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Orchestra FAQ

When do classes meet?

  • Classes meet during the school day.

    • Check the Schedules page for more information.

How do we get started?

  • Students choose from Violin, Viola, Cello, and Bass.  Other instruments like harp or piano are occasionally allowed on a case-by-case basis.

  • Come to one of my Instrument Selection Nights to try out instruments and sign up for class. Go to “Upcoming Events” for more information.

    • 5th graders: even if you have an instrument, it’s a good idea to come and be resized – you may have grown since last year.  If this is your first year in class with me, you should also come to pick up any supplies you’re missing.  If you already play a full-size instrument and have all the supplies, then there’s no need to come

  • Computers will be available at Instrument Selection Night for…

    • enrollment in class & sign up for Orchestra Dojo (ClassDojo, but a different student account than what you might use in your homeroom)

    • students to design their Orchestra Dojo avatars

I can't make it to instrument selection night at my school!

  • No worries; you can still sign up for class.  You can either come to one of the other instrument selection events, or you can go to another store like Graner Music (4460 Barnes Rd) at your leisure.  Wherever you rent from, please make sure to have an instrument for class by the first week of September.  Make sure to fill out the enrollment form at the link on my homepage.

What if I cannot afford to rent an instrument?

  • The school owns a limited number of instruments, which are available for a one-time fee of $20.  You can request the use of a school instrument on the enrollment form, and mark whether your need is "critical" or "if available".  In the past, I've been able to provide school instruments for all students who mark "critical", and some others who request one “if available” as well, but most of our instruments are borrowed from other schools in District 11.  This takes some time, sometimes months, as we have to wait for other schools to finish their own enrollments to find out if there are any extra instruments available.  So, even if you need a school instrument, please rent one for the first month or two until I can find one for you.  Disclaimer: it hasn't happened yet, but it's possible that the entire district could run out of a certain instrument if a lot of kids sign up for it.  Please, please, please rent if you can.

Our family already owns an instrument.  Can my child use it?

  • Possibly - we'll have to make sure it’s in working condition & the correct size.  String instruments come in different sizes to fit different people; bigger instruments have a bigger tone, but an instrument that's too large will be physically painful to play.  It's not uncommon even for adults to use fractional instruments.  Bring your instrument to Instrument Night so I can check it out.

The String Basses are massive!

  • Yup, generally, though our smallest basses are the same size as a full-size cello.  Because of their size, I strive to assign most students 2 basses - one to keep at home, and one to keep at school.  If you rent a bass for at home, I'll guarantee you one to use at school.  If you can't rent one at home, we'll have to see how many people sign up for bass before I know if I'll have one for you to keep at home.  If you get assigned a 1/10 size bass, you’ll only need one instrument; being the same size as an adult cello, they’re easier to transport.

What next?

  • Classes will begin right away the week of August 26th.

  • Once classes have begun, I'll post the weekly practice assignments on my teacher website, and I'll also be gradually uploading tips and guides for parents and students.  I do my best to communicate regularly with both students and parents, but email me at whenever you need help guiding or understanding your young musician.


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