B asd elementary Orchestra

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ASD Elementary Orchestra

Diane L. Silvis, Director

School Phone: 814/357-2425 Ext.2336

Home Phone: 814/359-2470 Cell Phone: 814/404-3082

E-Mail: dsilvis@basd.net
Dear Pleasant Gap Parents/Guardians
It is hard to believe that the school year is almost half over. Time is just flying by! During the second half of the year, we will continue to learn new concepts from our lesson books and rehearse songs for our Spring Concert. Students will also have the opportunity to choose songs to play at the Student Recital if they wish to do so. Information and dates for these concerts are listed at the end of this letter. To avoid any confusion, please understand that each Elementary will have their own recital at their own school and there are two separate Spring concerts: one for Bellefonte and Benner and one for Pleasant Gap and Marion-Walker.
The beginning students are now at the point where they have to read the notes on the staff without the note names written in and this can be very frustrating for some students. I have given them flash cards to help them learn to recognize the notes. There is also an online program that they can use to practice their notes. We have used this program in their lessons and there are instructions on how to access the program at home in the Orchestra Hand Book the students received at the beginning of the year. Any time they spend practicing their notes and doing worksheets can be written on their practice sheets since these enhance their learning and understanding of musical concepts. They can really use your help and encouragement to get them through this bump in the road to success.
Most students seem to progress faster if they have some kind of incentive. With Orchestra Karate they can earn belts as they pass various playing and written assignments. Each belt has worksheets they need to complete before receiving their belt. Unfortunately, some students forget to do the worksheets so they are unable to earn the belt until they complete them. If you can encourage your child to complete worksheets and lesson assignments I would really appreciate it. The time they spend completing their worksheets can be counted as practice time.
Students also received information in the Student Handbook about “Go For The Gold.” At the end of the year, students can earn a certificate for completing the year, a certificate and a pin that shows good progress throughout the year or they can “Go For The Gold” to earn a certificate and a Gold Medal showing great progress. The information outlines what they need to do to earn a Gold Medal. One of the areas is responsibility and this not only means remembering to bring their instrument and music to lessons and rehearsals but also completing their practice sheet and having you initial it each week. This does not mean that they have to have at least 80 minutes every week to get a Gold Medal (though that would be great…) It means they are responsible enough to mark down their time and have you sign it. Please have your child show you the hand out for Go For The Gold so that you both understand what they need to do if they want to earn a Gold Medal. It is not too late to work towards the gold – even if their practice sheet for the first half of the year was kind of spotty.
All orchestra students will receive a grade for Orchestra on their 2nd and 4th quarter report card so I wanted to explain how I grade. Just like Music, Art, PE etc, I grade using numbers – 4,3,2,1 with 4 being the highest grade. I am not sure how other teachers view these grades, but for me, if a student is progressing normally – they will receive a 3. So, a 3 is a good grade from me and this is what most of my students will receive. A 2 means the student needs some work in that area and a 4 is reserved for those students who go above and beyond normal progress. Students will be graded in the following areas:
1. Demonstrates correct fingerings, hand positions and posture

2. Counts rhythm values by clapping, tapping and/or playing

3. Plays scales or rudiments appropriate to grade level

4. Demonstrates adequate home practice time *****

5. Brings instrument and equipment to class

6. Reads and notates music by naming notes accurately

7. Uses appropriate music vocabulary
*****In order to grade practice time, I need to rely on the practice sheets that students fill out and have parents initial at the end of each week. Unfortunately, I have a lot of students who say they practice but do not bother to fill out the practice sheet. I encourage students to use their practice sheet as a book mark in their lesson book so that they remember to record their practice time and have you sign it at the end of the week. Practicing is important to improving your performance in anything that you do but it is not always easy to remember to practice when you have the time to do it. It would be great if your child’s instrument was able to jump out of the case and remind them to practice. They really need your help to find the best time and place to practice. I always tell the kids that the hardest part of practicing is getting out their instrument and getting ready to practice. Once they get started, it is easy to get in their practice time. I have students who come up and say that they want to quit because they do not have enough time to practice. I only ask that students try to practice 80 minutes a week – that is only 15-20 minutes a day for 4 or 5 days. With good planning – that is not hard to do.

Thank you for all your support of our instrumental program and I look forward to seeing you at our future performances. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns or if your child’s instrument goes out of tune. I really don’t mind you contacting me anytime and calling my cell phone is the fastest way to reach me.
Have a wonderful New Year!

Diane L. Silvis, Orchestra Director


Thursday, March 30th : Pleasant Gap Elementary Student Recital 7:00 P.M. at Pleasant Gap Elementary (Optional) This is an informal concert where Pleasant Gap Orchestra and Band students can choose to play solos, duets, trios etc. to a small audience of family and friends. I will have a lot of songs available for the students to choose from or they can choose something out of their lesson books. Some students want to play a solo but are also asked to play a duet or trio with other students and that is fine for them to do both. I also invite older siblings or parents to play with the student if they wish.

Monday, May 22nd: After school rehearsal at Bellefonte High School for Pleasant Gap and Marion-Walker Elementary Orchestra and Band Students. Students will ride their bus after school to the High School where we will rehearse for the Spring Concert. Parents will pick up their child at 5:30 at the end of the rehearsal.
Tuesday, May 23rd: Pleasant Gap/Marion-Walker Elementary Orchestra and Band Spring Concert 7:00 P.M. at Bellefonte High School. (Required) The Orchestra and Band will perform their Spring Music selections. This concert is the culmination of everything the students have accomplished throughout the year and all students are expected to attend. ****If your child will be involved in Little League or some other Spring sport or activity, please provide this date to their coach ASAP so that we can avoid any conflicts.

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