JOIN THE ORCHESTRA!!
Playing an instrument is a great opportunity for every student, and there are numerous benefits of learning an instrument. Some of those benefits are improved hand-eye coordination, math skills, rhythm, artistic appreciation, and much more!
Besides all that – it’s fun! It's a great way to meet new friends in middle school. And learning to perform with an orchestra provides a huge increase to students' self-esteem.
What is orchestra??
An orchestra is a group of musicians playing string instruments together. The instruments in an orchestra are the violin, the viola, the cello, and the bass.
(If you are wondering about other wind or brass instruments, those instruments are part of the school band. Lessons for band instruments also begin in 6th grade in Newark City Schools.)
Newark City Schools offers a wonderful educational opportunity -- free music lessons! By joining the orchestra, you have a class during the school day in which you get to learn how to play the string instrument of your choice! There is no fee to participate in this class, however there are some items you will need to provide for yourself to be able to participate.
Learning an orchestra instrument is really an incredible opportunity. Music teaches math, language, physical coordination, history, and artistic appreciation. Playing a string instrument is something you can do FOREVER. When you’re 80 and your knees have given out, you will still be able to enjoy making music. You will truly be amazed at how much you learn in orchestra.
When does this class meet?
Students will come to their orchestra class during the school day. Orchestra is its own class period during the school day, and if you sign up for it, it will be in your schedule!
Attendance & Commitment
If you sign up for orchestra, it is expected you will stick with it for the entire school year. Learning an instrument takes hard work and practice. If you don’t give yourself time and a “fair shot,” you won’t make much progress. But, if you stick with it, you will find that you make unbelievable strides and by May, you will be playing things you never thought possible!
Students are required to attend all orchestra classes. Attendance and bringing required materials to class (instrument and book) are what your grade will largely be based upon. Show up prepared and ready to learn, and you’ll be in great shape!!
Further details about what orchestra grades are based on and the orchestra expectations will be sent home in the “Orchestra Handbook” at the beginning of the school year.
There are also 3-4 concerts per year that have required attendance.
Should we rent or buy an instrument?
We STRONGLY recommend that you rent an instrument! Renting is an inexpensive way to gauge your child’s long-term interest before investing in buying an instrument. Also, renting enables you to provide the right size instrument for your child as they grow. Just like the clothes we wear, we need a gradually bigger instrument every time we grow. Exchanging sizes is easy and no extra cost if you are renting the instrument! This is also true of general repairs to the instrument.
We do not recommend buying an instrument. So-called bargain instruments found online or at retail/big-box stores are always of very low quality. Instruments in poor condition can cause unnecessary frustration for your child and interfere with their success in playing on the instrument. Furthermore, if you buy an instrument you will be responsible for all repairs and costs when (not if, but when) the instrument breaks. These cheap bargain instruments often end up costing hundreds of dollars in repairs, and some music shops won’t even bother to fix them because they are un-fixable. It is always better to begin by renting from a reputable music instrument dealer.
Where can I rent an instrument?
● The Loft Violin Shop 4604 N. High St, Columbus, OH 614-267-7221
Rentals are between $20-$40 per month depending on the instrument. The Loft does have a rent-to-own programs or “step up” program where 100% of your rental fee is put toward the eventual cost of purchasing an instrument!
*Don’t let price be a deterrent from allowing your child join orchestra. We have a limited number of school-owned instruments available for the year. You must be on free/reduced fees program and get the form in before the supply runs out. Renting a school-owned instrument is $50 for the year and payments are made through your orchestra teacher.
What supplies does my child need?
These items are required and will be included with any rental instrument (at no extra cost) :
- ● Shoulder rest or sponge (for violin and viola only)
- ● Rockstop (rubber stopper circle that goes on the floor - for cello and bass only)
- ● Bow
- ● Rosin
These items are needed, but will not come with the instrument:
- ● A music stand for at-home practice
- ● Essential Elements for Strings Book 1 text book
Note: We ask that your child does not get the instrument out and “play around” with it before their first lesson. These instruments are fragile and we hate to see disappointed kids who have broken instruments before the first lesson. Your teacher will show you how to properly care for and hold your instrument at your very first lesson.
Check out these musicians to get a better sense of which instrument you’d like to play:
For a great introduction of each instrument check out: BBC National Orchestra of Wales - Strings
Violin: Lindsey Stirling or Joshua Bell
Viola: Jeremy Green or ThatViolaKid
Cello: 2Cellos or Yo Yo Ma
Bass: Esperanza Spalding or Edgar Meyer