Grading Expectations

Grading and expectations should follow what’s in the BHS Orchestra syllabus which has been given to each Orchestra student at first week of school year.

Students’ performance will be assessed by participation (40%)

Musical ensembles require a commitment to excellence from every member. I have high expectations for each student’s development in the areas of technical performance, creative expression,responsibility, and teamwork. Individual preparation and dedication are essential to our success as a group!
Daily points will be lost by disruptive behavior; lack of attention; unexcused absences or tardies; and failure to bring your instrument, music, or pencils. Since participation is a large percentage of your grade, it is possible to drop one or even two grade levels due to inadequate effort and/or behavior. Student who have unexcused absences, or more absences than allowed by the school will drop three class participation points per missed class. Sinfonia students with unexcused absences will join the Concert orchestra.

Evidence of home practice, written work, and independent performance (60%)

Playing tests, performed singly and in small groups, will be evaluated according to individual progress. Orchestra class also includes written assignments and exams. DAILY HOME PRACTICE IS REQUIRED: 30 minutes for every class period.
Attendance and participation at all scheduled performances, with proper attire and all necessary materials, is MANDATORY. The only acceptable excuses for missing a performance are (1) your own personal illness or (2) a family emergency. Notes from parents or doctors will be required for excused absences.
Concerts, by their very nature, cannot be “made up”. If a student has an excused absence from a performance, an extra project will be assigned to partially make up lost points. Points lost from unexcused absences cannot be made up. Points are earned for each performance and will be deducted for tardiness or inappropriate attire.
Students in Sinfonia and Chamber must coordinate and participate in one outside performance per semester. Students in Concert must coordinate and participate in one outside community performance per school year. This can be arranged as a small ensemble or as a solo.

Attendance at Concerts and other Orchestral Activities

Performances serve as a final exam for learning and cannot be duplicated at any other time. Attendance by all members is necessary for the musical team to succeed and is a requirement of this class. Careful long range planning and communication with family, employers, and community organizations will prevent most conflicts and resolve nearly all others. When a student has an irresolvable conflict, a cooperative attitude and early, clear, and honest communication are vital in resolving it. This must be done in private. Students in positions of leadership, who have solo parts or who are prominent players in a small section, must understand and respond to their vital role. A student with two school activities that occur at the same time must communicate that to both teachers as early as possible so a cooperative solution can be reached. The student has the responsibility to work the conflict to a satisfactory solution.
In a sudden emergency situation, every effort should be made to inform the director before the concert and be followed up the student’s next day of attendance with a parental note explaining the circumstances. A surprise “no show” is a serious matter that creates anxiety for all and detracts
from the climate in the orchestra. Absences from concerts and other activities in which these procedures have not been followed will result in a grade reduction that is the equivalent of missing a major exam. The amount of which will depend to some extent on the degree of responsibility (or lack thereof) and the cooperation of the student. The instructor may accept an assignment to at least partially make up for a performance
absence. It must be pre-approved by the instructor and initiated by the student.

Class Guideline

  • Come prepared
  • Stay on task
  • Be involved
  • Treat others and equipment well

Concert Attire

Concert attire is an important element in creating a dignified cohesive group. The overriding principle is that an individual should do nothing that draws attention to him/herself in how he/she dresses or conducts him/herself. The black in the following descriptions should be as close to tuxedo black as possible. If the dress attire is not followed, the student will not play in the concert and will receive a failing grade for the concert.
Girls: Black, plain, long-sleeved blouse with modest neckline and no frills/jewelry; long black skirt/slacks or comparable long black dress with at least elbow length sleeves, and black shoes. Cellists must wear flat shoes. Shoulder-less/sleeveless tops, exposed midriffs, or revealing slits are not acceptable.
Boys: Black tie, black shoes, black socks, black pants (no jeans) and white long sleeved, collared shirt.

Class Attire

Students are to abide by the rules set by the administration. Cello students are to wear pants/shorts/
skirts that allow them to play with correct posture. A warning will be given the first time, followed
by a ‘0’ for the participation grade for continuing occurrences.

Materials Required

Each day, the student must bring his/her instrument with accessories, a pencil, music, 3-ring black binder and exercise books. A shoulder rest is also required for violins and violas. “KUN” shoulder rests are recommended. Cellos and Basses must own a rock stop for concerts. Bringing all of these materials will contribute to the student’s success in the class. If an instrument is being repaired, talk to Mrs. Chang.


Students are required to practice 30 minutes for every day in class. The practice rooms at Bellevue High School are open before and after school until 3:05 by the music staff. Students may practice orchestra, chamber, or solo music. This is not a place for socializing!

Chamber Music

Students will all be a part of a small ensemble, in which each person plays a different part than everyone else. This will encourage accountability and build on each players’ skill set. Students run their own rehearsal, using rehearsal techniques they have learned in class.

Class Materials

Our curriculum book, Essential Elements for String Orchestra, is no longer provided per student by the district. You are welcome to buy one of these books from a local music store, or to share what we have in the class with everyone else. STRINGS ARE NOT AVAILABLE FROM ME FOR PURCHASE. I strongly suggest having a backup set of strings.

Private Lessons

Students are encouraged to receive private lessons to help improve their skills. Names and locations of teachers are available on the Orchestra Website. Extra copies are available from me. Generally private lessons are available for one-on-one personal instruction. Logistics would be initiated by the student and worked out with the perspective private teacher.


Each student is strongly encouraged to periodically learn a solo piece. This will help hone individual musical and technical abilities.