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Syllabus 17/18

2017-2018 Mountlake Terrace Orchestra Syllabus

Mrs. Jennifer Schillen

Course Objectives:

  1. To study and be able to demonstrate effectively the different techniques of string performance within a string orchestra setting.
  2. To study and utilize musical theory standards while performing.
  3. To study and be able to demonstrate an understanding of balance, tone, and blend within an orchestra.
  4. To prepare various styles of orchestral music and perform at least one performance each semester.

Course Requirements:

  1. Be prepared for class with music, music folder, and a pencil EVERY DAY.
  2. Take your instrument home with you. Practice. Practice. Practice.
  3. Adhere to posted classroom rules. (i.e.) NO CELL PHONES!!!!
  4. Water, yes. Gum, chips, food no
  5. Be courteous and respectful.
  6. Nails must be short, long nails = no

Grading Policies:

Attendance at ALL performances is MANDATORY! Having a job or an athletic event does not automatically excuse you! Grades will be based on points earned by the students. Points can be earned as follows:

Daily Participation and Effort - 10 points per day
Performances - 100 points

**Concert Observations outside of school may be used for extra credit**

MTHS Tardy Policy

MTHS students are expected to be on time to classes each day. A student is considered tardy if they are not in their classroom at the beginning of the period.  Tardy is defined as no more than 5 minutes late; after five minutes, students will be reported as excessively late, and may be counted as absent for class participation purposes.  In the case of excessive tardiness or time out of a class, a “Y” will appear on attendance reports.  In general, teachers may tie grades to tardiness under the category of "class participation".   Teachers may assign lunch or before/after school detention to make up tardies. Teachers may refer students to the office for excessive tardiness or for failure to make up tardies.  To help support this expectation, MTHS staff have adopted the following progressive school-wide tardy policy:

1st Tardy to class - Teacher Warning
2nd Tardy to class - Before/after school or lunch/ detention
3rd Tardy to class - Before/after school or lunch detention
4th Tardy and onward - Administrative Referral

Performance Attire:

Boys: black suit, including white dress shirt and black bow tie; black socks and black dress shoes. I suggest buying a used rental tux from a formal wear shop because it’s cheap.
Girls: uniform black dress, black dress shoes. I realize that the style of these dresses is not anyone’s favorite. We will wear them because it gives our orchestra a more professional appearance.
Please note: Anyone, student not wearing the proper attire for a concert will have his or her grade lowered for that particular performance. Dresses MUST be paid for in advance. If you have trouble meeting this requirement, please see me in private. Violation of performance attire will result in the lowering of your performance grade by 30%. Boys must have black bow ties, black socks, and black dress shoes. Girls must wear the uniform orchestra dress, and black dress shoes.

**17-18 concert dates listed on Concert Schedule page**


Each member will be expected to actively pursue mastery of the technical and musical aspects of selected music. Grades assigned will reflect the individual’s progress toward goals outlined for each area. Grades will be based on the following elements: 40% participation: daily grade and practice/preparation, 25% concert-related participation; examples: sectionals, dress rehearsals, 35% playing tests and written activities. Participation is the largest portion of the course grade. Participation includes a daily grade which is earned when the student participates fully and comes ready to learn. Ready to learn looks like: student is in their seat with instrument, music, pencil, and ready to tune at 2 minutes after the tardy bell. Excellence in playing an instrument comes not only from the rehearsal; but also in what a student does in preparation at home for rehearsal. Therefore, students will have planned playing tests and unplanned preparation spot checks.

Orchestra Parents:

The parents of orchestra students are cordially invited to participate in the “booster” organization designed to support the activities of the high school. Orchestra parents are regularly involved in fund-raising and service activities thereby adding valuable opportunities to the orchestra experience. Chaperones for our trips are typically recruited from our parent members. Meetings will be held during the school year on a weeknight and are open to any parent of a high school string student. Please consider getting involved – it is a wonderful way to be involved in your student’s high school experience.

Final thoughts for parents and students:

Participating in an orchestra is a very unique and special experience. It requires an investment of self and significant support from family members. It is an opportunity to experience a never-ending personal challenge and to live creatively as well as to foster close friendships with fellow musicians. Each member of the orchestra has a valuable part to play and I welcome the opportunity to work with your students and trust that they will gain much from being a part of this demanding and wonderful team! Making music is a source of great joy for me and I consider it a privilege to share it with my students and to see them become musicians in their own right. 

If you have any questions, please contact me at the above number & email.
Thank you for your support.
Jennifer Schillen