String Orchestra Student Handbook


The objectives for String Orchestra class are derived directly from the music portion of the North Carolina Department for Public Instruction, and the National Standards of Instruction. 

  1. Demonstrate the appropriate expressive and technical procedures for their instrument. (Learn to play their instrument.)
  1. Demonstrate pitch and rhythm accuracy. (Play accurately alone and with a group.)
  1. Read musical notation, terms, and symbols. (Read music.)
  1. Improvise, compose, and arrange music. (Make your own music!)
  1. Listen to, analyze, and evaluate music. (Listen to music and be able to talk about it.)
  1. Develop understanding of music in relation to history, culture, and other content areas. (Learn the history of music.)
  1. Show respect and appreciation for the efforts of others. (Understand the work it takes to play an instrument.)


Student Needs

In order to succeed in orchestra class students will need to have the following with them at every class: their instrument in its case, a bow, rosin, shoulder rest or rock stop, a cloth, methods book, and a pencil (do not underestimate the importance of a pencil, I keep careful tabs on this one…)



In the morning, between 6:45-7:30, students are to bring their instruments into the storage place for their school. They may then go to their designated place in the morning. Students are responsible for picking their instruments up at the end of the day to take home for practice. Bass players and some cello players are the only exception to this rule.


Entering the classroom:

  1. Enter quietly and look for the day's Learning Targets.
  2. Place book and pencil on music stand.
  3. Get instrument from storage room and place on the left of chair.
  4. Make oneself ready for the lesson. This usually will include setting their stand and tightening and rosining the bow.
  5. Work on the assignment displayed on the board.


At the end of the lesson:

Students will be given approx. 3 minutes to pack up, this includes:

  1. Wiping down instrument and bow stick to remove rosin.
  2. Loosening and packing the bow.
  3. Putting their instrument away.
  4. Resetting chairs and music stands.
  5. Entering the hall to wait for their teachers.

Restroom breaks should be taken between classes! If absolutely necessary students may use the restroom at the beginning or end of class, not during.



Student grades are based on four areas: personal practice (10%), learned information quizzes (15%), class participation/attitude (50%), and concert performance (25%).

Personal practice time is essential to progressing in ability with any instrument. Each student will practice at least 4 days a week for a total of at least 100 minutes a week. For grade 6-8 these practice times must be documented in their practice log and signed each week by a supervising adult.

Class participation and attitude are the most important and highest graded area of our class. This grade includes student focus, behavior, and attitude. Learning to play an instrument is not a passive experience. Students must participate in a variety of rigorous musical exercises during class to improve their skills. Proper focus and discipline are essential to maintaining expected growth.

Concert performance is the final area involved in a student’s orchestra grade. Students not only learn about music and their instrument, they also learn what it means to perform for others, and how to accomplish this with confidence. String Orchestra is a performance-based class. Every member of the group is important. These performances will take place near the end of the semester, begin at 6:30pm, last for roughly 30-45 minutes, and showcase the new talents of our fine musicians. If your child participates in sports or any other extracurricular activity, please check those schedules with our concert schedule as soon as you get them to avoid future conflicts.  I will work with the coaches and your child on these issues as much as possible as long as I have advanced notice!

As part of their concert grade students must wear proper concert attire. It is important to look professional during a musical performance. Due to this it is important that all students have a “concert black and white” outfit. These typically include a white collared shirt or blouse, black pants, black socks, and black shoes. Let me know if you have any questions regarding concert attire.



One of the most important skills learned in orchestra is how to practice on one’s own. It is vital to develop the self-discipline for consistent and efficient practice habits. Students will require the help and support of their family to have effective practice at home. Beginning students must have the patience to train their hands to do movements they have never done before and to strengthen muscles not normally used.

Students must practice at least 4 days a week for a total of at least 100 minutes a week. Whatever you do, play as often as you can to help develop your tone. A beginning musician should not practice longer than 20-30 at a time. If a beginning musician wants to practice longer than 30 minutes just take a 10-15 minute break in between.

Students in grades 6-8 will have Practice Log that they are required to keep track of. They are to log their practice goals and the amount of time spent each day practicing. At the end of each week it is part of the student’s responsibilities to have a parent or guardian sign the completed log for that week so they can get credit for their hard work. Their logs are collected each Tuesday and given back to them the next day in class. This log is important and affects their grade in our class.

If possible it is highly recommended that young musicians take lessons from a private instructor, or be involved in the Asheville or Hendersonville Community Youth Orchestras in addition to strings class. For questions about lessons or any of the Youth Orchestras please email me.


Instrument Rentals

            Rentals generally run from $25-$85 per month depending on the store and the instrument needed. If you would like more information about instrument rentals please contact me.

It is important to acquire an instrument as soon as possible, do not delay.


Bass players will want to rent their bass from RhodoWood Basses. They are an excellent local company specializing in bass rentals. Find them at or call them at (828)606-6846.