation in both, the following schedule is used:
O = ORCHESTRA DAY C=CHORUS DAY
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
C O C O alternates by week
A schedule similar to this is hung outside of the orchestra room so that all Combo Students can
be aware of the schedule and plan accordingly.
Being a Combo Student requires extra responsibility and dedication. Although we will never
introduce new concepts on the days that Combo Students are in chorus, Combo folks will not get
the same amount of playing time or repetition as their full-time orchestra peers who are in
orchestra five days a week. To stay caught-up and to feel successful in orchestra, we ask that all
Combos do the following:
Check in with their orchestra director on their way to chorus for any announcements, handouts
Check the Combo Schedule to make sure they know what day it is
Check the Technique Schedule in case they need to bring their instrument for Technique on a
Practice all of their chorus and orchestra music so that they are able to contribute musically to
It is the goal of the Music Department to have our musicians succeed and feel comfortable with
their participation in all ensembles. Should a student be struggling with the extra responsibilities
of being a Combo Student, the chorus and orchestra directors will have conversation with that
student and their parents about increasing success. In the best interest of the student, a
recommendation may be made to select one full-time ensemble in lieu of being a Combo Student
New this year: Combo Students will receive their quarter grade based upon their performance in
chorus (50%) and in orchestra(50%).
Gregory Orchestra Philosophy of Assessment
Philosophy: Focus on musician growth-not grades
The Orchestra Curriculum is assessed in a variety of informal and formal ways that allow
for individual learning styles and abilities
Musicians will be given continual feedback from their directors and fellow students
throughout the entire learning process
Criterion for success will be clearly articulated for each technique class or ensemble
GUIDE TO GRADING
Orchestra Grades Are Based On the Following:
20% for Classwork
· Classwork includes written assignments, quizzes, and tests.
20% for Effort and Participation
· Each student will receive daily points for attitude, having proper supplies, timely turn-in
of permission slips, preparation, and posture.
20% for Performances/Concerts/Orchestra Music Playing Tests
· Points for concert participation will be based on attendance, behavior at the concert, having
supplies, being on time, and having the proper uniform.
· Orchestra Music Playing Tests will be in-class playing tests on the
orchestra music to assess individual preparation for the concert.
· Absences from a performance will only be excused if approved by the director at least two
weeks prior to the performance. Family emergencies and illness are excused.
· Please mark your calendars carefully at the beginning of the year to avoid conflicts with
40% for Technique Class Attendance, Written Assignment, Practice Record,
and Assignment Performance
· Please refer to the technique goal sheet packet for specific performance and written
assignments and to find the practice record.
GREGORY ORCHESTRA CALENDAR
11 Auditions for Select Strings 3:15-6:00 pm Scullen MS
20 IMEA all-district rehearsal 5:45-7:30 NVHS
29 IMEA Auditions (selected students) TBA Yorkville MS
29 7th Grade rehearsal 6:45-7:45 am Gregory
30 6th Grade rehearsal/pizza party 3:00-5:00 pm Gregory
1 Orchestra Concerts East Gym
6th grade orchestra, Pioneer Fiddlers, Select Strings 6:30
7th and 8th grade orchestras 8:15
3 IMEA Music Festival (selected students) All Day Neuqua
12 5th grade orchestra concert with Select Strings 6:15 East Gym
12 8th grade orchestra – high school info meeting 7:00 NVHS Gold
3 7th Grade rehearsal 6:45-7:45 am Gregory
4 6th Grade rehearsal/pizza party 3:00-5:00 pm Gregory
6 Honors Holiday Concert 7:30 pm Gregory
7 Set-up for Holiday Triptych Concert 6:00 pm East gym
10 6th Grade Holiday Triptych Concerts 12:30 and 2:00 pm East Gym
10 7th Grade Holiday Tryptich Concert 6:30 East Gym
8th Grade Holiday Tryptich Concert 8:00
(orchestra, band, and chorus)
17 8th grade MODs - Neuqua Masterworks event 3:00-8:00 Gregory& NVHS
23 Solo & Ensemble Contest All Day TBA
(all students are encouraged to participate)
4 and 5 Summer Scholarship Auditions 3:00-5:00 pm orchestra room
6 5th grade orchestra concert with Select Strings TBA East Gym
7 6th Grade rehearsal/pizza party 3:00-5:00 Gregory
8 Middle School Orchestra Festival (Select Strings) after school Granger
11 7th Grade rehearsal 6:45-7:45 am Gregory
13 Spring Orchestra Concerts
6th grade orchestra, Pioneer Fiddlers, Select Strings 6:30 East Gym
7th and 8th grade orchestras 8:15
5 Fiddle Fest 7:00 pm Neuqua Gold
11 MOD recital 7:30pm Alden Gardens
13 Step-Up Day 9:00am -1:00pm Gregory
TBA 5th/6th Grade Orchestra Event after school Gregory
18 Fine Arts Festival (all) All Day NVHS
24 Music Department Celebration after school Funway