Elementary Strings Newsletter
Our Watertown Fine and Performing Arts Facebook page is consistently updated with events and highlights from the school day.
Elementary String Updates and Reminders for May 2023
Below you will find information about these concerts as well as play-alongs and the music PDFs.
ALL CITY ORCHESTRA
All City Orchestra is still meeting on Tuesdays from 4:30 - 5:30 at WMS. Students are welcome to join us even now! Our last meeting for the year will be on Tuesday, May 23rd***EDIT: WE WILL RECORD OUR SONGS AT THE LAST REHEARSAL AS OUR "PERFORMANCE" RATHER THAN HAVING AN EVENING PERFORMANCE***
We are working on two songs:
- Open String Stomp
- First Finger Pachelbel
We hope to perform these pieces at the grades 6 - 12 spring orchestra concert on Wednesday, May 24th at 7:00 pm at WHS.
ELEMENTARY SPRING CONCERTS:
Families are invited to attend, students should wear their WPS performing arts shirt/black top
- Lowell West - Tuesday, June 6; 8:30 - 9:30 AM
- Hosmer - Wednesday, June 7; 9:45 - 10:30 AM
- Cunniff - Thursday, June 8; 9AM - 10 AM
We will be performing our spring concert page (click for pdf). If your child forgets which part they are playing, let me know! They were given this page in class, as well.
- We Will Rock You (4th and 5th)
- Titanic Theme (5th Only)
- Have You Been To Ireland? (4th Only)
- Ode to Joy (4th and 5th)
RISING 6TH GRADERS (CURRENT 5TH GRADERS)
We have forwarded the current fifth-grade performing arts students to the 23/24 sixth-grade admin/guidance team. You likely won't receive schedules until August/September, but thinking ahead - if there are any errors to your child's schedule regarding orchestra participation, please reach out to me and guidance so we can help you get it figured out. A final school-day schedule for the middle school is still being determined, but we see the performing arts groups at WMS during school hours, at least every other day for 30 - 45 minutes.
Summer Playing & Instrument Rentals
Looking for ways to play this summer? Check out some of the summer camps and workshops in the area (and some far away, if that's your thing!)
- Attacca School of Music (Bartlett St, Belmont)
- Powers Music School (Concord St, Belmont)
- Rivers Conservatory (Weston)
- Winchester Music School (Winchester)
- Camp Encore/Coda (Western Maine, not far from Conway, NH border, overnight)
- Prelude Strings (Central-ish Maine (North of Augusta), overnight)
- Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp (Western Michigan, overnight)
*Ms. Byham worked here if you have any questions
- Interlochen Fine Arts Camp (Western Michigan, overnight)
Students who are renting an instrument from a vendor (like Johnson Strings, Music.& Arts, Needham Music, etc) should keep their instrument over the summer if they plan to continue playing next year. This is because you are in a rent-to-own plan and will eventually own the instrument as you pay into this program.
Students who borrow an instrument from WPS may have to return the instrument for the summer as we will want to make sure we take stock of our inventory and make any necessary repairs.
If you borrowed from WPS this year and your child is hoping to continue playing next year, we encourage you to check out the rental programs in the area if you are able. This will allow you to eventually own the instrument and step into a more intermediate-level instrument (versus student level) at a discount (thinking ahead to when your musician is no longer in school but may want to continue playing). There are also some excellent vendors from which you can purchase an instrument at a lower cost, but we do request that if you're unsure of where to purchase/which brands are good quality for the price, you reach out to us prior to spending your money on something that is suboptimal.
Rental Companies in the Area (you can also purchase from these companies):
- Needham Music (contact: Dan Cressley - firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Music and Arts (contact: Rob Sousa - Rob.Sousa@musicarts.com)
- David French (contact: Dave Proux - email@example.com)
- Johnson Strings (contact: Jhon Alvarado - firstname.lastname@example.org)
Other places from which to purchase an instrument:
Click here to see what we worked on in lessons, and what you should practice!
- HOSMER WEDNESDAY 5th Graders will meet on Monday, May 22, 2023, instead of Wednesday, May 24, 2023 (4th grade will still meet on that Wednesday)
- CUNNIFF 5TH GRADE students will not meet on Thursday, May 25, 2023
Something to Think About...
Local Symphony Performances
- Rivers Symphony: Sat. May 20/7 PM @ Kraft Dining Hall, Rivers School (Pops!)
- Brookline Symphony: Sat. May 20/8 PM @ All Saints Parish, Brookline
- Lowell Philharmonic: Sat. May 20/2 PM @ Fushion Church, Lowell (Pops!)
- Longwood Symphony: Sat. May 20/8 PM @ Kresge Auditorium, MIT
- Firebird Pops (all pops, all the time!): Keep an eye out for upcoming events
Private Lessons/Outside of School Opportunities
Mr. Frontz put together a really helpful practice page for our students, especially our beginners. This page is basically how we start our class each lesson. We've given a copy to each student, but in case they lose it or want to look on their computer, here are the PDFs:
Friends of Watertown Music
The Friends of Watertown Music is a parent organization that has been a major supporter of the fine arts program in Watertown for over ten years. FoWM is beginning to plan for our first MusicFest since 2019 and invites all parents who would like to help in any way. Email HelloWatertownMusic@gmail.com or call Chris Lowry at 617-923-0502 to learn more.
We recommend students play their instrument 3+ times a week for at least 10 - 15 minutes each time to build muscle memory and reinforce habits taught in lessons. You can see what we worked on in lessons and what students should be practicing by clicking the button below.
Note Reading Game
Practice Club and All City Orchestra!
All City Orchestra: Ms. Byham
All City Orchestra is an after-school group that meets on Tuesdays from 4:25 - 5:30. We are welcoming any and all string students who'd like to participate to join us! We will perform at the WMS/WHS Spring Concert on Weds. May 24th (7pm - 8pm).
We meet in the Watertown Middle School auditorium. All students who are in 4th and 5th grade are welcome to join! There is no cost to be a part of this group.
Practice Club: Mr. Frontz
Mr. Frontz leads our morning "practice club," an opportunity to practice your instrument, learn new music, and receive some individual instruction. This is not mandatory, as it is not a replacement for your regular school day lesson; however, it is a great opportunity to get some more time playing your instrument at school. Students must sign up in order to participate in this free practice club.
Hosmer students should enter through the doors leading into the cafeteria from outside. The door faces Mt. Auburn street. Students at Lowell W and Cunniff can enter through the main doors of the building.
- Hosmer: Monday or Wednesday 7:45 - 8:15 AM in the caf (only the day of your lesson)
- Lowell: Tuesdays 7:45 - 8:15 AM in the music room (you can join even if your regular lesson is on Fridays)
- Cunniff: Thursdays 7:45 - 8:15 AM music practice room
Helpful Links and Resources
- Tuning your instrument at home: follow this YouTube tutorial
- Here is a tutorial on how to hold the bow
- Here is a list of private teachers in the area
- Rhythm Packet #1
- Rhythm Packet #2
- Sight Singing Packet #1
- Sight Singing Packet #2
- Ms. Byham's favorite metronome app for iPhone
- Ms. Byham's favorite metronome app for Android
Our lessons are grouped by classroom teacher. The schedule is as follows:
- Mondays (Hosmer) are Spillane/Thiemann, Doherty, Bellis, and Twomey's classes
- Tuesdays (Lowell West) are Corcoran, Spatz, and Burton's classes
- Wednesdays (Hosmer) are Mattson, Stone, O'Leary, Psychoghios/Hogan, and Gill's classes
- Thursdays (Cunniff) are all classrooms
- Fridays (Lowell) are Antonellis, Sudbay, and Brodeur's classes
Our lessons take place in the first part of the school day, between 8:30 and 10 AM.
Students can join our Google Classroom by logging in to their Watertown email and clicking this button.
Meet Your Teacher - Mr. Frontz!
Meet Your Teacher - Ms. Byham!
In addition to teaching, Ms. Byham has continued playing viola in community orchestras. She is currently a member of the Rivers Symphony and the Brookline Symphony here in the Boston area. She also enjoys taking long bike rides, walking her dog, and practicing photography.
Her absolute favorite thing about teaching string and orchestra classes is watching her students go from having no idea about the instrument, to being able to play with ease and confidence. She loves that she gets to work with the students for so long, seeing them grow and learn over the course of many years, making friends, and building community along the way.