Dear Orchestra Members_ Parents_ Guardians and Family_ by zhangyun


									Dear Orchestra Members, Parents, Guardians and Family,

    I hope everyone had a summer of balanced relaxation and excitement. To the incoming 7th graders, I
wish you a warm welcome and good luck getting acquainted with your new school. Eighth graders, you
know the drill! Let’s get to work ;-)
    In case we have not met yet, I’d like to share a little bit about myself and what I’ve been up to
recently. I am a graduate of UConn and Guilford Public Schools, including Adams! My first instrument
is the cello, but other instruments that I “rock” include violin, viola, bass, guitar and drum set. I also
play Guitar hero… on expert level only. I’ve spent time in CT orchestras, a cappella groups, I play in
quartets and trios for weddings regularly, and spent a couple years on the UConn Ballroom Dance
Competition Team. Since I was in elementary school I have been an avid mountain biker and a regular
skier for a few seasons now. This summer, I rock climbed over 3,500 feet of cliffs, though, not all in
one day. Before all of that fun outside I bought a house in New Haven and spent the whole month of
July pulling carpets, demolishing, sheet rocking, painting, refinishing floors, plumbing and moving.
After all of that time away from making music, I’m excited to get back to work with talented and
dedicated individuals.
    The highlights of this year will include our three large orchestra concerts, outreach performances and
smaller appearances around the town. All students, regardless of experience, are invited to join chamber
groups to perform around the green during the tree lighting. Concordia auditions are coming up in the
end of September. Regional auditions are in early November. In October we will start a cello chamber
group. There will be more discussion about these opportunities at the “back to drool night.”
    Our AMS Orchestra “Back to Drool” night is on September 8th from 7:00-8:00. The event will be an
informational meeting to cover all of the extra-curricular opportunities for string players. There will
also be discussion of issues on the mind of advancing students, including to personal/musical growth
and new instruments. The evening will conclude with a victim doing a sample Concordia audition for
the group to see. Any volunteers? Parents are invited and encouraged to come.
     PROS, Parents Representing Orchestra Students, is the “booster group” for AMS orchestra. They
fund our guest musicians, some new instruments, bows, orchestra events and have purchased technology
that enriches orchestra students’ education. Please consider contributing or becoming a member, as the
group has the potential to make a considerable difference in students’ orchestra experience. A
membership form is included in the back of this packet.
     Please take some time to go over this packet together. Sign and return the last page but keep the rest
for your reference. The signed page is due back in the Orchestra Inbox (you will see where it is…) by
September 4th for a grade.


                                          Mr. Christopher Jones
                               AMS Orchestra Webpage

This webpage will include important information including concert schedule, student resources, links to
reputable sales sights and a copy of this contract. Remember, if you lose this packet, you can always
search for the Guilford Public School site and navigate your way to the page through Adams Middle
School website to the orchestra site or just google “Adams Middle School Orchestra”

                                   Contacting Mr. Jones

Email is absolutely the most effective way to contact me! I schedule time to check email when I enter
the school and before I leave. I often check during the day and in the evening but I make no guarantees.

Phone calls do not ring directly to my room and I will only find whether I have messages when I call
into my voicemail. If you would like to speak to me on the phone, it would be most efficient for you to
send an email including your number and good times to contact you during or outside of the school day.
I am likely to see your email days before I hear your voicemail.

Conferences: AMS Music teachers do not regularly attend parent-teacher conferences, though we are in
the building. I am happy to come to a conference upon request or meet before/after your conference
time. Parents often plan to meet with me during team meeting 1st period (8:00-8:30) or 8th period (1:55-
2:35) so that discussion isn’t rushed.

Respecting personal Privacy. For all school related issues I request that I be contacted only through
school email and phone numbers. As a professional musician I have web pages with private contact info
available and, having grown up with computers as a regular part of my life, I use social networking sites
(myspace/facebook) to keep in touch with my friends. I ask that students and parents don’t contact me
though any of those numbers, addresses or pages. But, by all means, send an email to my school
account with any questions or problems!

                                        Student Supplies
Students are expected to have the items below by September 3rd and on every day of class thereafter.

                                    A working instrument and bow
                   A 1” 3-ring binder with the student’s name on the cover and spine
                                 Apx. 25 sheets of regular lined paper
                                           Sharpened Pencil
                                         An extra set of strings
                                          Grading Policy
                      25% Written Work
                      25% Technical progress and performance
                      22% Etiquette
                      15% Preparation of instrument
                      10% Music/Binder Checks
                      3% Civic Contributions

Grading is based roughly on the above rubric, though it may differ slightly between quarters based on
concert schedule and classwork. Following is a description of each category.

Classroom and Rehearsal Etiquette
This refers to the student’s effort to make the orchestra classroom a productive learning environment for
himself/herself and others. There are numerous examples of inappropriate, disrespectful or immature
actions not covered in this handbook. It is the responsibility of individuals to conduct themselves in an
appropriate, considerate and mature manner when confronted with a new situation or decision. This
expectation is part of the orchestra grade.

Performance and Performance Etiquette
Performance is a requirement for AMS orchestra. Performances can be in a concert or through
individual observation. Grade weight will be assigned as is appropriate for the marking term.
   Concerts. A student who is unable to attend a concert can receive make-up credit by taking a short
playing test on their music outside of class and completing an alternate assignment. Unless the concert
absence is necessitated by an emergency, 2 weeks notice must be given to Mr. Jones by student in the
form of a note signed by both Student and Parent. In the case of an emergency, please contact Mr. Jones
ASAP directly or through a friend and provide a brief note explaining the absence. Orchestra is
considered an academic class and takes priority over extra-curricular activities.
   Observations. A Student’s performance progress will be routinely observed through formal and
informal evaluation.

Written Work
Students will be assigned compositions, quizzes and other work in class. Spelling, grammar and
presentation are just as important in music as they are in English!

Preparation of Instrument
Students are expected to have their instrument in working order before class starts. This includes good
strings, fresh bow hair, working pegs and everything else necessary to make that “stringy paddle
thingies” squawk. Loaner instruments will be available if a student’s instrument becomes inoperable
during the course of class and/or is in the shop for repair. See “Loaner Instruments” heading for more

Music/Binder Checks
Students are expected to keep track of the music loaned to them by the school in a black 3-ring binder
that is in good condition. After the initial check in September, students are expected to have their own
music with them every day in their orchestra binder.

Civic Contributions
One leader can’t make a group. It takes effort from everyone involved. This just playing isn’t enough....
Civic Contributions is 3% of the final grade and makes the distinction between an A and an A+ for most
students. If a student does not choose to contribute then this shows up as an F, rather than empty. It is
just a function of the grading system and students shouldn’t take it personally! The intention is for
students to realize that they have the choice to contribute more than is required of them, and recognize
them as “better than good... excellent”. Mr. Jones does not assign jobs, students are responsible for
searching out the opportunities. The intention of this grading point is instill a habit of “going the extra
mile,” in whatever a person does.

                                       Instrument Safety
The instrument cubby room is locked at the end of the day but it sometimes doesn’t stay shut or locked.
Damage and theft are extremely rare but are still a concern. Students are expected to bring their
instruments and music home on a nightly basis for practice and to keep instruments safe. By leaving
your instrument in the cubby room overnight you release the school of any liability for damage or theft.

Instruments are private property! Students are not allowed to borrow each other’s instruments without
permission from Mr. Jones and the instrument owner. This keeps instruments safe and avoids
uncomfortable liability disputes in the case of damage. Using someone else’s instrument results in a

                                   Classroom Punctuality
Students are expected to report to the orchestra room by the time the late bell rings. Any noticeable
tardiness will be recorded and result in a lowered grade. Rehearsal begins 2 minutes after the late bell
rings and ends 2 minutes before the period is over. During the 2 minutes of preparation time, students
are expected to gather their music, unpack their instrument, sit down and begin tuning their instrument
or warming up. Tuning notes start 2 minutes after the bell. Students should use this prep time to bring
personal or instrument issues to Mr. Jones, do not wait until class begins. It is the responsibility of the
student to be in his/her seat on time without any reminding from Mr. Jones. It is Mr. Jones’s
responsibility to release orchestra to pack up their instruments on time. If he loses track of time, please
raise your hand and remind him politely. Use pack-up time to address any issues that came up during

                            Confidential and Private Space
As a teacher, the law requires that I keep some information confidential (grades, student information,
school information…) As a normal human being, I have personal items too! Just as teachers respect the
privacy of a backpack, locker or instrument case, I expect that students will not open cabinets, desk
drawers, computer files or my personal bags. The administration will consider this a serious infraction,
as will I.

                                          Computer Use
Use of the office computer or PROS-donated classroom computer is only allowed with case-by-case
permission. If a student wants to use the computer, they must ask permission each time. Unauthorized
use results in a detention.

                                    Whiteboard Etiquette.
Students are only allowed to write on or erase the board with permission from Mr. Jones. Anything
written should be appropriate for class and contain no profanity, inappropriate language or references.

                         Responsibility for School Property
Copied Music. Copyright laws allow the reproduction of sheet music for rehearsal and concert use as
long as the school maintains an equal number of originals. Students are loaned copies of orchestra
music and allowed to mark it as they feel necessary, as long as markings are school appropriate. When
orchestra finishes playing a piece the copies will be collected and destroyed. It is the responsibility of
the student to return their music. Students who lose music must tell Mr. Jones during prep time, pack-up
time or outside of class. Realizing that music is lost and getting replacements during class is a disruption
to every student’s learning.
Loaned Originals. Loaned original music must be returned in the same condition it was loaned.
Normal wear and tare is allowed. Students may be asked to sign a form agreeing to take care of the
music. This form will also outline the replacement cost of the music in case it is lost or destroyed. Not
returning music for extended periods of time will result in a lowered grade.

                                   “Loaner” Instruments
The school has some instruments that have been purchased by the school or donated by our parent’s
group; PROS. These instruments are available for student use in the case of an emergency. They are
also available to short-term loan in the case of a long term repair on a student’s regular instrument.
Instruments may also be available for students who have a financial need. Arrangements for a financial
need situation may be made with Mr. Jones or by using scholarship funds from the school.

Per Adams school policy, students are not allowed to chew gum in school for their own safety. This is a
school rule and applies to any orchestra function. Chewing gum in orchestra results in an automatic

                                      Bathroom/Hall Log
Students are only allowed to leave the orchestra room with permission from Mr. Jones. When a student
leaves or returns, he/she must sign out and back into the classroom with the bathroom/hall log. Prep and
Pack-up time should be used for all non-emergency trips to the bathroom.

                                 Emergency String Policy
Replacing strings as they get old (once a year) is the responsibility of the student. It is also strongly
suggested that every student keep an extra set of strings with their instrument in case. If a string has
been used for too long or starts to fray prematurely then it becomes dangerous to the player (no one
wants to get hit in the face with a string breaking with 30lbs of pressure on it!) Strings also have a habit
of breaking at inopportune times such as concert nights, before auditions and (the ever popular) 2
minutes before a playing test. To make sure that students have every opportunity to play, an extra set is

The school also has a small stash of extra strings for emergencies. If you choose, your child may be
allowed to take a string from the school in the case of an emergency. When a student takes a string, they
agree to order one and replace it with an identical new string. Parents should order or purchase a string
and have the student bring it in within two weeks of taking the string from the school.

                                         Acceptable Use
Students are expected to submit only their own written work. In accordance with school policy (and
copyright law!) no one may copy someone else’s work or misrepresent it as their own. Any plagiarism,
copying or cheating will result in zero for the assignment and disciplinary action.

                    Enforcement of the Orchestra Handbook
Breaking the guidelines of the orchestra handbook can result in a lowered grade, disciplinary action,
revoked solo or ensemble privileges or a note home to parents. Serious or repeated infractions may
result in students being removed from special groups.
                                      Put this page on your fridge!!!

                                       Director: Christopher Jones

                                       Event Schedule

     date                 time                          event                              location
  Tues, Sep. 8           7-8pm            Orchestra “Back to Drool” Night*                  Adams
  Sat, Sep 19             10am               Guilford Fair Day Parade*                    Green (TBA)
  Wed, Dec. 9             7pm                    December Concert                          AMS Gym
 Thurs, Dec 10            7pm                   Concert Snow Date                          AMS Gym
 Tues, Dec 22          6:15 – 8:30                  Holiday Jam*                            Adams
 Tues, Mar 30             7:00                     Strings Festival                        GHS Gym
 Tues May 25             7 p.m.                     May Concert                           Adams Gym
                                               *denotes optional attendance

Concert dress:
Gentlemen: black dress shoes, black socks, black pants, white button-up shirt, tie of your choice
Ladies: Black shoes or dress sandals, black skirt or dress that covers knees, white blouse (if you are
wearing a skirt) Ladies may wear dressy black pants (cellists are encouraged…)

Concert and rehearsal attendance
Performance is part of the orchestra grade and concert attendance is mandatory. Please let sports
coaches and activity leaders know of your commitment to orchestra well in advance. All Adams sports
teams recognize that dress rehearsals and concerts are part of an academic class and will excuse the

According to district health policy, students who are sick from school on the day of a concert or leave
school early/sick may not attend a concert. (keep your germs to yourself and we’ll miss you!) This
absence is excused.

If you anticipate an absence from a concert please email Mr. Jones ASAP.

Make-up assignments will be made available for anticipated excused absences with no grade penalty.
Make-up assignments may also be assigned for unexcused absences to earn back partial credit.
                      Help Support Orchestra in Guilford!
PROS, Parents Representing Orchestra Students, is a group of parents who are committed
to supporting the AMS orchestra with activities and supplemental program purchases
throughout the school year.

The past…
In the past four years we have purchased microphones, 8 instruments, 8 bows, a new computer for
classroom use, tuners, professional metronomes and a live CD recorder. We helped supervise the AMS
Holiday Reunion Jam, the June Fiasco and refreshments for extended evening rehearsals and orchestral
social events. Our fundraising for these activities included candy sale and CD sales. PROS has funded
visiting guests including Mark Wood of the Transiberian Orchestra, Caravan of Thieves, a gypsy jazz/pop
group, an Arabic violinist, university professors, and electric violin experts. We help organize field trips,
supervise students during out-of-school performances and fund miscellaneous orchestral needs that cannot
be met through the regular school budget. PROS is also an active voice in the community that supports

The future…
This is the first year that any Guilford string group has marched in the Fair Day Parade. Mr. Jones is
anticipating plenty of work to go around! We hope that our Holiday Jam and Fiasco grow in size and
popularity by spreading the word to more Guilford string players, having more prizes and more exciting and
plan to continue refreshments for orchestra events. We are hoping for enough membership donations to
avoid a fundraiser. We are considering purchasing a professional recording microphone to be permanently
fixed in the orchestra room, a few new bows. We will be choosing at least two guest presenters to come to
AMS this year.

How can you help PROS support orchestra?
-We are looking for new executives, if anyone is up to it! (VP, treasurer, secretary)
-Active members to come to 3-5 meetings annually
-Volunteers help during “crunch” concert and trip times
-Pledging members send financial support

     Meeting times will be determined by interested members’ schedules, beginning in early September.

                              Included in this packet is a membership envelope.

   Typical donations range from $25-$75. Please feel free to contribute any amount that is comfortable.
                   Adams Middle School Orchestra Agreement
I have read the entire AMS Orchestra 2009-2010 handbook; I understand all of my
responsibilities and agree to conduct myself in a respectful manner during class, as outlined by
the handbook. Return JUST this page by September 4th.

     Please consider coming to the “Back to Drool Night” an optional evening for students and parents. Info above.

Student’s Name: ____________________________________
Student’s Signature:__________________________________
Parent’s Name:___________________________________
Parent’s Signature: ___________________________________
Check any the apply.

____ I do not allow my student to participate in the “emergency string policy.”
____ I do not want my student’s first name and last initial on the AMS orchestra site.
____ I do not want my student to appear on GCTV with the AMS orchestra.
____ I do not want my student’s picture from AMS orchestra events to appear in local newspaper.
____ I do not have a computer at home with internet access.
____ I have two instruments; one for school and one for home.
____ I do not want my contact information shared with PROS, the orchestra booster group

                                               Parent Information

Do you have any special skills, knowledge or connections that you are willing to share with
orchestra? (ex: I’m a professional bass player/ I own a flatbed truck/ I own family pizza shop and would like to
help organize or cater orchestra events…)

                                              Student Information:

Student’s Private Teacher (if applicable) ________________________________
Student’s instrument vendor: _________________________
Student’s instrument size, make, model and Serial number (any identifying information)
Other Musical Activities:_____________________________________________
Non-Musical activities/clubs/sports: _________________________________________
Student’s Email address: ____________________________________________
                                   (students are included on orchestra e-mailings!)

To top