Middle School Orchestra Program
"Music helps children pass from school into the world around them"
- President Gerald Ford
Orchestra literature is one of Western culture's great treasures. It provides a broader historical perspective than one finds in other instrumental literature. Playing a string instrument integrates a person's physical, intellectual and expressive qualities. This provides a very positive experience at an influential period in the lives of students.
ORCHESTRA IS MORE THAN MUSIC: As a student progresses in their understanding and command of the instrument, they begin to see how this same desire for excellence applies to every subject in school and serves as a training ground for dealing with many aspects of adult life. Recent research has found that music uses both sides of the brain, a fact that makes it valuable in all areas of development. Music affects the development of a child’s brain academically, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.
MUSIC IS ACADEMIC: A recent study from the University of California found that music trains the brain for higher forms of thinking. Second graders who were given music lessons scored 27% higher on proportional math and fractions tests than children who received no special instruction. Research indicates that musical training permanently wires a young mind for enhanced performance.
MUSIC IS PHYSICAL: Learning to play music and keep rhythm develops coordination. Bowing a string instrument promotes upper body strength, and a healthy body.
MUSIC IS EMOTIONAL: We are emotional beings and every child requires an emotional and artistic outlet. Music may be your child’s vehicle of self expression.
MUSIC FOR LIFE: Most people can’t play soccer or football at age 70 or 80, but they can play a string instrument late into life. Music is a gift you can give your child that will last his or her entire life.
Our mission is to provide high level music education to every young musician who seeks it. Music not only transforms lives, it can also transform communities. Orchestral music by its very nature is communal and intended to be shared. We feel strongly that our young musicians have much to learn by performing not only in school, but by performing for the wider community, which imparts important community values to our young players. In the Grand Haven Intermediate and Middle Schools, Orchestra is offered in 5th and 6th grades at White Pines Intermediate and in 7th and 8th grades at Lakeshore Middle School.
Sixth Grade Orchestra
The Sixth Grade Orchestra provides students with the opportunities to improve musical skills, increase knowledge of literature and participate in musical performances for the school and community. We will also cover music theory, music history and composition. Students are expected to practice at home and participate in all evening concerts. The group will focus on individual performance as well, through the rewards of orchestra belts. There is a black belt Solo Festival celebration that will take place in March.
Seventh Grade Orchestra
The primary focus is on the development and expansion of basic skills learned in 6th Grade Orchestra. In addition to large group ensembles performances, individual growth and achievement are encouraged through participation in adjudicated solo and ensemble festival along with large group performance at District Festival and potential State Festival. Various music styles will be introduced and developed such as fiddle, jazz and mariachi playing, along with classical repertoire. VIDEO
Eigth Grade Orchestra
Eighth Grade Orchestra meets daily for the entire academic year. It is a continuation of Seventh Grade Orchestra and consists of students who have completed the Seventh Grade Orchestra class or by permission of the instructor.
The Eighth Grade Orchestra studies more advanced key signatures and rhythm, bowings, higher positions, tuning and vibrato. A wide variety of orchestral repertoire is played using these skills. Requirements include home practice and attendance at evening performance events throughout the year. Students will have an opportunity to participate in the District and potentially at State Festivals. They will have a chance to perform at a Grand Haven Elementary School as well. VIDEO
Middle School Fiddle Club
Fiddle Club is open to 7th and 8th graders from Lakeshore Middle School. This group enjoys playing music together that is anything BUT classical. Fiddling tunes, movie tunes, jazzy and celtic tunes are all taught.
Guitar, percussion, banjo, and harmonica players are all welcome!!!
The club meets once a week after school. The Fiddlers perform at the Collage Concert at the end of the year. VIDEO
Because orchestra focuses more on the group instead of individual instruction, it is important for Students to engage a tutor that can help them achieve excellence through one on one teaching.
There are several ways to find a tutor – a professional private teacher (from Rit, Meyer Music, West Shore or Holland Symphony) or a high school orchestra student that can meet after school.
We are fortunate to have the OBGH reimburse Students a portion of the cost for each lesson from approved private lesson instructors.
Select the “Private Lessons" section under the "Boosters" tab on our Home Page Menu for more information. More
Instruments and Equipment
Students must have an instrument to use with proper parts such as bow, rosin, rock stop, shoulder rest and music stand at home. Renting instruments from , , or Meyer Music are recommended. Cellists and basses will be able to use the school instruments during class, but must have an instrument to use at home for practice. If a student receives reduced/free lunch and cannot afford an instrument, one will be provided. Please contact Tatyana Walters for any concerns/questions regarding this matter. You may also contact for assistance in obtaining an instrument.
Scrip Gift Card Program
The Orchestra Boosters of Grand Haven (OBGH) run a Scrip Gift Card Program. This is an excellent opportunity for you as a member of the Grand Haven instrumental music program to help defray potential costs of Orchestra trips and Orchestra related expenses such as private lessons and summer music camp. Select the "Scrip Gift Cards" tab on our Home Page Menu for more details. More
Summer Music Camp Scholarships
The Orchestra Boosters of Grand Haven (OBGH) provide scholarship money for all orchestra students who apply and qualify to attend summer music camps or programs.
Summer programs afford music students an exceptional opportunity to significantly advance their musical skills. The summer music program experience allows students to gain valuable individual instruction in a highly motivating environment.
All students are encouraged to participate. Details of the summer scholarship program and application forms may be obtained by selecting "Scholarships" under the "Boosters" tab on our Home Page Menu. More
Parents are asked to sign all practice records and performance rubrics to monitor the musical progress of their Student. Parents are strongly encouraged to attend all performances in which their student is participating. Your student needs your support, encouragement, pride and motivation. We would like to encourage you to attend all Orchestra Booster's (OBGH) meetings. Select the "Boosters" tab on our Home Page Menu to learn more about the boosters organization and how you might be able to contribute.
Your involvement and support of the Grand Haven Orchestra Program is greatly appreciated.