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Band, Orchestra & Choir

kids playing instruments

Third-Grade Music
Students in third grade will have a year of musicianship, ensemble skills and instrumental technique emphasis on the soprano recorder. Although we are keeping our District provided instruments and books as “in-class” materials, parents and students are welcome to purchase their own book and recorder to practice throughout the school year.
During each lesson, students will build a working knowledge of musicianship through the practice and performance of their instruments. In each lesson we will focus on these important aspects as we try to answer some very important questions:
A. Technique / Music Reading - What are we trying to play on our instrument? What is the technique used for? How does it help us perform well?
B. Practice - How can we learn a technique that seems difficult to play? What are the steps we can take to learn a song? How can the CD and DVD help us during home practice?
C. Performance - What does the song or exercise sound like with a good sound and articulation?

Instrumental Music Education
In the fourth grade, all students will play an instrument. Classes meet twice a week for 40 minutes. Fifth-grade students receive music twice a week for forty-five minutes. Fourth-graders may choose to play the violin, clarinet, or trombone. In the fifth grade, students may continue with the same instrument, select a different instrument, or join the chorus. Students will receive choice letters in April. Please be sure to complete and return the form by the due date.

Fourth-Grade Band
The fourth-grade band program meets twice a week at the elementary schools. Band students will learn the basics of instrument care and maintenance, how to hold and play the instrument safely, and basic rehearsal and concert etiquette. Students are offered either clarinet or trombone. The emphasis is on instrumental technique, music reading, and ensemble skills. By the end of the year, students will have learned the first five notes (or more) of the B-flat major scale and be able to read, count and describe the whole note, half note, quarter note and equivalent rests.  Students will also learn conducting cues.

Fourth-Grade Orchestra
Students in Fourth-Grade Orchestra learn the basics of instrument care and maintenance, how to hold and play the instrument, and basic rehearsal and concert etiquette. Basic music literacy includes both pitch and rhythm recognition and the ability to play those pitches and rhythms on their instruments. Pitches on all open strings and fingered pitches E, F#, G, A, B C#, D, as well as eighth notes, quarter notes, and half notes are introduced and practiced.

Fifth-Grade Band
Music reading skills and instrumental technique exercises are accomplished with daily method book studies from Essential Elements, Book 1. The Fifth-Grade Band will perform at both a Winter and a Spring school assembly concert during the year. Students will learn the full 8 notes of B flat major scale and add eighth notes and dotted quarter notes and dotted half notes. In the second half of the year, band students will rehearse and perform a variety of fun band arrangements incorporating bass lines, harmony, and counterpoint. Instrument choices expand to include: flute, clarinet, trumpet and trombone.

Fifth-Grade Orchestra
Students in the Fifth-Grade Orchestra learn the basics of instrument care and maintenance, how to hold and play the instrument safely, and basic rehearsal and concert etiquette. Fifth-Grade Orchestra students further refine basic pitch and rhythm skills. Viola, cello, and bass are offered in addition to the violin. Pitches through one octave in D major and G major are reviewed. Concert repertoire is more advanced than fourth-grade and may include pieces with two or more parts, with a focus on reading and musicality.

Fifth-Grade Choir
In the fifth grade students begin to learn basic techniques for choral singing, which includes learning about proper breathing and vocal production. They will perform music in a wide variety of styles, and the repertoire will include songs sung in unison and in harmony. Students are also exposed to literature in different languages highlighting various cultures. Music reading skills and theory and ensemble techniques are also taught at this time. Students perform twice a year at their school.

Got Extra Instruments Lying Around?
Thinking about donating to the Miller Creek School District Music Department? The Music Dept. is always in need of good, used instruments for our program. This year we loaned out over 100 instruments to students.  If your child has a violin that is too small, or a clarinet or trumpet not being played - please consider donating to us.  You will receive a donation letter (tax-deductible) from the school district for the market value of the instrument.  
Email Steve Steinberg: for more information.

3-5 Music Teacher Contact Info

Orchestra Director & Department Chair:  Sherry Vakharia:

Choir Director & Third Grade Music: Samantha Nickel:

Band Director & Third Grade Music:  Mercedes Castro: