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Newtown High School Honors Symphony Orchestra

Jill Marak, Conductor

We all have ability. The difference is how we use it.

Stevie Wonder 426-7646 voice mail x1001

2017-18 Syllabus

This course provides an opportunity for students to develop advanced musicianship and performance skills by performing a wide
variety of orchestral literature at the advanced high school, collegiate and professional level. Students will further develop
technical skills and musicianship. Music of various style periods and cultures is studied throughout the year.

The success of the Orchestra program hinges on every members desire to achieve excellence. All members of the Orchestra
contribute to making beautiful music and are accountable to each other. This is done by improving skills, developing musical
understanding and a willingness to work hard to achieve a common goal. Students are expected to be committed to learning and
act responsibly.


v Instrument and bow in working order for each class (school-owned cellos and basses are available for rehearsals)
v Folder for music and handouts
v Pencil and music at every rehearsal (several pencils should be in case at all times)
v Rosin, shoulder rest, cleaning cloth, mute, spare strings

Daily Preparation/Classroom Participation (40%):
We are all committed to excellence and making the Honors Symphony Orchestra a first-class ensemble. Students in this class will
make a commitment to themselves and the group to do their personal best at all times. This goes beyond simply bringing an
instrument and music to school. Daily practice is necessary to achieve this goal. Students will be expected to come to class
prepared and ready to participate by having a command of their part (rhythms, notes) each day so that the greater group can then
rehearse and make music. Seating will rotate on a daily basis to assess individual student work. Rehearsal schedules and
important dates are posted on the Orchestra web page calendar each week so that students can prepare for each days rehearsal.
Students should check that on a weekly basis so they can come better prepared to each rehearsal.

Students are expected to abide by all school policies.

Student Responsibilities:
1. Pay attention in class and be considerate of the right of others to learn.
2. Be on task and focused during all rehearsals (including marking music and taking notes as needed).
3. Have a positive attitude and be patient with yourself and others as we learn together. Success can take time.
4. We are a team. Remember that everything you do affects everyone else in the class.
5. Practice outside of class. We are accountable to each other to learn our part and progress as a team.

Behavioral Expectations:
No food or gum allowed in the classroom or on the concert stage.
Be in your seat with your music in order, warmed up and ready to play within three minutes of the bell.
No talking or playing out of turn during rehearsals.
Electronic devices such as cell phones or iPads may only be used in class as directed by the teacher for
instructional purposes. Electronics that are used at unauthorized times will be confiscated and brought to the
Assistant Principals office as outline in the student handbook.

The class participation rubric is attached.

Formative and Summative Assessments (40%):
Students will demonstrate their progress through skills-based performance quizzes and tests, written work, practice journaling,
homework assignments and semester playing exams. Areas that will be covered include correct posture and position; tone
production/vibrato; rhythm; pitch accuracy; major and minor scales and arpeggios; bowing styles, articulation and bow
technique; dynamic, tempo and rhythmic precision in the ensemble; listening, balance and blend within ensemble; musical
interpretation and expression, advanced positions; and concert and rehearsal etiquette.

All Orchestra members should be prepared for daily playing quizzes on various excerpts in their music.

Playing exams will be administered to every student at the end of each semester and will include scales, orchestral excerpts
and/or a prepared solo of the students choice. The solo selection must be of a level suitable to the students ability (level IV-VI
at the Honors Symphony Orchestra level). Grades will be based on the criteria of state and national standards (intonation, rhythm,
tempo, technique, articulation, phrasing dynamics, tone). Performance Standards for assessment (rubrics) are attached.

Writing - Students should be prepared to write in the Symphony Orchestra class. They will be required to keep a practice journal
that reflects their goals, approach and process. Students will also be asked to analyze performances and write a reflection. Writing
rubrics are attached.

Graduation Standards - Students will be given the opportunity to complete the Problem Solving Graduation Standard. The
Problem Solving rubric is attached.

Concerts (20%):
Students are required to perform in all Honors Symphony Orchestra performances (calendar attached). Performances are a
culmination of a unit of work for performing ensembles. Every person is a member of a larger team that depends on each others
presence to make each concert successful. Students who miss any required performance will receive a zero for their performance

Concert Dress:
Ladies: White shirt, black pants or black skirt, black shoes. (No stripes, polka-dots or other
colors. Please opt for long sleeves and longer fuller skirts super short skirts and bare midriff outfits are
not acceptable. Avoid split skirts, spaghetti straps and/or tops that are restrictive in the arms and
shoulders to be able to play your instrument properly.)

Gentlemen: Black pants, white collared shirt, black socks, and black shoes. Shirts are to be neatly ironed and tucked in.
Shirt collars and sleeves are to be buttoned. No tennis shoes.


Dec. 6 Winter Concert, 7:00 p.m. (snow date Dec. 20)

May 23 Spring Concert, 7:00 p.m.

NHS MUSICAL March 17-20

TBD Fairfield County String Festival Honors Orchestra and 8/9 Orchestra Auditions
Nov. 11 CMEA Western Region HS Festival Auditions, Brien McMahon HS *
Jan. 12-13 CMEA Western Region HS Music Festival, Staples HS (snow date - Jan. 20-21)
Jan. 27 CMEA All-State Auditions, North Haven HS (snow date Feb. 3)
Mar.TBD Fairfield County String Festival, WCSU
Apr. 19-21 CMEA All-State Music Festival, Hartford

*CMEA Audition Repertoire Link:

Instrument storage lockers are available in the band room during the school day. The storage areas are to be used for instruments
and instrument accessories only. Students should make sure their instrument and possessions are clearly labeled with their name.

Violinists and violists will be assigned a locker for their use during the year. Due the number of musicians, many students will
have to share a locker.

Cellists and bassists may use a school instrument for rehearsal. An instrument and bow will be assigned in the first few days of
class. Students and parents will be asked to complete an instrument loan form. Students should treat the loaned instruments with
care and respect so that they are usable for every rehearsal.

You are expected to take your instrument home to practice each afternoon and weekends. Please note that many people are in and
out of the band room on any given day so it is imperative to keep your instrument secure by keeping your locker locked. If you
leave an instrument at school for extended periods of time, you do so at your own risk.

The NHS Music Department has three practice rooms available for student use during the school day. These rooms are for
students who are seriously interested in practicing during a free period. Use of the space is a privilege. Students are expected to
be respectful by keeping the rooms clean and free of graffiti and damage. Please see Mrs. Marak for a Practice Room Pass. Any
of the music teachers can open a practice door for you with a pass. Violation of practice room rules will result in a loss of
privilege to use the space.


This private lesson program is offered after school to help students develop and reach their full potential. Students study with
professional musicians one on one after school at Newtown High School. This provides a convenient way for students to pursue
private lessons. An enrollment form is attached.

The Newtown High School Music Department is excited to begin incorporating and implementing Smart Music in our ensemble
classes. Smart Music is a software program that helps students receive, practice and submit their music assignments from home.
As students practice, it will provide immediate visual and audio feedback regarding their performance. Parents can have access to
their childs progress and teachers can monitor student work to provide more individualized attention. Some specific features:

Smart Music listens as you play, giving you instant feedback on assessable files
Move at your own pace by controlling the tempo and click track with subdivisions
Isolate difficult phrases of any length with the loop tool
Record and play back your practice sessions for self-assessment
Choose to play along with thousands of pieces in our Smart Music library
Learn how your part fits within the ensemble through accompaniment
Send MP3 recordings to family members and friends
Solo repertoire accompaniment follows spontaneous tempo changes

As assignments and quizzes will be done through the Smart Music platform, we are encouraging all students to get this for their
home computer or iPad. The link is The cost is $40 for a subscription and can be
utilized on a Mac or PC platform. A Smart Music station will be available at school as well.


Assignment 1: This will count as your first Effort grade. You will receive 5 points for
handing this in by Friday, September 8, 2017.

I have read, understand and will adhere to all policies and procedures in regards to required
materials, general rules, attendance, expectations and all other aspects outlined in the 2016-17
NHS Honors Symphony Orchestra syllabus.

Student name (print): __________________________________________________________

Student signature:______________________________________________ Date:___________

Parent/Guardian signature:_______________________________________ Date:___________

Parent/guardian email(s): _______________________________


Student email: _______________________________