Pleasant Ridge Orchestra Department

Welcome 4th graders, beginners, and parents!

Welcome to the first week of Orchestra!

Greetings kids and parents,

So happy to have you in the orchestra department this year! Hopefully you all know your child's first lesson was either last week, this week, or next week. Having all these Monday's and Wednesdays off have given us a kind of crazy start, but everyone will be playing music in no time!

What students should have by now:

  • A rental instrument includes chin rest (sponge) and bow
  • Essential Elements Book 1 for orchestra
  • Music stand to practice with at home

The rental shops should have known to give you the Essential Elements book but I'm afraid some might have forgotten I apologize for this! You can either go back to your rental store or visit the local music shop Total Music or purchase it online. With the Essential Elements Book, there is a CD or an online code with the instrumental background songs for the kids to play along and practice with. SMART MUSIC program is also another incredible way for students to practice their songs while being recorded and assessed digitally. I believe it is $40.00 a month if you are interested. We will be using it in class so the students will learn how to use it. Let me know if you are interested!

Students will have one group lesson only once a week for 30 minutes, the time will always stay the same. If you feel that there is a conflict or that the homeroom teacher would like me to change the time I am more than happy to accommodate everyone.

At the end of every lesson I will write the students weekly assignment in the front cover of their book. There is one line per week, if you notice there are boxes for students to put the time they practiced in and also a spot for a parents signature. For every week that they practiced more than twice they will get points, and the more points they get the more prizes they get. I only expect students to be practicing about 10 minutes twice a week for now. A great idea is to have the kids play a "pre-dinner" concert for you and show you what they learned after they have had their lesson. When you make practicing more like a time to show off and perform for the family rather than sitting in the corner and practicing to a wall, kids become more engaged and initiate the practicing them selves. It makes music making fun! :)

We will not be using the bow for at least a month or so, for the first few weeks we will be focusing on proper technique, learning how to read music, and place our fingers on the right spots on the instrument.


Students will be expected to come to a large group rehearsal once a week on Wednesdays during their recess time. It will be held in the gym. I will send an email out once we start Wednesday recess rehearsals, since everyone hasn't had their first lesson yet I want to make sure all kids are on the same page before we start practicing all together.

If kids have their lessons on Mondays this year they can leave their instruments in my room until their Wednesday recess rehearsal and practice over the weekend.


I am the orchestra director for both Pleasant Ridge and Attea so the best way to reach me is via email I travel between both schools everyday and do not have a landline phone to be reached at. I will be sending out updates about rehearsals and practicing every few weeks. If you ever have a question about anything please do not hesitate to ask me! I look forward to working with each and everyone of your children this year!

I recommend getting private instruction for your children once a week from a place like Terra Sounds music in Glenview or Merit school of music in Evanston!


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