Students enrolled in the orchestra program at SFA will be instructed in

the elements of music through the performance of quality age appropriate
concert orchestra literature based in the Western classical tradition. Students
will be instructed as to the technical aspects of becoming a performer on
their assigned string instrument. Students will perform a varied repertoire of
music in a variety of settings including our home stage at SFA, community
events, and Kentucky Music Educators Association festival assessments.
Students at SFA spend more time receiving music instruction each year
than any other public middle school students in Kentucky. Orchestra meets
for 55 instructional minutes and arts enrichment is 40 minutes all 187 days
of the school year. That is 95 minutes of arts instruction everyday!
Upon completion of the three-year orchestra program at SFA students
will have the opportunity to apply to and audition for the Youth Performing
Arts School (YPAS) at DuPont Manual High School. Students graduating
from the YPAS have gone on to some of the most prestigious colleges and
universities in the world and enjoy successful careers not only in music, but
a wide array of fields. As a YPAS graduate, I would be happy to talk with
you about the school!

Welcome to the family of Western Middle, The School for the Arts.
We’re glad you are here!

Dear Students and Parents,
With the start of a new school year come new teachers, classes, expectations, and
procedures. It is our hope that you will not only enjoy your experience in orchestra, but you will
be changed as well. In addition to learning about music and how to play your instrument better,
you will become more self-sufficient, responsible citizens. In striving for all students’ success, it
is necessary that the environment be conducive to learning. Therefore, it is important to
understand the procedures and expectations of the classroom. On a personal note, I know middle
school can be a difficult time for families. If there is anything I can do to help you in anyway,
please contact me via email or by calling the school. Welcome to Western Middle, The School for
the Arts!

Robert A. Dixon
Orchestra Room: 502-485-8345 ext. 296

Daily Procedures

Entering a Classroom
 Enter the rehearsal room in a quiet, courteous, and orderly manner. Students are to treat fellow
students and staff members with respect.
 Attitude is everything. Attitudes are contagious……let’s start an epidemic!
 Students are to be on time to class and are to be ready to play at the designated time.
 Most assignments, parent forms, etc. should be turned in the “Collection Box”. This is clearly
marked in the rehearsal room.
 Accessories (cloths, shoulder rests, rock stops etc) may be obtained before/after school or from a
local music store.
 No school backpacks/materials allowed in rehearsal. Leave backpacks, etc… in the designated
location. Violin and viola cases should be placed directly under your chair. The floor between
chairs must be clear at all times.
 Quickly get your instrument and music and take your seat.
 Instruments are stored in CLOSED, LATCHED cases on designated instrument racks, no music left
on stands, no trash on the floor.
 Each student is issued a music folder that is required for each class. You are to take it home for
home practice each day. It easily fits inside a backpack.
 Have a sharpened pencil at all rehearsals (not a pen). Keep it in your music folder.
 Each day begins with announcements either via PA announcement or from the instructor. There is
no talking allowed during this time.

Rehearsal Etiquette
 Students will check the SMARTBoard for the agenda for the day.
 No book bags or instrument cases can be left outside of designated areas at any time. (small cases
can go under seats)
 On a daily basis, all students must have a pencil, instrument and method book/music.
 The rehearsal begins when the conductor steps to the front of the classroom and raises their hand.
Students should sit down and get ready to play, then practice until it is time to start class.
 Students will not play other student’s instruments. This includes personal and district owned
 No running or horseplay in the rehearsal rooms AT ANY TIME!
 Good posture is of great importance at all times.
 Always raise your hand to ask a question.
rehearsal area.
 If your instrument is broken, please notify Mr. Dixon immediately.
 Grades are based on a 100 point scale. Refer to syllabus for specific percentage breakdown.
 Each student is issued their own copy of music for rehearsal. Replacement parts will cost 10 daily
points per page.
 There will be very little written homework in orchestra. You are expected to take your
instrument home daily to complete your 20-30 minute practice (homework). Practice reports
may be required to verify.
 Playing quizzes/tests in orchestra will follow JCPS performance rubric.
 Extra credit is given for participation in private lessons, District, All-County, honor orchestras,
Louisville Youth Orchestra, etc.

Rehearsals/Performances and your Grade
 There may be an occasion where we will need to have an extra rehearsal after school. You will be
given advance notice and are expected to attend. Unexcused absences can negatively affect your
 Orchestra is considered a curricular class and performances outside of the school day are considered
an extension of the school day. Therefore,
A performance is considered a final exam in a unit of study. Our orchestra depends on every
student. YOU are important to an outstanding performance. Excused absences are limited to
death in the family and immediate emergencies. Not having a ride, an appointment, athletic
event, or other avoidable conflicts are not excused; PLAN AHEAD!!! Absent students will
perform the required material and be assessed individually in place of the performance grade.
Please refer to the website for the latest information, dates, etc. concerning the SFA Orchestras to
avoid conflicts.

Expected Behaviors
 All students will give whoever is speaking, attention and respect.
 All students will respect each other’s personal space and property.
 All students will come to class each day well prepared. This means practicing at home.
 All students will come to class with a positive attitude.
 All students will participate in performances, class activities and discussions.
 All students will protect their personal property and the property of the school. “IF IT IS NOT
 Simply put…..”Do what’s right!”

Consequences of Inappropriate Choices
See WM SFA discipline policy
1st offense – verbal warning
2nd offense- parent contacted, demerit given
3rd offense-referral to the principals

Concert Attire (All Concerts are REQUIRED)
Please make sure that you have the following for each performance. It is unwise to wait until the night
before the performance to tell your parents you need concert attire!
 SOLID BLACK dress clothes. Gentleman- long sleeve black button down shirt. Ladies black
blouse or dress.
 Dress black trousers/skirts. Ladies appropriate length of skirt. (Remember you will be seated)
o Cellists are asked to wear black pants, not skirts.
 Dress black shoes and socks/tights.
 Remember, the point of a uniform is so that the whole group looks the same. We don’t want
anyone to stick out and draw the audience’s attention away from the music. Concerts are formal
occasions and the performers should be dressed up! Thanks in advance for your cooperation.
***If you have trouble obtaining the appropriate concert attire for financial reasons, PLEASE see
Mr. Dixon OR contact Ms. King in the Youth Services Center here at Western prior to performance
dates. She CAN help***

Required Concert/Activity Dates for 2014-2015 (updated regularly- check web site
often as some dates may have to be altered due to sports tournaments and other events not yet finalized. All
dates are updated as soon as possible on the Western orchestra web page.) There is typically one major
performance each grading period.

 October 16
– All-County Middle School Auditions
o Location and Times TBA

 October 21
6pm Western Middle SFA 6
Grade Informance (6
Grade only)

 November 19
6-8PM - All County Orchestra Evening Rehearsal

o Location TBA

 November 20
All Day Rehearsal and Evening Concert
o Locations TBA, Concert at 7PM at Ballard HS

 November TBA –ANNIE –(7
& 8
Grade Perform BOTH Shows)

 December 16
6PM Western Middle SFA Winter Concert

 Solo and Ensemble Dates:

o Selections due November 15

o A Saturday in February - Date and Time TBA
 6
Grade All County Dates-
o February 19
-Audition –Time and Location TBA
o April 13
–Evening Rehearsal
o April 15
– All day rehearsal and evening concert TBA

 KMEA Festival Performance Date: March 17
OR 18
Time TBA (During

 May - Western Middle SFA Spring Concert Date TBA


Instrument Selection/Assignment

In order for an orchestra to be successful it is necessary to have a balanced
instrumentation. For this reason there is a process students will go through in order to
determine the instrument that is best suited for their interest and abilities as well as the
needs of the ensemble. Having all of the instruments in an ensemble can be likened to
having all of the positions on a football team. Without the necessary players in all
positions none of the players can have a truly successful experience. At its essence a
musical ensemble is a team.
Prior to instrument assignment students will become familiar with all of the instruments
in the orchestra, what they look like, sound like, and the role they play in the group.
Students will be given a suggested instrument that is suited to their strengths and be
asked to list their top three instrument choices. The Director of Orchestras will take all
factors into consideration, including student preference, and prior experience, when
assigning instrumentation.

***All instrumentation assignments are final***

Instrument & Equipment Checkout

An instrument will be provided for all orchestra students at Western Middle Magnet
School for the Visual and Performing Arts. Once instrument assignment has been
completed students will bring home the Jefferson County Public School Instrument
Rental Agreement. This form will state all of the necessary details about the instrument
and equipment being checked out. There is $40 rental fee for the school year. For
students who are on free or reduced lunch the $40 rental fee has been waived, please
indicate this status on your orchestra registration form. By completing the rental form you
are assuming responsibility for the instrument and equipment being checked out. The
estimated value of the equipment will be listed on the rental agreement. You are
responsible for loss or damage to the equipment beyond what is deemed normal
wear from careful use. All instruments are the property of JCPS.

What you will receive with your instrument:
 Instrument, Bow, and case in working order
 Music Folder and assigned literature
 Shoulder Rests for upper string players

Items that must be purchases separately*
 Rock Stop or Anchor for Cellos and Basses for at home practice
 A wash cloth or sturdy cotton fabric (an old but clean washcloth will do!)
 Method Book
*see attached orchestra store price list. You may also purchase these items from
area music stores or the internet. If purchasing on your own, be sure to
purchase the specific brand and specifications outlined in the orchestra store
price list.

Purchasing Your Own Instrument
After instrument assignment has taken place, should you wish to rent or purchase your
own instrument you are welcome to do so. Below are area music stores that provide
quality affordable instruments as well as a rent to own program. Before doing so please
contact the Director of Orchestras for a list of approved models.

Mel Owen Music: 502-893-6624
Miles Ahead Music: 502-479-3772
Mark Edwards Violins: 502-239-2423
Don Wilson Music: 502-394-0224
Enrichment Classes
Orchestra students should plan to take several music related arts enrichment courses. You
are encouraged to explore the other arts, but it is necessary for your musical development
that you also participate in music enrichment classes. Music Basics is a must!!!

SFA Orchestra Store Price List 2014-2015

Method Books

Essential Elements 2000 plus, Book 1
Violin/Viola/Cello/Bass $9

Essential Elements 2000, Book 2
Violin/Viola/Cello/Bass $9

Essential Technique 2000, Book 3
Violin/Viola/Cello/Bass $9

Shoulder Rests: $15

Strings: (All Prices are for complete set!)
Violin: $25
Viola: $35
Cello: $55
Bass: $100

Parent/Student Signature Sheet:

This signature sheet counts as the first homework grade! Please get it in on or before the due date.

This handbook can be found on the Western Middle SFA Orchestra Web Site!

The above represents a summary of the responsibilities that form the basis of
participation in the Western Middle, The School for the Arts Orchestras. It is essential
that each student and parent read this together, understand the information, and realize
that by signing this contract they agree to uphold that philosophy and carry out those
responsibilities to the best of their ability.

Student Name (Print)________________________________________________

Student signature________________________________________________

Parent Name (Print)_________________________________________________

Parent signature________________________________________________

Daytime Phone Number _____________________Home _________________

Parent Email (please print legibly)- please provide an email address that is checked



Do you participate in the free or reduced lunch program ___yes ___no

Grade Students ONLY:

Have you studied a musical instrument before ____yes ___no

If so what instrument___________________________ how long_____________

Does anyone in your family play a musical instrument ___yes ___no

If so what instrument(s)_________________________how long_____________

This and all other required forms must be on file in the orchestra
room before an instrument and active participation in orchestra
will begin.