• Potomac Falls High School

    Orchestra Course Syllabus

    Mr. Schear



    All orchestra classes are performance-based classes.  The primary focus of each is the mastery of technique as well as performance of concert literature.


    Intermediate orchestra students will start with “Essential Elements 2000 Book 2” as a way to review important concepts taught in middle school.  We will graduate to “Essential Technique for Strings 2000” later in the year.  These are available online or at local music stores.


    Advanced and Artist Orchestra students must obtain the method book, “Habits of a Successful String Musician.” This is also available online or at local music stores.


    Supplies: each orchestra student must also provide the following:

      • Properly sized instrument (with bow) in good working order.
      • Black, 3-ring binder (1/2”) with clear sheet protectors for music.
      • Shoulder rest for violins and violists
      • Rock stop for cellists
      • Rosin for your instrument


    School Instrument use.  Due to difficulties in transporting cellos and basses back and forth from home, every effort has been made to provide school cellos and basses for class use.  Students who wish to do so may rent a school instrument for the year (depending on availability of instruments).  Students will be assessed a fee per year ($25.00) which will be used toward basic instrument maintenance.  Students are welcome to transport their personal instruments to school for rehearsals if they do not wish to rent.  Students needing to rent a school instrument to keep at home will need to pay the rental fee of $75 in addition to this $25.


    Strings.  Replacement strings are available for emergency situations.  Students are expected to pay for all strings on personal instruments. 


    Music.  Each orchestra member will receive copies of the music we are currently using.   All music copies are to be kept in black 3-ring binders.


    Uniforms.  Each student will be issued a formal school concert uniform for use during the year.  (Alterations may be made as long as they are not permanent).  Boys must provide their own white tuxedo shirts, black socks and black dress shoes.  Girls must provide their own black hose and black dress shoes.  Uniforms must be returned in good condition at the end of the year for dry cleaning.  The fee for this uniform rental is $45.00.



    Grading.  All grades in Phoenix will fall under one of the following categories:

    1) Individual or sectional performance assessments (approximately 70% of the quarterly grade)

    2) Concert attendance/participation (15% of quarterly grade)

    3) Rehearsal techniques/skills (15% of quarterly grade)


    Each quarter will consist of multiple assessments.  These will cover technical skills, concert music, etudes, or music theory necessary for success in orchestra.


    Junior/Senior Regional Orchestras.  Any students interested in auditioning for these orchestras will find all necessary information regarding registration, auditions and the event on the website, www.nvcro.org.  Please note: freshmen may audition for either the Junior or Senior Orchestra, but not both.


    Orchestra Calendar.  Orchestra is a performance-based class, and certain performances are mandatory.  Any student who knows s/he cannot attend a mandatory performance MUST submit a request from their parent no less than two weeks prior to the event and will be given a project to complete as a substitution.   Allowances are made for extreme emergencies such as illness or family emergency.  Please follow this key to know which dates are mandatory for your child.


    MA: Mandatory for Advanced and Artist Students

    MI: Mandatory for Intermediate Students

    O: Optional


    28: Senior/Junior Regional Orchestra Auditions, Colgan High School (O)


    29: Fall Concert, 7pm (MA) (MI)


    8-9: Senior/Junior Regional Orchestra, Fauquier High School (O)

    11: Strings to the Rescue (O)

    25: River Bend Middle School 7/8 Strings Concert (O)


    9: Rehearsal, 4.45-6.45pm, auditorium (MA) (MI) (“A” day)

    10: Winter Concert, auditorium, 7pm (MA) (MI) 

    20: Caroling in the Hall, 8am (MA)


    15: River Bend Middle School 6th Grade Strings Concert (O)

    25: All-County Orchestra Auditions, Trailside Middle School (O)


    1: All-County Orchestra Auditions (Snow Date), Trailside Middle School (O)

    3: River Bend Middle School Instrument Test Drive (O)

    4: River Bend Middle School Instrument Test Drive (O)

    20: Pre-Assessment Concert, River Bend Middle School (MA)

    22: All-Virginia Orchestra Auditions, JMU (O)


    20-21: District Orchestra Assessment, Tuscarora High School, time TBA (MA)


    17-18: All-County Orchestra (O)

    20: Strings to the Rescue (O)

    23-25: All-Virginia Band & Orchestra, Carpenter Center, Richmond, VA (O)


    1: Solo & Ensemble Festival, Eagle Ridge, time TBA (O)

    18: River Bend Middle School 7/8 Strings Concert (O)

    21: Spring Concert, Auditorium, 7pm (MA) (MI)


    2: River Bend Middle School 6th Grade Strings Concert (O)

Last Modified on September 30, 2019