Grading is based on:
(a) Attendance and class participation (60%)
(b) Two Playing tests (20%)
(c) Two 4-week practice logs (20%) (download
Up to 10 additional points can be earned through extra-credit:
- Audition for Senior Regional or All-State Orchestra (5 points)
- Participate in SRO or All-State (10 points)
- Concert Attendance (3 points)
- Orchestra help—filing music, setting stage, etc—just ask; there is always plenty to do! (1-3 points)
- Research paper—see Mrs. Thomas for guidelines (up to 5 points)
(a) Attendance and class participation (60%)
- Concerts are an integral part of this course, and
missing one will cost you 30 points on your 9-week
grade. The only acceptable excuse for missing a concert
are (1) personal illness or (2) serious illness or
death in the family. Successful musical performances
depend on full and consistent participation of all
members. For a concert absence to be excused, I need
to be notified in advance (CHS Orchestra Office—245-2726)
and a parent-signed note needs to be presented upon
your return to CHS.
(b) Playing Tests (20%)
Evaluative playing tests will be held periodically (at
least twice each nine week grading period.) These "playing
opportunities" are absolutely invaluable. They help
you set goals and develop performance skills under pressure.
They help me evaluate your strengths and weaknesses
so that I can give you written feedback and help you
grow as a musician. At announced times, playing tests
will be used for seating purposes. It is the student's
responsibility to arrange a make-up test within 2 days
of his/her return to school; otherwise a zero will be
(c) Practice Record (20%)
Students should record their daily practice on an official
CHS Orchestra practice log. The log should be kept daily,
totaled weekly and signed by a parent at the end of
the 1st interim and the end of the 9 week grading period.
Parent signatures are not required for seniors. Credit
for practice will be given as follows:
- 10 hours (average of 2.5 hrs/wk over 4 weeks)
=10 pts (100%)
- 9 hours (average of 1.66 hrs/wk)=9 pts
- 8 hours (average of 1.11 hrs/wk) =8 pts,
A student is late if he or she is not in the chair with
his or her instrument when the last chime sounds.
The Concert Orchestra will rehearse outside of class time at least once prior to each major concert. This rehearsal will be planned according to what is convenient for the majority of students and announced well in advance, and will be mandatory.
Please rotate seating for each rehearsal during the first few weeks of school. Prior to our first performance, playing tests for seating will be held. Ranked seating is important for the overall sound and leadership in the orchestra, and seating decisions are based on many factors. Musical considerations include intonation, tone quality/vibrato, phrasing/artistry, rhythm, bowing, and consistency in performance. Leadership qualities are also important to consider. One example of leadership is taking responsibility for (and passing back) bowings and fingerings. Leaders maintain focus in rehearsal, convey a positive attitude and demonstrate dedication to the orchestra. Determining seating is one of the most difficult aspects of the conductor's job. I wish that everyone who works hard could sit first chair! I try to be fair; I spend hours after each audition, carefully considering each seating. Please remember that our orchestra is one of the best, and that all of you are part of our success.
Girls Orchestra dresses are distributed at the beginning
of the year and are to be kept at home and worn to concert
performances. The dresses were purchased in 2011 and
need to last many, many years. Please take care of these
garments so that others may wear them with pride in
the future. Dresses are to be returned in June after
the final performance. Those who do not return their
orchestra uniform will receive a bill for $75 and their
report card will be held until their obligation is cleared.
Tuxedo jackets, pants, ties and cummerbunds are fitted early in the year, assigned to you and kept at CHS. White tuxedo shirts are given to you to be kept and cleaned at home, and worn for concert performances. Shirts are to be returned in June.
Every CHS Orchestra member needs to have a pair of dress black shoes for performances. No open-toed or platform shoes. If in doubt as to whether or not your shoes are appropriate, please ask.
Students are encouraged to purchase quality instruments
rather than rent when financially possible. The Charlottesville
City Schools has violins, violas, cellos and basses
available to rent for a fee of $100 per school year.
Students on free or reduced lunch programs will receive
free or reduced instrument rent. Students are responsible
for providing rosin and replacing strings. Rental fees
are used to regular maintenance and replacement of instruments.
The student is expected to keep the instrument clean
and in sound playing condition. The student pays for
lost or stolen instrument and repairs resulting from
misuse, negligence, or carelessness. Damage must be
reported to the instructor immediately. The instrument
may be used only by the person to whom it is assigned.
Instruments shall be returned to the school division
in the same condition in which it was received. A class
set of cellos and basses will be kept at CHS, for use
by all classes throughout the day. Home cellos and basses
rented from CHS need to be brought in for concert performances
Instrument Locker Room
The violin/viola locker room is used for storage of
instruments and for individual and small group rehearsal.
Students should bring in a combination or key lock to
secure their home instruments, and get in the habit
early of locking up your instrument after every rehearsal.
Absolutely NO FOOD, DRINK or GUM is to be brought
into the orchestra room or locker room. Please
keep our rehearsal space clean.
Travel and Fundraising
One of the highlights of the school year is our spring
trip. In the past 25 years, the CHS Orchestra has won
top honors in New York City, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago,
Myrtle Beach, Virginia Beach, London, and Vienna, Austria.
Travel with the orchestra is exciting and worthwhile—but
it costs money! Thankfully, the Orchestra
Parent Boosters provide excellent opportunities
for students to earn their trip. Our major fundraisers
happen in the fall—selling concessions at UVA
football games, washing cars and selling poinsettias.
Please take advantage of these opportunities when they
occur, and don't wait until January then ask when our
next fundraiser will happen!