• Schertz-Cibolo-Universal City ISD

    Orchestra Handbook

    The orchestra program is not just another program or organization; it is a team whose members work diligently to support one another in every way.  Members are expected to practice daily at home, attend all extra rehearsals, participate in all concerts, take good care of their instruments and music, and exhibit mature conduct on and off the stage.


    • Enter the classroom quietly and in an orderly fashion.
    • Bring all materials daily – instruments, bows, music, rosin, pencils, shoulder pads, etc.
    • Always be on time.  By the time the bell rings you should be in your seat, instruments and music  out, and ready to begin tuning.
    • Practice and take instruments home daily.  We will be learning a lot of music and techniques, so with any skill practice is essential.
    • No food, drink, or gum during rehearsal. 
    • No cell phones or other electronic devices during rehearsal and class, unless directed otherwise.  Tuners are acceptable.
    • Respect the rights and properties of other people.
    • Follow all school rules.
    • Daily participation in rehearsal.  Orchestra is a team effort, which requires everyone cooperating and listening at all times to be successful.

    Failure to observe one or more of the rules above will result in one or more of the following disciplinary actions:  verbal warnings, written notices to parents, phone calls to parents, student/teacher conferences, lower conduct/participation grades, lower seating, detention halls, office referrals, etc.

    Required Materials 

    • Instrument (violin, viola, cello, or double bass).
    • Shoulder Rest (only violin and viola).
    • Rosin.
    • Soft Cloth (a bandana works great).
    • Rock-Stop (only cello and bass).
    • Technique Book (Corbett students: Essential Elements for Strings Book 2 for their instrument and Expressive Techniques for Orchestra for their instrument), (Clemens students:  Expressive Techniques for Orchestra for their instrument), (Beginning students also need the Essential Elements for Strings Book 1 for their instrument).
    • Metronome/Tuner or a Tuning App (some examples include:  Korg Tuner Metronome and Snark Clip On Tuner, but something similar will work too).
    • 1/2" or 1" black binder or black folder.
    • Extra set of strings (only violin and viola; appropriate size for their instrument).
    • Pencils.
    • Folding Stand (for home use).
    • Identification on outside of instrument case (e.g., luggage tag).


    The string program will offer instruction for violin, viola, cello, and double bass.  Students may choose any of these instruments and will stay with them for the duration of the year.  Students will be responsible for furnishing their instruments.  I recommend renting an instrument initially.  Many times, especially with young players, students are not in a full size instrument.  Renting allows you to get an appropriate size for the student and easily upgrade later.  Music stores will correctly size students and set them up for success.  Also, many stores offer insurance for their rentals.  These insurances usually cover most accidents that may occur to the instrument (e.g., broken bridges, tuners, and pegs; cracks; loose parts).  Keep in mind, insurance does not cover broken strings.  Generally strings break due to student carelessness or age.  Many music stores have a rent to own program, this is where rental fees go toward the purchase of the instrument.  I recommend any music store, as long as they have a reputable string repair shop. 

    If renting is not an option and you really want to purchase an instrument, please use the list of instruments as a guide to find a good beginning instrument.  This list of instrument brands has been recommended by many teachers and private instructors.  Also, please consult me or another string teacher for help with sizing.  Be careful when purchasing an instrument online or in pawn shops, if possible let me take a look at the instrument before purchase.  These instruments can often have damages that will require additional expenses, as well as costs for repairs that might possibly happen after purchase. 

    Some suggestions for instruments include:  Klaus Mueller, Knilling, Scherl & Roth, Lewis, Glaesel, Becker, Antonio Strad, Terra Nova, Eastman, and other German brands. 

    Formal Concert Attire -- Junior High Orchestra

    • Black dress shoes (no tennis shoes or flip flops).
    • Black hose/socks.
    • Concert black.  Options include:  black dress pants or skirt (skirt needs to fall below the knee when sitting); black blouse or dress shirt with collar, black blouse or dress shirt with collar; black dress (dresses need to fall below the knees when sitting; black tuxedos or suits will work (as long as they wear their jacket).  All students who wear a skirt or dress will also wear black pantyhose for all performances.

    Formal Concert Attire -- High School Orchestra


    • Black dress (school issued).
    • Black dress shoes (no tennis shoes or flip flops).


    • Black dress pants.
    • Black dress shirt, full length sleeve.
    • Black belt.
    • Black socks.
    • Black dress shoes (no tennis shoes or flip flops).

    Orchestra t-shirts -- Junior High and High School

    All students need to purchase an orchestra shirt in the fall semester.  We will have at least one concert where students will wear their orchestra shirts and blue jeans.  Also, these shirts will be used for other possible school trips.

    Extra Rehearsals

    Occasionally it is necessary to have extra rehearsals for combined performances.  These rehearsals are the only time where we can rehearse as a full group in order to prepare for concerts.  The rehearsals are required and part of a grade.  Please make plans to attend all of them and to arrive promptly so that we can tune and warm up.   Rehearsal for the entire group will take place prior to the concert. 

    To make last minute adjustments and preparations for concerts, the orchestra schedules dress rehearsals.  While it is not necessary to wear uniforms to these rehearsals, a final run-through and final polishing of the music will be the purpose of these rehearsals.  Again, these are required functions.  Students will receive notification of extra rehearsal dates as they become closer to the event.

    Music Festivals, UIL Contests, Extracurricular Events

    In order for students to participate in contest and extracurricular events (e.g., Fiesta Texas, class trips), students have to be academically eligible in all classes.  In addition, failure to follow orchestra class expectations and guidelines will and can result in ineligibility to participate in contests and extracurricular events.