Course Description for String Orchestra (Music 2020) H Period (Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays)
Mr. Robert L. Johnston, and Mr. Joseph Higgins, Directors
Academic Year 2020-2021
String Orchestra is a performance course open to students who have limited or minimal experience performing on an orchestral string instrument. Many freshmen also begin in this ensemble. Classroom instruction will include rehearsal of concert literature, sight-reading, rehearsal and performance technique and discipline, as well as listening to and viewing of concert repertoire and relative works. The String Orchestra performs at the school’s annual Christmas and Spring Concerts, as well as our Concert for Beginning Students. It should be noted that the String Program has become an integral part not only of the Music Department but also, of the entire school and its community. The string orchestra rehearses Tuesday, Wednesday Thursday, & Friday mornings during “Z” period. Exemplary attendance and punctuality are mandatory. Grades will be determined primarily on participation as well as any exams and written assignments. There may also be a final exam and/or term paper. Students are highly encouraged to enroll in the music lesson program.
Attendance and lateness:
Attendance and punctuality are required at all rehearsals during “Z” period as well as at after-school rehearsals in the week(s) prior to all concerts. That said, given the current world circumstances, we will refrain from posting our performance calendar at this point.
If a student misses a performance, he or she will be subject to the departmental policy on concert attendance.
Students are required to arrive promptly and be in their seats, ready to play by the beginning of each service.
Students will be provided with individual practice parts for all music that will be performed. Please note, that given current circumstances, there can be no sharing of Music. The minimum expectation is to be prepared, through daily at home practice, for a polished public performance. Although no student is expected to exceed his or her abilities, there is the understanding that, through thorough, diligent and daily at home practice, their level of ability, confidence and pride in their work will match, if not exceed their individual potential as well as the potential of the ensemble as a whole.
Students will be expected, through their work, to show different levels of musical and professional respect. This includes but is not limited to, respecting the work accomplished by the composers of the pieces we play, respecting the conductor and any guest artists, respecting the hard work and efforts of their peers and colleagues and most importantly, having the self- respect and pride in their own accomplishments and the work put forth. Students will be expected to adhere to the St. Francis Preparatory School Honor Code. In other words, student must display proper respect at all times to their teachers, their classmates, and most importantly, display self-respect in their attitude and their work.
What you need:
Each student must bring a pencil to thoroughly mark parts during rehearsals. All marked parts must subsequently be used for each rehearsal. Students are required to put your music in a ringed binder that will lay flat on your music stand to avoid damage to or loss of your music.
Violin and viola students generally bring their own instruments and bows. Given current circumstances, there can be no sharing of instruments, supplies, or Music stands. If instruments are needed, please make arrangements with Mr. Higgins.
Only one instrument will be supplied, if necessary. ‘Cello and bass students will be supplied with instruments for at home practice, only if available. If the school cannot provide instruments, students are encouraged to rent instruments for at home use.
Other necessities, such as rosin, rock-stops and string are available through the music office for a minimal charge. Again, there can be no sharing of instruments, supplies, or Music stands.
To increase the level of technical skill through ensemble rehearsal and at home practice. To increase musicianship (i.e. – ensemble playing, listening skills and stylistic understanding.) To heighten the level of responsibility and respect (including self-respect, sense of accomplishment and pride) through team-oriented ensemble playing. To develop a strong work ethic. To give
polished public performances. To thoroughly enjoy making music with the ensemble.
Attendance and lateness.
Repeated absence and lateness will not be tolerated and will result in the following consequences:
Please refer to the school calendar for school policy on attendance.
Two (2) points off the quarterly participation grade for each lateness after the first one.
Automatic twenty (20) points off the quarterly participation grade for cutting.
Students will be advised verbally if a pattern occurs that will lead to a lower and/or failing grade.
Students, as discussed above, will be expected to individually practice on a daily basis, just as they would do their written homework for another class. If there is no obvious progress in the student’s work, this will result in a lower, if not a failing grade. As discussed above, students will not be judged on their ability or experience, but first and foremost, on the work ethic they put forth. This will be determined by the instructor through the course of rehearsal. As above, students will be advised verbally if a pattern occurs that will lead to a lower and/or failing grade and will be given the opportunity to make necessary adjustments.
Students that show a basic lack of respect as discussed above will receive a lower, if not a failing grade. As above, students will be advised verbally if a negative pattern occurs and will be given the opportunity to make necessary adjustments.
Students will be expected to adhere to the St. Francis Preparatory School Honor Code. Student must display proper respect at all times to their teachers, their classmates, and most importantly, display self-respect in their attitude and their work.
Students might be asked to perform individual quarterly playing exams.
Participation grades will be given each quarter. The participation grade will be based on respect, and attendance and punctuality as discussed above.
Quarterly grades will be weighted as follows:
A uniform performance grade based on the musical growth and discipline of the orchestra, 50%
Deductions will be made for attendance and lateness, as outlined above. The final grade will be an average of the quarterly grades (25% each).
If a student has been advised verbally of any problems and there is no improvement, or there is a danger of failing, academic deficiency reports will be sent home to the parent(s)/guardian(s).
Students are encouraged to see Mr. Johnston or Mr. Higgins if they feel they are having any difficulty in regard to the class. If students are in jeopardy of failing the class, they will be notified by Mr. Johnston as well as having an academic deficiency report sent home.
Parent(s)/Guardian(s) who are concerned about their child’s performance are encouraged to speak to Mr. Johnston at Parent/Teacher interviews or by phone at (718) 423-8810 x255.