Dear parents and students,
Welcome to the string programme! This year we are going to establish our early repertoire and set up lifelong habits of good technique, sound making, along with becoming robust ensemble players. We are going to experience performing and rehearsing in a string ensemble in lots of different settings.
The focus of the year is to give students universal skills and abilities which will be useful, both on our stringed instrument but on other instruments.
We’ve got lots of performing and rehearsing coming up and, as always, it is important that your child is getting enough practice in. We recommend 5 sessions of 15-25 minutes a week practice. We all get so much more out of group practices when we have our parts confidently mastered.
This is a brief overview and there will be further information sent home to parents about all the performances closer to the time. Dates are still to be confirmed and this is an indication only.
What happens at the end of Class 5?
It may seem far off, but it is useful to understand the pathway at school for music. In about three years, at the end of Class 5, students will either choose a new instrument or continue strings in the Class 6 and 7 Ensembles. The Class 6 and 7 Ensembles continue to develop the work we did in Class 5 String Ensemble and works on note reading, technique and performance skills. Just like the Class 5 programme, they are also a compulsory part of the school day. The other available ensembles are Wind Ensemble and Guitar Ensemble.
String and Wind Ensembles have a requirement that students have private lessons with an instructor. This can be in the form of group lessons or individual lessons. Continuing strings is recommended because in the advanced string orchestra in Class 6, we really dig deep with ensemble playing and it is exciting. In other groups, learning a brand new instrument means progress is slower.
How to look after my instrument
Violins and cellos, when looked after can last a life time. However, they are fragile and precision instruments which do not like being bumped around, extremes of heat and cold, being scratched or being exposed to oils, moisture or chemicals. Therefore, please do not leave the instrument in a place where it could be kicked over, nuked by the sun or touched by dirty fingers. The bow hair is particularly sensitive to oil and will stop working if touched excessively.
The number one expense for families in the programme outside of getting their instrument to start with is loss of gear. It is essential that all parts of the instrument – the bow, the instrument, the bag or case, the rosin and the book are all individually named.