Second through fourth-year members are part of our advanced orchestra program. We focus on refining our scales, techniques, and various methods for learning the fundamentals of our instruments. We also work on full ensemble pieces that we perform during our winter and spring concerts.
The word practicing gives students the same negative sensation that the word "homework" gives. Even though both are just methods of improving and refining skills, it is often felt as boring and cumbersome. Students are encouraged to play. Play, explore, and experiment with their instrument to their heart's content. When playing, students can choose to play pieces of music that we are working on in lessons or any music that they can find. Students are encouraged to create a bond with their instrument and to use it as an extension of their voice and emotions.
Suggested play sessions include: plucking and bowing open strings, scales, reviewing note names, string crossing, slurring bows, staccato bowing, long and short bows, playing at the tip and at the frog, and working on music that students are interested in.
It is easier and faster to learn an instrument when you are enjoying what you are playing.
Students in the advanced orchestra are encouraged and required to play a minimum of four times a week. Continual playing of the instrument helps reinforce the good habits that we learn and rehearse during lessons.
There are three items that need to be brought to each and every single lesson:
Instrument: This includes the instrument itself, bow, rosin, cleaning cloth, rubber band (violin/viola), chin rest or sponge (violin/viola), and rock stop (cello/bass).
Music: "practice" exercises and any music received by Mr. P.
Pencil: Pencils (NOT PENS) are used to mark and highlight key parts of music and should always be brought to lessons and rehearsals in case music needs to be changed.
Students that forget their instruments are still expected to come to their assigned lesson time. Learning from listening can prove to be just as beneficial as playing an instrument.
Through orchestra rehearsals, we shift our focus from the technical part of playing our instrument to learning about the music we are playing and using teamwork to pull the right emotion out of the music. With one advanced orchestra rehearsal each week, we spend less time on one topic and more on various aspects of the music.