Beginning Instrumental Ensemble Syllabus




SCHOOL YEAR: 2015 – 2016


This is a tentative syllabus awaiting approval of the administration.  Oral or written additions, deletions and changes may be made to the syllabus during the school year.  Please note that this syllabus includes but it not limited to the following. 

I.                      Prerequisites: The student needs a strong desire to play a musical instrument.

II.                 Course Description: The Beginning Instrumental Music Class is designed to teach the musicians to play a traditional band or orchestra instrument and to perform as a group and in combination with other University School musical groups. One of the primary emphases of this organization is musical excellence.  To achieve this, each student must exhibit hard work, dedication and perseverance.  There will be a high level of intensity in achieving the class goals.

III.               Course Requirements:

A.                Each member must provide his or her own instrument and required music books.

B.                 The wind and percussion students will use Book I (Red) of the method Tradition of Excellence by Bruce Pearson.  It is available at both Cates Music and Music Doctor in Johnson City as well as other music outlets. The string students will use Essential Elements for Strings by Michael Allen, Robert Gillespie and Pamela Tellejohn Hayes.

Each student is expected to practice at home as recommended by Dr. Borden as well as to participate during class.

C.                If a student forgets his or her instrument or his or her instrument is unavailable, the student is expected to “air play” during class.

D.                Each student is expected to maintain his or her instrument, music and stand in good working condition.  Each student is responsible to have repairs made to his or her instrument in a timely fashion when necessary.

E.                 This organization may, from time to time as necessary, practice before school hours, after school hours or on the weekend in addition to the normal class time.  The group at times will perform during non-school hours as well as during school time.  These concerts and extra rehearsals are part of the requirements for this special ensemble that represents University School.  Each student is expected to participate in all concerts and extra rehearsals.

F.                 Misses due to special circumstances will be excused.  These include a death in the close family, student’s illness, and regularly scheduled religious services.  Sports, school or otherwise, vacations, recreational outings are not excused.  If in doubt please ask Dr. Borden before missing a performance.  If you are too ill or injured to play but can attend the concert; you are expected to do so. An excused miss must be made-up in accordance with the student handbook or the student will receive a zero for that miss. An unexcused miss from a performance or an excused miss from a performance that is not made-up will result in a failing grade for that nine weeks. 

IV.              Grades:  The following are the primary bases for grading. (NOTE: Fifth and Sixth grade students do not receive a grade.)

A.                Class participation (including behavior)

B.                 Performance and extra rehearsal participation

C.                Written work (class, homework, special projects and make-up papers).

D.                Tests: announced and unannounced written, aural, oral, and playing tests.

E.                 Students will make-up missed extra rehearsals and performances whether excused or not.  Dr. Borden has the option to give zeroes for unexcused misses.  Zeroes will be given for excused or unexcused misses if the make-up work is not turned in or completed by the date given by Dr. Borden.  Make-up work may consist of the following but is not limited to this list: written paper; extra rehearsal or performance, clean-up or filing type tasks in the classroom.

V.                 Persistence:  University School recommends that each student stick with the program the entire year before giving up on an instrument.  It takes time to learn to play and there are periods of frustration and boredom between the exciting peaks of progress.  Give it time and complete one full level before giving up.

VI.              Parents and instrumental ensemble students will be expected to actively participate in fundraisers for the program.  As the ensemble improves and grows there will be a need for special instruments.  These are often very expensive and will require a concerted effort to raise the thousands of dollars necessary to eventually equip a middle school - high school ensemble.

VII.            Concert Attire:  Students are required to provide their own wardrobe for performances.  Dr. Borden will give details in class. 

VIII.         There are several major performances for this ensemble during the year.  We will announce performance dates as soon as possible.  Here are several but not necessarily all.

A.               December Concert: Monday December 7

B.                Spring Concert: Thursday April 28

C.                Other concerts as announced.




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