Orchestra Documents
Orchestra Syllabus and Student Contract

Torrington Middle School Orchestra

Class information and Syllabus 2018-2019

Location: Room 127

Ms. Ward-de León

Email: CWarddeleon@torrington.org

Phone: (860) 496-4050 ext.3136








Course Outline: This course is designed for students to advance on their chosen orchestral instrument, improve their musical skills, and to successfully play in a middle school orchestra. Students will perform a wide variety of orchestral music, including different types of styles and genres, and music of different time periods and cultures. Instruments in the orchestra include: violin, viola, cello and bass. Orchestra is an academic, graded class, and is included in calculating a student’s grade point average (GPA) and eligibility for school rewards/functions.

Each orchestra class will incorporate two or more of the following National standards for Music Education:                                        1. Singing, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music.

2. Performing on instruments, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music.

3. Improvising melodies, variations, and accompaniments.

4. Composing and arranging music within specified guidelines.

5. Reading and notating music.

6. Listening to, analyzing, and describing music.

7. Evaluating music and music performances.

8. Understanding relationships between music, the other arts, and disciplines outside the arts.

9. Understanding music in relation to history and culture.

Required Course Materials:

1.) An instrument and bow in working order (cellos and bass players will have one instrument at home, and one provided at school).  School rental instruments are available for ALL students for $50 a year (cash, money order, or check payable to TMS)Instruments are on a first come, first serve basis The rental agreement is attached to this packet.   Payment plans are available; parents must email Miss W. for a payment plan agreement.  Students will not be able to take an instrument home/use a school instrument until their contract is filled out, and until payment or a payment plan agreement is made.  Students who have an instrument at home may choose to rent a school instrument so that they have one at home and one at school (Students can leave their 2nd instrument at school)

Students must have an instrument by Friday September 14th, OR a signed contract to rent a school instrument.

2.)  A ½ inch-1 inch binder dedicated solely for orchestra class!!

3.) 2 pencils- to be brought to every orchestra class and lesson.  


Estimated Costs associated with orchestra:

School rental instrument:  $50 a year (or per rental agreement outside of school, approx. $25-35 monthly)

Replacement/Extra rosin:  $3  (students may purchase at school as needed)

Replacement/Broken strings:  $5 (students may purchase at school as needed)

Shoulder rests for violin/viola students: $12 (students may purchase at school if needed)

Orchestra T-Shirt: $15 (These are needed for our field trip to Lake Compounce, and other orchestra events.  T-shirt orders will be placed 2 times a year, Oct 1, and April 1st.  Students may wear this same t-shirt for all three years of orchestra.  To purchase online/more information:  https://www.customink.com/fundraising/tmsorchestra. 

Field Trip to Lake Compounce: approx.  $50  (Due in May)


Class Meetings

6th grade: orchestra classes are held on Mondays and Thursdays (and every other Wed)

                   Lessons: Tues or Fri (see rotating lesson schedule)             

7/8th grade orchestra: classes are held on Tuesdays and Fridays (and every other Wed).

                   Lessons:  Mon or Thurs (see rotating lesson schedule)


Orchestra classes are held 2-3 times a week during 7th period (last period). These classes are full orchestra classes/rehearsals.  Schedules for class meetings are posted outside of the classroom, as well as inside.  Students will also be given a copy of this rotation schedule. Attendance is taken daily in orchestra class per school policy, and is shown in gradebook. Students may withdraw from orchestra within the first 10 days of school.  Students who withdraw from orchestra after 10 days will receive an “F” for the marking period.

Lessons: Students will be pulled out of class once weekly for a small group lesson on a rotating schedule.  Prior to attending their lesson, students must first check in with their regularly scheduled teacher. Students who are unable to attend a lesson because of a test, quiz, or other activity may miss that lesson if notice is given prior to the missed lesson.  Lesson participation is graded. More information about lessons (procedures, expectations, etc) will be handed out during the 2nd week of school with the first lesson schedule. Lesson schedules are posted outside of the classroom, and inside the classroom.  Students are also given a copy of the lesson schedule.  New lesson schedules are passed out every 2-3 months.


Grading Policies

The grading policy for orchestra is in accordance with the TMS student handbook.  Grades are based on multiple forms of assessment, both formal and informal, and usually include a corresponding grading rubric.

Participation: 60%: This includes having necessary materials (instrument, music, etc.), behavior, and being prepared for class.

Playing tests: 20%

Written tests: 10%

Concerts: 10%



1st time: warning;                                                                                                                              

2nd time: yellow card (leading to a loss of Viking points), and possible call and/or email home.                

3rd time: detention and phone call call/email home (and yellow card).                                            

Habitual/severe infractions: office detention or principal intervention (ISS/OSS, etc) and meeting with parents/guardian. Possible removal from orchestra for the remainder of the year.


Concert Policy and Information

Concerts are mandatory for students. Students who have an unexcused absence from a concert will receive an “F” for their concert grade, and will be excluded from attending future field trips.   Handouts with specific information are handed out to students at least one week prior to the concert. In addition, it is highly recommended that parents/guardians come to our concerts.  Concerts are scheduled far in advance to allow for parents to make arrangements for student transportation and for parent attendance.  Students who parents/guardians/relatives attend concerts are much more likely to practice at home, and to achieve success in orchestra.  All concerts are in the Torrington middle school auditorium, and begin at 7 pm (students must arrive at 6:15 pm) unless otherwise stated. Please see the list below. Mandatory concert dates are in bold, optional events (for chamber, etc), are not.  Please check Miss W’s classroom website for updated information.


Concert Dress/Outfit

Tops: WHITE top or blouse, button down or polo shirts are ok. Shirts can not have words or pictures on them.

Bottoms: BLACK pants or knee length (or longer) skirt. Black shoes, no sneakers allowed.


Concert and event Dates for the 2018-2019 year:

Mandatory concert dates are in bold (ther are two), optional events (for chamber, etc), are not.


(Friday Sept. 19th- optional chamber orchestra performance at TMS fall fest)

(Tuesday December 4th- optional ASAP program begins afterschool at Shepaug high school)

*Monday December 10th:  Winter/Holiday Orchestra Concert*- Mandatory for all Orchestra Students

(Tuesday December 18th- tentative date for 6th grade field trip for Retirement home “tour”- during school)

(Thursday December 20th-tentative date for 7/8th grade field trip for Retirement home “tour” during school)

(Friday December 21st: In-school “Caroling” performances for Chamber Orchestra students)

(Wed. January 9th: Select chamber orchestra students only: all city rehearsals begin after school at 4 pm)

(Saturday January 12, 2019- Northern Regional Auditions-optional-selected students only)

(Thursday March 7th, 2019: 8th grade combined concert with the Torrington High School Orchestra, at THS-8th grade only). 

(Wednesday March 20th: select students- All City Orchestra Concert- snow date March 27th)

(Thu-Sat March 21-23: Chamber Orchestra performances at the TMS drama club production/play)

(Fri/Sat March 22/23 2019- Northern Regional Middle School Festival-selected students only)

(Wed April 3rd-For students in ASAP only: in school concert, and night concert at Pomperaug High School)

(Thurs/Fri: April 11-12: selected/nominated 6th grade students: performance at CMEA conference in Hartford, CT- during school). 

Thursday May 16th, 2019: *Spring Concert* Mandatory for all Orchestra Students

Wednesday May 29th: Tentative date for High Note Music Festival field trip at Lake Compounce)

Monday June 3rd: 8th grade recital- mandatory for 8th grade students


*Other concerts/events/performances to be determined*

Other/Misc. Class information:

Chamber Orchestra (optional- by invitation or audition): Wednesday after school. Chamber orchestra is an after school group for advanced students.  This is a select group of students who have shown a commitment to their instrument, and who have a positive and hard-working attitude. New students and incoming 6th graders who are interested must audition for chamber orchestra.  The chamber orchestra performs regularly at in-school and in-town performances. Rehearsals are on Wednesdays afterschool from 2:40 pm-4:00 pm. Students may be picked up, or may take the late bus home.

Optional ensemble- ASAP  Inter-district Strings Project with the Waterbury Symphony Orchestra at Shepaug Valley School Band Room, Washington CT, Tuesday evenings 7-8:30 pm.  Students who play the violin, viola, cello, or bass won’t want to miss this incredible opportunity to work and perform with musicians of the Waterbury Symphony Orchestra. Young musicians will learn a varied repertoire from WSO professionals in small groups, focusing on fundamental techniques, ensemble skills, and musical interpretation. This project culminates in three in-school performances where participants play side-by-side with 20 WSO musicians. A minimum of one year of experience playing a string instrument and ability to read music is required. Space is limited per instrument. This is an optional, extra curricular ensemble outside of Torrington Public Schools.  There is no transportation provided.  Please visit this website for more information:  http://asapct.org/grades-6-12-adults/


Extra Help: Extra help is available after school. Please ask for more information.   24 hour notice must first be granted by Ms. Ward-de Leon to ensure availability and space.

Music Lockers: lockers are available for students outside of the orchestra room.  Students will be assigned to one of these during their lessons.

Field Trips: the orchestra typically takes two field trips a year: to retirement homes in December, and to Lake Compounce in late May/early June.  Information will be given to students as dates are finalized.

Remind Texts: See attached sheet.  This is a great way for parents and students to receive information about TMS orchestra via text.



Success in the performing ensembles at TMS is based upon the principles of RESPECT and RESPONSIBILITY

RESPECT for yourself: Performing and behaving to the best of your ability. This ensures the success of the ensemble.

RESPECT FOR OTHERS: Keeping your hands, feet and opinions to yourself. Conducting yourself in a respectful manner, showing respect for teachers and other students. This also means NOT playing until you are instructed to, and not talking when others are playing.

RESPECT FOR THE CLASSROOM: Maintaining a clean classroom, picking up after yourself, and not eating, drinking, or chewing gum in class.




Torrington Middle School Orchestra




Students and Parents:

I have read and understand the Torrington Middle School Orchestra class information sheet and  Syllabus. If I have any questions, I can contact Ms. Ward-de León at CWarddeleon@torrington.org.


_______________________________        __________________________________         ____________

Student Name                                                  Student Signature                                                       Date


***Parents: Please read this information in its entirety (pages 1-6), and sign below.


_____________________________             ________________________________             ____________

Parent/Guardian name                                   Parent/Guardian signature                                         Date



_____________________________________________________________________________________ Parent/Guardian email                                                                                   


Parent/Guardian email #2 (optional)


_____________________________________________________________________________________Parent/Guardian Phone number(s)

_____________________________________________________________________________________Parent/Guardian Phone number(s)


***This signed form must be filled in a returned by Friday September 14th. This counts as a grade! *****