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Course Outline

Our Goals:

  • To improve your playing
  • To expand your note reading and music theory skills
  • To evaluate music and musical performances
  • To understand music in relation to history and culture
  • To become respectful members of the Orchestra
  • To learn to work together as an ensemble and community

Materials Needed for Orchestra

You are required to have following items for Orchestra this year:

  • Hard-cover binder – 1½ inch so that it fits in your binder slot
  • Pencil
  • An instrument in excellent working order

Most of you have your own instrument.  I know that carrying it back and forth all of the time may be inconvenient, especially since you will have my class every day.  Because of this, Onteora offers violins, violas, and cellos for use on a first come, first serve basis, and as need.  If you have your own instrument, and I have enough extras here, you can keep your own instrument at home, and leave the rental here.  Students will receive a School Instrument Contract that must be filled out and brought back to me before an instrument will be given. 

Proper Care

  • NEVER do home repairs: one false move can destroy the value of your instrument. We strongly recommend that all repairs be done by a professional.
  • Keep the instrument away from radiators. It's best to keep it in a humidified environment in the winter, as dryness can cause cracks. As an alternative to expensive room humidifiers, try using a "Dampit." These small accessories are extremely affordable and fit right in your case.
  • NEVER leave the instrument in the trunk of your car. Summer heat can actually cause varnish to bubble or melt off. Glue also dissolves in heat, leaving the instrument vulnerable to open seams. It goes without saying that you should never expose an instrument to direct sunlight. Also, extreme cold in the winter can cause seams to split.
  • Never leave the instrument unattended in your car. You do not want it stolen.
  • Do not put scotch tape, masking tape, or lick-on stickers on your instrument, bow, or case.  If you must, use adhesive tape or peel-off stickers ONLY, and only on the fingerboard.
  • Always loosen the bow after playing.
  • Use a natural fiber or other lint-free cloth to wipe rosin off the instrument whenever you've ceased playing for the day. Too much leftover rosin is bad for the sound, as well as for the varnish.
  • Periodically check your bridge for straightness. A warped bridge will eventually fall over and/or crack.
  • Occasionally, check any fine tuners to make sure they are not wound too tight. If they are, loosen them and retune with the pegs. It is possible for tuners to get stuck; in some cases the tension can cause a string to break.
  • When you need to change an entire set of strings, do not remove all of the old ones at once. You will lose the proper placement of the bridge, and the lack of tension may cause the soundpost to fall down. I can help you to change all of your strings when it is necessary.
  • Be careful not to tap the tip of your bow against anything solid (even gently). This very delicate part of the bow breaks easily and is very difficult to repair.
  • If you use a shoulder rest, be sure to remove it before closing the case over your instrument. Forcing the case closed could crack the top of your violin or viola.
  • Always check to see that the case is fully latched and zippered before you pick it up.
  • Cellos should be carried in an upright position against the body - not down like a suitcase.
  • In crowd situations, put your instrument in an out-of-the-way place so that no one will sit on it, step on it, or trip over it. Cellos in soft cases are particularly vulnerable.
  • Make sure that your case is always labeled with your name and the instrument number.  If you label falls off, see me for a new one.