As we approach the end of another school year, many orchestra directors are already planning the things they’ll do better next year. In hopes of helping, I would like to provide a few general videos that might make good supplements to your classroom handbooks or other information you send to parents of beginning students at the start of the school year.
The Brightly-Colored Violin
There are a couple of topics many of us are desperate to cover with parents of new students. Foremost among these concerns is the inappropriate instrument purchase, often made online or from a pawn shop. Many of us have experienced the appearance of more than one purple sparkly violin and have wished that we had been able to either catch these parents beforehand, or had more successfully explained the importance of a “real instrument.”In an attempt to avoid such purchases altogether, feel free to share this video with your new parents who will see that it’s not just you who feels this way:
Do you, like me, often feel like the audiences at our concerts think they’re at a sporting event? In an attempt to educate the families of your new students, here’s a video on how to be a supportive audience member. It covers topics like arriving on time, how to handle younger (restless) siblings, and leaving concerts early:
If you have students who are super excited about orchestra and wan to get a head start, I have some more tips to share. We’ve made a few videos in the hope of slowing eager students down just a bit…at least until we can monitor their progress. These steps include how to pack and unpack their instruments and to identify the parts. If you’re interested, we have additional on this theme at orchestratutor.com.
Before students come to their first class/rehearsal, you may also want them to watch a video explaining some important rehearsal etiquette. We hope this preview will allow them to get comfortable with the idea that your orchestra classes are, in fact, rehearsals.
While I understand that not everyone is thinking about next fall just yet, I hope that knowing you have some new resources at hand today will make your preparations go more smoothly this summer.
Wendy Devaney took up the violin at the age of 12 (the viola came later). She was soon performing with an El Paso mariachi band with whom she eventually toured the southwest – and France – and recorded several albums. She earned her B.A. in music performance from Texas State University, where she was principal violist in the Texas State Symphony.
Wendy has performed and recorded with several mariachi groups, local bands, and classical ensembles and is a guest clinician at the Texas State String Camp. After running a successful private studio in Austin, Wendy founded Orchestra Tutor, a tutorial website designed to help string students.