Welcome to the Wilson Orchestra!


Middle School is a Big Deal...but it doesn't have to be scary!

Orchestra is one of 3 music options your child has when entering into middle school! Students do NOT have to have any previous experience in music to be successful in orchestra. We start from square one and go from there!

Being a part of our orchestra is really like having a home away from home - which is so important in the coming middle school years. Having a place to belong, a place where they feel comfortable, surrounded by quality friends is key to middle school success. That family atmosphere is a huge part of why the orchestra at Wilson has been so successful, why so many kids choose to stay in orchestra through middle school, and its something we are very proud of. In addition, being a member of a group that excels gives students confidence that carries over into other aspects of their lives.

We are incredibly excited about the future of the Wilson Orchestra, and can't wait for your child to become a part of it!

What Instruments are Offered?

There are 4 instruments offered as part of the orchestra program: Violin, Viola, Cello, and Bass. The beginners are taught in separate classes for each instrument during the school day. Usually, students are drawn to a particular sound and will do the best when they get to play the instrument they are most attracted to. Any sized kid can play any sized instrument, so don’t let the dimensions throw you off. With the bigger instruments – the rental instrument goes home and stays there while a school instrument is checked out to them to play at school. This avoids your child having to stuff a cello into their bicycle basket or trying to skateboard home while carrying a bass!! In orchestra, we play a wide variety of music – classical, pop, fiddle, rock, modern - including an ensemble that plays on electric instruments.

The violin is the "small" of the orchestra family. Because its strings are the shortest, it produces the highest sound. Violinists always play the violin on the left shoulder, regardless of if you are left or right handed.

The viola is the "medium" of the orchestra and a very important instrument. Because it's bigger than the violin with longer strings, it makes a rich warm sound that is lower in pitch. It's also played on the violist's left shoulder.

The cello is the "large" of the orchestra and plays even lower than the viola. To support it's longer strings, it's more than twice as big as the viola - so cellists must sit down, resting the instrument against their bodies.

The bass is the "super size" of the orchestra and acts as the foundation. These deep instruments add the lower notes to the orchestra sound. The instrument is often taller than the person that plays it! Because the orchestra depends on the bass section, the most skilled musicians should be bassists!

Big picture

Meet the Directors

Michelle Bell and Shannon Stevenson have more than 30 years of combined teaching experience. This will be our 6th year teaching together at Wilson Middle School. We are passionate about the difference that a quality music education can have on a child’s future. We recognize that only a handful of students will leave my classroom and go on to become full time musicians or orchestra directors. Our hope for all of our students is that they leave our class with a lifelong love of music. In our orchestras, students learn life lessons about self-discipline, goal setting, cooperative learning, integrity, teamwork, responsibility, commitment to something larger than themselves, and hard work so that they can go out into the world and discover the cure for cancer, invent the latest technologies, and impact their world (and ours) in a positive way. It is our goal to produce outstanding orchestras, outstanding musicians, and outstanding people.

Orchestra Instrument Night

Tuesday, April 3rd, 6-8pm

14250 Sendera Ranch Boulevard

Haslet, TX

Instrument Night is a very important part of the process to join orchestra! Your child will get to try out the instruments, decide which one they want to play, and be measured for the correct size. It is critical that you attend an Instrument Night because we need to make sure that they are placed in the correct class for next year as well as get you information about where to rent an instrument for your child.

If you cannot make this night, you can also attend an Instrument Night on either of the following dates:

1. April 5th, at Pike MS

2. April 10th, at Chisholm Trail MS

Both directors will be present at all 3 Instrument Nights!

Sign up here: http://www.signupgenius.com/go/30E0C44ADAA2FA1FF2-5thgrade

Frequenty Asked Questions

1. Does my child need to have previous musical experience in order to be successful in orchestra?
NO! We start instruction from the very beginning and we progress from there. Any experience playing piano, guitar, recorder, or singing in choir will certainly help but the only requirement to be in orchestra is a desire to be there!

2. What is this going to cost me?

Instrument rentals start at about $25 a month, and are usually set up on a month to month type of plan. The one time supply cost is about $50. Orchestra start up supply costs and monthly rental fees are actually cheaper overall than those for band. We don’t want lack of financial resources to be a roadblock for a child’s participation in orchestra. Please talk to a director if that applies to your child.

3. Do I have to purchase an instrument right now?
NO! We recommend renting an instrument to start with. PLEASE, DO NOT BUY AN INSTRUMENT ONLINE! We know they seem like a great deal but in our opinion, those instruments are TERRIBLE. They don’t stay in tune, sound awful, and a very prone to unfix-able breakage. A “good looking violin” you purchase online for $150 will cost you $300 in adjustments before it can even be played, and will always sound terrible - leading to a great deal of frustration on your child’s part.

4. My child wants to play cello or bass but I do not want to have to help him/her carry that big thing back and forth to school every day. How does that work?
Cellos and basses leave their rental instrument at HOME, and use a school instrument at school. All they have to carry back and forth is their music to practice J

5. What kind of a time commitment is orchestra going to be for my 6th grader?
Orchestra is co-curricular, and taught as part of the normal school day. There are about 4 concerts spread throughout the year that are in the evening so that parents can attend. We do some optional social events (we went to a Ft. Worth Symphony performance, Altitude Trampoline Park, Hawaiian Falls, etc.) in the evenings or on a weekend.


April 3 @ Wilson MS (anytime between 6pm - 8pm)
April 5 @ Pike MS (anytime between 6pm and 8pm)
April 10 @ Chisholm Trail MS (anytime between 6pm and 8pm)

6. My child chose to be in orchestra next year. Now what?

You will need to attend one of our 3 Instrument Nights. At that time, your child will pick what instrument they want to play, and they will get sized for an instrument. Once we know what instrument they are going to play next year, we will make sure they are scheduled in the correct class. While you are there, you will also have the opportunity to set up your rental instrument to save you a trip during the summer. Bell’s Music Shop went through a rigorous selection process with our district’s orchestra teachers and was selected as the vendor to be present at all NISD orchestra instrument selection events. While you are welcome to rent or purchase an instrument from any vendor you would like, we invite Bell’s Music Shop to be present at the event for your convenience. Bell’s Music Shop has been an NISD vendor for the past ten years.

With that being said, it is important to me that you know that I recently became related to the owner of Bell’s Music Shop. Steve Bell and I were married in January of 2015. I want to be upfront with my relationship to this vendor because he was the one selected by our district to be present at the instrument sizing events. Please know that you can use any vendor you would like to rent an instrument! We recommend that you take care of instrument rental sooner rather than later. Bell's Music Shop will deliver the instrument and supplies to Wilson MS before school starts, or you can bring the instrument on the 1st day of school if you are using a different vendor!

7. What does a beginner class look like?

Beginner Orchestra is taught homogeneously - meaning that like instruments are taught together. Having a violin class, a viola class, a cello class, and a bass class allows for faster progress for everyone! Check out our website to see what your child can expect in Beginner Orchestra!

8. Should I get my child private lessons this summer?
We LOVE when kids cannot wait to start playing their instruments! We have a fantastic private lesson program where our students can get one-on-one private help during the school day from a professional teacher and musician who is able to address the specific needs of the individual child. Private lessons are optional, but highly recommended. However, taking them BEFORE your child starts 6th grade is NOT recommended. Your child ends up in a bad in-between place - they know too much and are REALLY bored in Beginner Orchestra for the first few months but don’t know enough to progress directly into a performing ensemble. It’s MUCH better to wait until school starts before starting private lessons.

9. Can my child be in two music classes?
Yes! There are orchestra kids that are also successful in choir/band. Your child has two elective choices for next year. All three fine arts electives are all very strong and successful.

10. My child wants to be in athletics later on. Can they participate in both?
Yes! There are orchestra kids that are also very involved in athletics, cheer leading, club sports, and many other clubs and activities.

12. My child is supposed to go to Adams. What do I do?

You should come to one of our instrument night dates. We will keep your information, and pass it along to the new director, once they are hired! Rental instruments from Bell's Music Shop will be delivered to Adams, just like they will be to Wilson!

13. I would like more information. How can I contact you directly?
We know that all this information can be overwhelming - especially if you are not coming from a musical background of any kind and/or this is your oldest child’s adventure into middle school! We are happy to help however we can to make the transition into 6th grade a positive experience for everyone. Scroll up for our contact information!

Want to hear more?

Check out some of these cool youtube videos!

Simply Three - bass, cello, and violin

Viola Cover of Fight Song:


Two Cello Guys:


All About that Bass:

Hip Hop Violinist:

A viola/cello duet:

4 Basses playing Coldplay: