Orchestra Grade Policy
These are components to determining student grades in
orchestra: Rehearsal Etiquette, Lessons, Written Work, Playing Tests, Performances, PIE Charts (grades 5-7 only) and Projects (grades 8-12 only). The weight of each component may vary depending on the activities involved in the grading period.
Proper etiquette is expected of all orchestra students. Students will earn points based on how well they follow our established Rehearsal
Individual instruction is crucial to students success in orchestra.
Orchestra students are required to attend small group (1-8 students)
lessons at school. Lessons are approximately 20 minutes. Symphony students (grades 10-12) students must sign-up and attend two lessons/quarter. Sinfonia students (grade 8-9) will generally have weekly large group lessons. Philharmonia students (grade 6-7) will be scheduled for 3-4 lessons/quarter.
Students will always have some sort of playing test as a part of each
lesson. The online grade book will be updated after each cycle of
lessons. Any lesson missed must be made-up. If the instructor misses a
lesson, it will be rescheduled by the instructor.
Students will typically be given at least one written tests, quiz or assignment each quarter (more in grades 10-12). All work is graded by total points. Students will earn 0 points if they do not complete an assignment by the end of the grading period.
There are two types of assessments will be used in orchestra: auditions (grades 8-12 only) and playing
tests. Auditions are more formal. They are graded with a rubric and based on a total number of points. Students will be typically be notified what's going to heard on an audition at least a few weeks in advance. Playing test are more informal. Playing tests usually have no more than a week's notice and typically happen as a part of a lesson. Auditions are typically worth at least 100 points. Playing tests are typically worth 5-10 points. Students will only earn a 0 if they do not attempt a playing before the end of the grading period.
There are three types of orchestra performance: concerts, orchestra contests or festivals and solo/ensemble contest. Students are expected to attend and participate in all performances as per the Concert and Event Attendance Policy.
There is an expectation that students will practice outside of class
time. The minimum expectation is 30 minutes/week or 4-5 hours/quarter. Philharmonia (grades 6-7) and Fifth Grade Orchestra students will document their weekly practice on the PIE (Practice Instrument Everyday) Charts. Students who are a member
of one of the jazz orchestras (they must attend a majority of the weekly
rehearsals) will be exempt from this requirement (they are still expected to practice).
Symphony and Sinfonia students must complete (at least) two projects to
be eligible for a B or four projects to be eligible for an A. For
additional projects, students will receive extra credit.
1. Extra private lesson inside or outside of school.
2. Document on a PIE chart, two hours of individual practice in one week (must submit documentation the following week).
3. Rehearsal/performance in an orchestra outside of school .
4. Rehearsal/performance of Jazz Strings or Jazz Junior.
5. Rehearsal/performance in a small group.
6. Audition for an honors program.
7. Attend an honors program, clinic or camp.
8. Perform in a solo role at a concert.
9. Perform as a principal at a concert.
10. Join and attend Music Listening Contest (grades 9-12).
11. Perform in an additional ensemble (or solo) for contest.
12. Perform on your instrument outside of school.
13. Assist with a younger orchestra class.
14. Teach a lesson to another student.
15. Act as a leader for a sectional or orchestra rehearsal.
16. Be a librarian for your orchestra (help sort music after a concert).
17. Be a stage hand for your orchestra (before or after concert).
18. Write or arrange a composition for your instrument.
19. Write a short original report (on a topic approved by the instructor).
20. Attend a concert and bring in a program (must be a concert you are not performing in).
21. Read a music related book (fiction or non-fiction) and write a
short report or give a short oral report. The book should be
pre-approved by the instructor.
Pine Island Schools Music Department
Performance Attendance Policy
Students and parents will receive a list of scheduled performance dates at the beginning of the school year. Attendance at all events is mandatory. Failure to attend a performance will prevent a student from earning points for the event. Students (or their parents) must notify their director in advance of any performance conflicts. The director will determine if the absence is excused. Work will be an unexcused absence. In case of emergency, notify the director prior to the performance. The most current list of orchestra events can be found here, Orchestra Event Schedule
Solo and Ensemble Contest
All students will be required to participate in Solo and Ensemble
Contest. Symphony students will be assigned to an ensemble for the MSHSL
Small Group Contest. Freshman will perform a solo for that contest. 7th
and 8th grade students will perform a solo for the Pine Island Middle
School Orchestra Contest. Students are encouraged, but not required, to
prepare and perform in a solo or additional ensemble for contest. The
selection(s) performed must be approved by the director.
This fall, Symphony students will audition outside of class for the instructor
during the first two full weeks of October. The audition will
consist of selected scales and arpeggios, a prepared piece and
sight-reading. After the first audition, students will record an
audition once per quarter during class. These auditions will be
supervised by members of the orchestra committee and will be judged by
the instructor. Music for these auditions will include a selected scale
and arpeggio and excerpts from the current repertoire of the orchestra.
Students will be given the audition assignment at least three weeks
prior to the concert and the auditions will be completed at least a week
before the concert. Auditions are typically worth at least 100 points. Students who fail to follow these
procedures and time lines may not be eligible to earn full points for their audition.
Sinfonia students will audition during the first three weeks of the
second quarter. The audition will consist of selected scales and
arpeggios, a prepared piece and sight-reading. After seating is
established, students may challenge the person ahead of them once per
quarter. Music will be assigned for the challenge by the instructor and
the challenge will take place on a mutually agreeable day (outside of
class time) at least one week after the assignment and at least one week
prior to any performance. The challenge maybe recorded or in person
with the instructor in either instance acting as judge.
We are excited for our first year in the new school auditorium. Students and their parents are encouraged to attend orchestra concerts.
During concerts audience members should be respectful and display proper
concert behavior. As a general rule, applause comes at the end of full
works (not between movements). Recording or taking pictures is usually
not allowed at professional concerts. Silence during performances is
expected. The audience should remain seated, entering and exiting the
hall only between works or intermissions.
Performance (Concert) Attire
Students in the Sinfonia and Symphony orchestras should where the
same clothing for concerts and other public performances: black shirt or
sweater, black dress slacks or skirt, black socks or nylons and black
dress shoes. Students in grades 5-7 will wear dressy, concert
appropriate clothing. Short skirts or other revealing clothing is not
permitted. Performance attire needs to conform to the schools' dress
All students will be issued a folder and orchestra music at the
beginning of the year. Throughout the year more music will be issued. In grades 5-7, music will not be collected after performance. In grade 8-12 most music (and folders) will be collected after performances. Each student will receive a
part, even though they may share a stand. It is the students
responsibility to keep all folders and parts in reasonably good
condition. Fines maybe charged for lost or damaged folders and music.
Students will be required to purchase the instruction book. The Symphony
will use Advanced Techniques for Strings. The cost of this book is
$5.50. The Sinfonia will use Learn to Play! Book 3. The cost of this
book is $12. Freshman will be required to purchase solo music for
contest. The Philharmonia will use Learn to Play! Book 2. The cost of
this book is $12. The Fifth Grade Orchestra will use Learn to Play! Book
1. The cost of this book is $10. All books are available for purchase
Other materials will also be provided by the instructor. Orchestral,
small ensemble and solo works are available at school. They will be
provided as needed by the instructor. Students are also encouraged to
purchase etude and solo materials for themselves through a music
The school provides violoncellos and double basses, but not violins
and violas. All users of school instrument are charged a user fee of
$100. The fee must be paid before the end of September. For this fee,
each student will be entitled to have an instrument at home and another
one at school (as availability permits). The instrument used at school
will probably be shared with others. If two siblings play the same
instrument, the older student’s fee will be lowered to $50. All students
will be given a designated storage spot in the music area. If a
student’s violin or viola are unavailable there are a limited number of
school instruments for student use on a short term basis. Use of other
student’s instruments without permission is not acceptable. For security
reasons, the music area will be locked at approximately 4:30 PM
each weekday and remain locked through the weekend. Students needing
instruments after school hours need to make arrangements to store their
instrument somewhere else. All privately owned instruments should have a
name tag on the outside and inside of the case. It is expected that
privately owned instruments will go home over the weekend.
Besides an instrument and bow, students should have with them at all
times a cleaning cloth, pencil, rosin, shoulder rest (violin and viola),
rock stop (violoncello and double bass) and music folder. Students
should also own a metronome, tuner and a wire folding music stand. It is
recommended that students owning their instrument have an extra set of
strings in their case.
Orchestra Drop Policy
Students considering dropping orchestra should stay in
orchestra. That being said, if a parent feels their child would benefit
from dropping orchestra they should contact the director for a
consultation and evaluation of the situation. According to school
policy, students are not allowed to drop orchestra, band or choir except
at breaks between semesters. This provides the contiunuity needed to
maintain our ensembles and insure that an informed decision is made
about the student dropping orchestra. Students do benefit from remaining
in orchestra. This fact is born out by both experience and scientific
research. If a student wishes to return to orchestra, the parents should
again consult with the director.