Hello and welcome to 5th and 6th grade Orchestra. My name is Mr. Jacques, pronounced "Jakes", yeah it's a weird one, but whatever... Anyway, I was born and raised in Arizona, did the whole band-and-orchestra thing all through high school and college, taught some band, taught some general music, taught some orchestra, and now here I am, teaching orchestra to you... or, your kid, more than likely. The kids don't read these, do they? I mean, if they do, then they really shouldn't be all surprised when they eventually learn my first name. It's right there at the top of the page. It should be the first thing they learn about me you'd think....
My Education and Professional Background
I graduated from Northern Arizona University with a GPA. (Pause, for comedic effect.) I grew up mostly a band kid, so I went to college fully expecting to be a high school band teacher. After a year of teaching elementary band in thy-neighboring-district-that-mustn't-be-spoken-of I soon found my way to HUSD, and along the way a passion for teaching General Music to all the students K-6. However, there were two problems:
First, I spent many years teaching the recorder to 10 year-olds all for the purpose of "if you like this, do band next year". There was no orchestra to prepare my students for, it was just band, band, band. Even as a band kid myself, this was not acceptable. I paid enough attention in college to know that a successful music program at the high school level and within the local community in general starts with having both band AND orchestra in the elementary schools. So I did it. I gathered another music teacher friend, we rallied an army of parents, typed up a few emails along the lines of "Give us Orchestra or else!" And they were like " OK, have orchestra." And we were like "wow, that worked..." so here we are....
Secondly, the Ks. I tell you what, those kindergarten teachers deserve a statue out in front of the school. Don't get me wrong, five year-olds are wonderful... in a couple years.
My Educational Philosophy
I believe that playing music, learning an instrument in band or orchestra, or singing in a choir makes people better. I want to try and make people better, because better people will make for a better world. I'm also sorry if I ever sent your 10 year-old home with a recorder.
Welcome to Orchestra!
I'm very excited to get back to a new year of orchestra! Below please find the list of required supplies. Please pay special attention to No. 2 below. Please, do not buy a string instrument for cheap online from a site like Amazon or other big box stores. Especially if they are pink, purple, blue, green, or some other wacky color that a violin should never be. You and your child will definitely not be happy with it.
Required Orchestra Supplies:
In order to be successful playing their instrument, students will need the following supplies:
- Essential Elements, Book 1 - For your specific instrument.
- An Instrument - Instruments should be rented from a local music store, or if otherwise unable to, from the school. Please do not buy an inexpensive instrument from a big box retailer or Amazon.
- Rosin - Available at a local music store or online.
- Cleaning Cloth - Simply a small, dry, microfiber cloth. NO POLISH!
- Violin/Viola - Shoulder Rest (I recommend the Everest Shoulder Rest), Cello - Floor Stop (chair strap or rubber stop works fine).
If there's any reason, financially or other, please reach out and I will do what I can to get your child everything they will need. No child should have to miss out on musical opportunities due to financial or other hardships.
Optional Supplies - Great for birthday/christmas gifts!
- Music Stand - Helps keep music up and easy to see during practice sessions.
- Metronome - Helps keep your kids playing a steady tempo.
- Tuner - Used to keep our strings playing in tune.
- Extra Strings - Because strings will break.
- Shoulder Strap for case - Because kids don't like carrying things.