Welcome to Lawler Orchestra

Information for 6th Grade Orchestra Families

Getting an Instrument

When to Rent: If you have not yet rented an instrument for the fall, now is the time to get that done! You can visit www.dallasstrings.com to get your rental set up for the fall. Please do not wait to get this done. The music store needs time to get instruments rented and delivered to Lawler.

An Important Note: Instruments should be sent to Lawler to be set up and ready for your student. Unless your student is already enrolled in private lessons, instruments should not be used before the school year begins. Please do not let your student get started on their own over the summer. Beginning position set-up and technique is crucial to a successful future on the instrument. Bad habits formed without proper instruction can lead to a long struggle of breaking bad habits instead of developing a strong foundation from the start.

Sizing: Getting your student on the correct size instrument is so important for good technique. You should have received your student's instrument size when you tried instruments out last spring. If you aren't sure which size to rent, just send me an email at lalondec@friscoisd.org. I either have a form from one of the directors you met with that has that information, or we can set up an appointment to figure out what size instrument your student will need.

Supplies: Dallas Strings offers a 'beginner kit' with each rental. Please get the beginner kit for your student. This will include a method book and other required supplies for beginner orchestra. Dallas Strings also offers the option to buy your student a clip on tuner. This is highly recommended. Every student will need a tuner. Many students use tuner apps on their phones, but phones and apps do not work as well in the orchestra classroom setting.

Once you've completed your rental...

You're ready! Your instrument and supplies will be sent to Lawler. Mrs. LaLonde will get your instrument tuned, taped, and ready for the first week of school. Instruments will remain at school for a few weeks while students learn basic instrument care and practice techniques. An email will be sent home to notify parents when to expect students to begin bringing instruments home to practice.

*An exception to this would be if your student has already started taking private lessons and will need to take their instrument home to attend their lessons.

Beware of big box stores, online retailers, and hand-me-downs

The quality of stringed instruments can vary greatly and the quality of your student's instrument will have a huge impact on their success when it comes to making beautiful sounds and being able to learn advanced techniques. We recommend renting from Dallas Strings because your student is guaranteed a high-quality instrument. If you are looking at getting your instrument elsewhere, please contact me first. I would be happy to play on the instrument and give you my honest feedback on whether you are getting an instrument that will allow your student to be successful.

Private Lessons

It is recommended that all students sign up for private instruction on their instrument. Private lessons can take place during or outside of the school day. Fill out the form below to get signed up!

Lessons are available as pull-outs during orchestra class once a week or outside of the school day. Lessons before/after school can take place at Lawler or at a teacher's studio. Students that take lessons outside of the school day get more instruction time because they are not missing orchestra class for their lesson.

If you are looking for lessons outside of the school day, it is important to get signed up with a recommended teacher. There are many teachers in the area - some are more qualified than others. Guarantee you are getting a high quality lesson teacher by filling out the form below to get connected with a recommended teacher. Lesson availability goes quickly, so if you are interested in lessons, please fill out the form below as soon as possible and we will get you connected with a lesson teacher.

Get to Know Your Orchestra Director

My name is Christy LaLonde and I will be the head orchestra director at Lawler. I will be leading the orchestra on my own this first year, but with our program already over 200 students we will hopefully be adding an assistant director in the fall of 2019.

This will be my 10th year teaching - I spent my first three years teaching in Grand Prairie ISD where I started a new orchestra program at Fannin Middle school. I spent the next six years teaching orchestra at Huffines MS in Lewisville ISD. I loved working with my students and families in Lewisville, and I'm beyond excited to be working closer to home in Frisco and joining the Lawler community this fall.

A little about my music background: I grew up in the Chicago Suburbs where I started piano at age five and viola at age nine. I moved to the Houston area during my last two years of high school which allowed me to be part of the award winning orchestra programs at both Neuqua Valley HS in Naperville, IL and Cinco Ranch HS in Katy, TX. I attended the University of North Texas and graduated with a Bachelor in Music Education in 2009 with a concentration in viola.

I absolutely love what I do. Helping students to discover their talents and a passion for music brings me joy each day. I cannot wait to get started working with our Lawler Orchestras.

When I'm not teaching music, I'm spending time with my husband (who is also an orchestra teacher!), my son Declan, and my two fat cats!

Important Dates & Performances

Students have multiple performance and social opportunities in their first year of orchestra. Below is a quick summary of some of the big events already scheduled on our calendar for next year. The best way to keep up with our calendar of events is to subscribe to our Google Calendar. You can find it on our website by clicking HERE

Beginner Informance - October 1st - This is a required event for beginner orchestra students. We call it the "informance" because it is both a performance and informative meeting for our orchestra parents. Students will perform some basic skills and songs that they have mastered, and parents will have the opportunity to learn how to help their student find success through quality practice at home.

Winter Concert - December 18th - This is a required event for all orchestra students. Our winter concert will be held at Centennial HS

Solo & Ensemble Contest - April 2019 - This is an optional event for all students, but is highly recommended. This is your student's opportunity to display their solo abilities and their highest levels of musicianship.

Spring Concert - May 7th - This is a required event for all orchestra students. Our spring concert will be held at Lawler MS in the Cafetorium.

*** The above dates are not all the orchestra events for the school year. Please make sure to check our calendar for all of our scheduled events. Some dates on our orchestra calendar are only for advanced students. Make sure to click on events to see who they apply to.

Our Cafetorium at Lawler!

Big picture

Orchestra Homework

Many parents ask about how much practice to expect their student to be doing outside of the school day. This is a question we will address in great detail at our beginner informance on Oct. 1st, but I always stress "quality over quantity". More practice does not make a student better unless they are using that practice time wisely. In fact, a student can get worse by practicing for too long with bad technique and building tension.

Students will have weekly practice expectations that will increase in duration over the school year as they become more capable of the endurance it takes to play properly for longer amounts of time and as the material they are working on becomes more detailed. Our first goal in orchestra is correct and consistent position and technique. This is something best practiced in small, quality sessions.

Practice assignments will cycle between practice logs, goal-oriented practice assignments, and practice videos submitted via google classroom.

Get Involved

We need parent volunteers to help get our orchestra booster club off the ground and running. Below are some needs we will have this year. If you feel like you could help in one of these areas, please let me know by filling out our volunteer form below.

- Booster Club Officer Positions

- Booster club 501(c)3 paperwork

- Chaperones for field trips

- Hospitality at concerts

- Occasional classroom support - Copies, Filing, Money Collection, Form collection