SDOW Orchestras

Current Skills

Sixth grade is going to dive right in at the beginning of the year in a combination of known skills and new skills. Right away, we will begin focusing heavily on key signatures, which is a skill we began in fifth grade. In the first several pages of the book, they will learn C Major, G Major, and D Major and discuss what a major scale is. Another major focus of the first month or so of classes will be some new rhythms. Dotted rhythms will make a reappearance, and expanded upon. Also part of the scale review will be the introduction of two octave scales. At after school orchestra, this will mean that at various times all of the instruments will be introduced to shifting. Two of the songs they'll learn during fourth quarter have an interesting history - Jesse James and Alouette. Ask your child to tell you about those songs once you hear them practicing!

Do not let your child throw away or lose their fifth grade books YET. The last few pages of the fifth grade curriculum last year didn't allow us to spend a lot of time on our E and C string notes within our class time, but you can ALWAYS look back to your fifth grde book to remember how to play them. Even though it's "old" music, it's often times the very skills that need the most drill. Without your fundamentals in place, it is hard to add on to those skills.

Progress Reports

Below is a link to the Quarter 1 Progress Report and what Dr. Thierbach and Mrs. Brueggemann expect students to know by the end of first quarter. THIS HAS NO CONNECTION TO YOUR GRADE. The only reason for these progress reports is to show your parents what skills we have at least been introduced to in the last 8 weeks. You should have numbers all over the place on the page. String players have so many different skills being applied at any one time, so it's very common for one skill to be stronger than another. As you improve on your instrument in the coming years, your numbers will start to become more similar. We will send these to your parents directly via e-mail, but paper copies are available upon request.

Quarter 1 Progress Report


While Dr. Thierbach and Mrs. Brueggemann don't require a certain amount of practice, they firmly believe in the importance of efficient and productive practice. The easiest way to get practice in is to set up a routine. You can get practice done as soon as you're home from school, just before bedtime, or just before dinner. Some students wake up in the morning to get a few minutes in before school! It doesn't matter if you don't have 30 or 45 minutes in a row to practice...break it up! Set a goal, and try to reach it in that time.

Most of the techniques we recommend for home practice are exactly what we teach you in class. Not everyone moves at the same pace, and some people won't need as much repetition as we do in class on each step, and some people will need MORE repetition. Do what works for you. If you have a question about a skill that we go over in class, ASK. It is very important that you understand the concept before doing home practice, even if you're not able to demonstrate it. Remember, you will NEVER be in trouble for not understanding something, and it will never affect your grade. As long as you are giving your 100%, you will always have the teachers on your team. We are all about success, not perfection.

Below is similar to what our practice forms look like. Sometimes, Dr. Thierbach and Mrs. Brueggemann will give you specific skills to place in the skill boxes at the top. Other times, we encourage you to come up with your own goals. You don't have to do every skill every single day. The skills are there to help you remember what was worked on in class and help you focus your practice sessions. BONUS: Every 15 days you practice (it doesn't have to be consecutive!) you can earn a bow buddy! Who doesn't want a class bow buddy zoo??

Practice Log


Plan to attend our Parent Meeting on August 22 in the Middle School Band/Orchestra room! 5th grade parents are invited to come at 6:30 p.m. to get extra information about how the program works. A second "session" will begin at 7:00 p.m. to review dates, etc, as in years past. 5th and 6th grade parents will have the opportunity to fill out the Bus Transfer form for After School Orchestra that evening to be ready for your child to start being transported to WMS.

We recommend you park in the big lot (Nix Parking Lot) behind the middle school that is shared with the high school. Signs will be posted to guide you to the room!

Don't forget to sign up to chaperone the Pre-teen dances! We need every slot filled by the Friday before the dance in order to hold them each month. Go to the Fundraiser tab and click on the date you are planning to chaperone.


Printable Schedule of Events

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