Fifth Grade Beginning Orchestra
Welcome to the Grand Haven Orchestra Program!
Your decision to consider enrolling your child in the Grand Haven Elementary School Strings program and embarking on this exciting journey is one that could change your child’s life. The benefits of musical training are endless. Studies show that music can have a significant influence on a child’s future, if seriously supported by parents at a child’s young age.
"Orchestra is more than just music"
Some of the newest and most exciting emerging research shows that there is a link between years of musical study and academic achievement (1). Recent statistics prove that young people who participate in music are among the academically strongest in their schools. They also have higher SAT score averages than their fellow classmates (2). Their adult lives are filled with the success that is a direct result of their orchestra experience: self-discipline, group cooperation, high self-esteem, understanding teamwork, developing a sense of persistence and performance confidence.
In the Grand Haven School District the importance of music and the arts are valued, and orchestra is available for students from 5th grade through the 12th grade level. All students in the 5th grade have a wonderful opportunity to participate in the string program. Focus in 5th grade orchestra is on the introduction of the chosen instrument and the development of basic music skills. Additional attention is on rhythm, note reading, playing in tune and attitude.
Instruments and Equipment
Each student needs an instrument and a soft cloth to wipe off rosin dust; shoulder rests (for violas and violins); end-pin stoppers (cellos); books and stand. If you are renting an instrument, many of these items may be included with the rental price depending on the vendor. Instruments may be rented at minimal cost, when compared to the purchase of an instrument.
Children at this age grow rapidly, requiring upsizing of the instrument so purchasing an instrument is not practical. It’s also recommended that you avoid purchasing instruments on eBay and Craig’s List, since most instruments sold on the internet tend to be inadequate and of poor quality, leaving your child frustrated and miserable with an instrument that is constantly out of tune and in need of costly repair.
We suggest you check with the vendors linked on our home page (Shar, Meyer, Baroque Violin Shop). Many of these vendors offer free repairs, free upsizing, and free music stands with the rental of the instrument.
CAUTION: Your child or anyone else should not attempt to tune their instrument. It is tricky to tune and very, very easy to break a string. If anything happens to the instrument, bring it to Mrs. Meyers, Mrs. White or Mrs. Walters first.
Grades are given to students in music. They will be graded on things like rhythm, note reading, playing in tune and attitude. While we work our way through the book, there will be songs that will be benchmark tunes, so we can see and hear how they are progressing and understanding the instrument.
Each student learns at a different pace. The suggested length of time for practicing at this level is 15 minutes per day. Some students may need more time. The goal is to perform the assignments with correct pitch, rhythm and style. We found that most beginners need assistance in making practicing a regular part of their routine. Please help your students develop good practice habits.
If your child cannot attend morning orchestra, please phone: White Pines Students: 616-850-6452
Regular attendance is important to ensure your child’s progress, but it is also important that your child stay home if he or she is ill. Parents are always welcome to attend our rehearsals. Stop in and see what your child is learning!
The beginning orchestra will typically have two performances per year. The first performance is usually an informal concert held in December during morning orchestra. The second performance is typically a formal concert in April at the High School Auditorium. Check our calendar for specific dates and more information.
Thank you for supporting your child’s interest in orchestra!
1) “Profiles of SAT and Achievement Tests Takers,” The College Board, 1997.
2) “The Mozart Effect,” Don Campbell, 1997.