Strings Orchestra

Mrs. Amy Andrews


262-796-3942 ext. 262



Weekly Lessons

The school year is divided into two semesters, with 14 weeks of lessons in each semester. Each student will have a weekly lesson that is 20 minutes in length. Weekly lessons will be private or semi-private and students will be grouped into lesson groups based on ability level, work pace, and scheduling. These lessons will be scheduled by Mrs. Andrews and the homeroom teacher and will be giving during school hours. Each student is responsible for making up all class work that he/she missed due to a music lesson.

Group Rehearsals
  • Beginning Orchestra

    • This orchestra is for students who are learning their instruments for the first time. This orchestra typically consists of 1st and 2nd grade students.
    • Beginning Orchestra rehearses on Tuesdays from 3 pm – 4 pm.
  • Intermediate Orchestra

    • This orchestra is for students who have been playing for at least one full year, and is the largest orchestral group.
    • Intermediate Orchestra rehearses on Thursdays from 3 pm – 4 pm.
  • Advanced Orchestra

    • This orchestra is for SJV’s most advanced players. Students must have at least two years of playing experience, and must pass out of both Suzuki Book 1 and Essential Elements Book 1 in order to advance to this group.
    • Advanced Orchestra rehearses on Wednesdays from 3 pm – 4pm.

Dress Code for Concerts

Maintaining a professional and uniform look is very important when performing in an ensemble.  Dress code for all performing string orchestra students will be enforced.  Beginning and Intermediate students are required to wear a white top with a navy or black bottom for all formal performances unless otherwise stated (for school performances, SJV school uniform may be acceptable).  Advanced students are required to wear all-black for performances, meaning black on the top and also black on the bottom, which includes black shoes.  Wearing this attire will showcase students in a distinguished way which will also best prepare them for concert dress and etiquette in their coming years as musicians.

  • Students must practice a minimum of 3 times per week (outside of lessons and group class).  It is recommended that students consistently practice 5-7 times per week at home in order to make the best progress possible.  However, students who practice only 3 or 4 times per week will still be able to make weekly progress by engaging in 20-minute sessions of good, quality practice.  Practicing less than three times per week is not acceptable.
  •  Students are required to keep track of practice time on a practice assignment sheet which is provided.  Parents then initial the practice sheet at the end of the week before each lesson.  Parents should check in with their children throughout each week and help to make sure that students are practicing what is assigned and is circling the days practiced.  For beginners especially, it is important that parents are helping them to read and follow their practice sheet.   Weekly practice assignments are specially designed for each individual child, and will help him/her to progress with a personalized practice plan set up at school and supported at home.
Chair Auditions

Chair auditions will be held for all students at some point during the year.  Chair auditions will consist of a one-on-one audition between Mrs. Andrews and each student, and will consist of a short prepared musical excerpt.   The purpose of chair auditions is never negative; chair auditions allow students to prepare musically with clear expectations, exercise and implement good practice habits early on, be paired with a stand partner of similar ability, and gain audition experience which will be helpful throughout their music careers.  Structured chair placement also allows for fair distribution of parts to play, which encourages students to be preparing music that is best suited for their abilities.  Students who accelerate rapidly throughout the year may “challenge” for a new seat as the school year progresses.

Materials Required for the String Program

Needs to be rented from any music store and must include a cleaning cloth and your own rosin.  The fee for the instrument rental is separate from the fee for lessons.  Please see Mrs. Andrews for handouts with instrument rental information.

Violin and viola kits have a sponge, rosin and a cleaning rag. Cello kits have a rock stop, rosin and a cleaning cloth.
Needed for practice at home only (you do not need to bring it to school).  If your music stand is needed for performances, Mrs. Andrews will communicate that with you prior to the performance.
1. Suzuki Violin / Viola / Cello School- Volume 1 with CD optional
2.  Essential Elements 2000 (plus DVD) – Violin / Viola / Cello- Volume 1 (as student advances, later books will need to be purchased.)
3. Other music books during the year as needed: Christmas, Disney or other movie books, fiddle, etc.

Other Important Information:
  • Make sure to bring your instrument and all materials (folder, rosin, music including both books and sheet music, pencil) to school with you on the days of your private lesson and group class.
  • Try your best to remember when your lesson is and to arrive on time.
  • Wash your hands every time before playing your instrument.
  • Never eat, drink, or chew gum while your instrument is out of its case.
  • Never set your instrument down in a place where it could be damaged (like on a couch, on the floor, near pets, near a heater, etc). Also, never leave your instrument in the care for any length of time – hot or cold weather.
  • Please keep your left hand fingernails short!  This greatly affects the technique of playing and the learning process.
  • If the instrument is badly out of tune or something does not work, bring it to school or to the music store.  Do not try to repair it on your own.
  • If a string on your instrument breaks, please buy the same string on the day that it breaks.  Most stores can put it on while you wait, or Mrs. Andrews can put it on the instrument as soon as you bring it to school.
  • Do not give up!  While learning an instrument is very fun, at times it can be frustrating.  Always keep in mind that “The expert in anything was once a beginner.”