Oakwood Orchestra News

May 2016-5th Grade Edition

From Ms. Read and Mr. Urban

Can it really be May already?!? We want to start by saying how much we've enjoyed working with your students this year. They have come so far and we are excited to show what they can do! May is a really busy of time of year so grab your calendars and here we go:

Upcoming Events

May 11: 5th Grade Science STAAR

May 17: Bowling Party @ 5:30-7:30 pm @ Grand Station

  • Orange permission slips were distributed last week and are due back by 5/12.
  • Students who did not participate in the chocolate fundraiser will need to pay $10.
  • Students are allowed to bowl only (no laser tag, arcade, or mini-golf unless supervised by their parent).

May 19: After School Concert Rehearsal @ 3:50-5:30 pm @ Oakwood

  • All students are required to attend.
  • Please arrange to pick up your student by 5:35 pm.

May 24: Spring Concert @ 7:30 pm @ AMCHS Gym

  • Tune @ 6:00 pm @ AMCHS Cafeteria
  • We will open the gym doors for the audience at 7:15 pm.
  • Uniform: Polo, black pants/skirt, black socks/hose, and black dress shoes
  • Students will not need to bring their instruments back to school after the concert over.


If your child is continuing to 6th grade orchestra, they will need to keep their instrument over the summer. It is important for them to play during the summer so that they do not lose their hard earned skills. We will have our first concert as 6th graders in October so we have to hit the ground running in the fall. We've had several parents ask about keeping students motivated to practice during the summer months. Here are a few ideas:

  • Orchestra Camp: Orchestra camps are a lot of fun and your students will come home fired up and excited about playing. We're including a list of the camps that we know about in Texas this summer.
  • Private Lessons: Private lessons are a great way to encourage your child to practice over the summer and for them to receive some one on one instruction. We're including a list of private lesson teachers in our area. We don't know for sure which ones will be teaching over the summer but please give them a call and ask.
  • Music Packet: We will be passing out large music packets to each students this week. The packets contains new music for the students to work on during the summer. The songs include movie music, pop hits, and classic orchestra literature.
  • "Jam Sessions": Students have more fun practicing when they are surrounded by their friends. Invite other orchestra students over and let the students play through old songs and/or music from the packet.


The instruments will get out of tune during the summer months. Here are some ideas of ways to help your child tune themselves and/or get help tuning:

  • Tuning Apps: Most platforms have tuning apps available. The free apps are usually not very accurate but they are better than nothing. (We recommend the Cleartune app which is only $3.99.)
  • Electronic Tuners: Electronic tuners can be purchased at any of the local music stores. The students already know how to use these devices because we use them in class on occasion.
  • Music Stores: If your child is uncomfortable tuning themselves or they need help, you can take their instrument to any of the local music stores and they will tune it for you (usually free of charge).

Next Year:

All students continuing to 6th grade orchestra will need to purchase a copy of Essential Elements Book 2. This can be bought at any of the local instrument shops or online. We will begin using this book right away at the beginning of the year.

New Sizes:

We will be measuring students again during the last week of school to make sure they are on the correct size instruments. The new instruments will need finger tapes. The process takes about 5 minutes, and we will be at Oakwood on the following days if you want to stop by:

  • June 1st: 11:00 am - 1:00 pm
  • June 2nd: 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm

Students Who Have Chosen a Different Elective:

If your child has chosen another elective for next year, we are sad to see them go! The students will be playing their instruments until Tuesday, May 24th. You should be receiving information from your rental companies shortly about returning the instruments. The String and Horn Shop and Thorn Music Center usually request that you return instruments to the store directly. Lisle Violin Shop will collect instruments from Oakwood the week after school ends.

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Mr. Travis Urban