• North Allegheny School District
    Marshall Middle School Orchestra Syllabus

    Mrs. Dana Leasure

    Orchestra, General Music, Adapted Music
    MMS Phone: 724-934-6060  Room: 110, 106
    Email: dleasure@northallegheny.org
    Blackboard: https://northallegheny.blackboard.com
    Website: http://www.northallegheny.org//Domain/1007

    MMS Orchestra: “Where ‘I’ Make a Difference”

    Welcome to Orchestra! North Allegheny has a long-standing tradition of excellence in its orchestra program. I hope to provide an experience in middle school orchestra that enriches students as individuals, as members of the orchestra family, and as musicians.

    Class Expectations

    1. Be Prepared. Have your instrument, music folder, pencil, and charged iPad.
    2. Less talking/plucking=more playing/learning. Silence begins once I step on the podium.
    3. No Gum in Music Classes. It is disruptive, and you will be asked to get rid of it.
    4. Be Present and Engage in Learning. Do not let your devices become a distraction.
    5. Be Kind and Respectful. A little goes a long way each and every day!

    Concert Dates (required--contact Mrs. Leasure if there is a conflict)

    December 5th, 2018 (2 pm):  In-School Concert Spring In-School Concert Date TBD (2 pm)
    December 6th, 2018 (7 pm):  Evening Concert May 2nd, 2019 (7 pm):  Evening Concert

    Concert Dress Code
    All performers will either all black OR black top and khaki pants/skirt.
    All performers will wear black/dark shoes.
    All Chamber Orchestra students will wear MMS Performing Arts Polos.
    All performers may optionally purchase an MMS Performing Arts Polo, which is a comfortable, sport-material black polo that comes in Youth, Ladies, and Adult sizes.
    See Mrs. Leasure for an order form (available soon). Orders will be placed in October.

    Our grading system is as follows: 90-100=A, 80-89=B, 70-79=C, 60-69=D, 59 or below=F Points will be earned each 12-week grading period in the following areas:

    • Musicianship Development and Preparation—performance assessments (benchmark assessments), music listening skills, written reflections, tests, goal-setting, and other assignments.
    • Class Participation—having a pencil, instrument, and music folder at all times, being on task, staying on task, participating in discussions, attitude and personal conduct.
    • Concert and Activity Period Rehearsal Attendance—attending required concerts and activity period (see Concert Dates above, Activity Period Rehearsals explained below).

    Required Materials-Instrument, music stand (for home), sturdy music folder/binder, rosin, tuner
    6th Grade:  Essential Elements, Book 2
    7th Grade:  String Basics, Book 2
    8th Grade:  String Basics, Book 3, Essential Elements 2000, Book 3
    Recommended:  shoulder rest (violin/viola), extra strings, rockstop (cello/bass), damp-it

    Instrument Expectations

    1. Cellos/basses do not have to come back and forth to school (with exception of concerts).
    2. Violins/violas should be brought to class every other day.
    3. Each student must have a rental or a purchased instrument for home practice.
    4. Instruments should be taken home regularly for weekly practice.
    5. All personal instrument cases must be clearly labeled with the student’s name. Brightly colored duct tape and sharpie or a sturdy luggage tag are best!
    6. Students may not share or borrow another’s instrument. It sets the precedent that it is OK for anyone to take anyone’s instrument because someone forgot theirs. It’s not OK.
    7. Any damages that occur to ANY person’s instrument (or school instrument) while in a student’s possession is that student’s responsibility.
    8. Instruments will be stored neatly on racks, however there isn’t space to store personal instruments in the orchestra room. Violins/violas should be stored on racks in the 6th grade hall (6th grade), 7th grade hall (7th grade) and storage closet across from the orchestra room (8th grade).

    Activity Period Rehearsals—Music Priority
    In addition to regular class rehearsals, there will be grade level rehearsals during selected activity periods (Music Priority). For example, the morning announcements may state: “Today we will be following an Activity Schedule with 6th Grade Music Priority.” This means all 6th grade music ensembles should report to their teacher to rehearse during activity period. Each month, Music Priority Rehearsals for 6th, 7th, and 8th grade will be scheduled on a rotation. These rehearsals are mandatory and part of the orchestra grade. Students must bring instruments on these dates, and they must let Mrs. Leasure know if they will be absent.

    Performance Assessments
    Formal performance assessments (playing tests) will occur at least once per 12-week grading period. Informal assessments will occur as needed to best guide instruction. Some tests will be live, while others may be submitted as a video to Google Drive.

    Practice regularly to improve your posture, instrument position, left/right hand position, rhythm, tone production, intonation, bowings, expression, sight-reading, note reading, fluency, and more. Students should aim to practice at least 200-400 minutes each month. Each musician has a very important role, and our success depends upon each student giving the very best they have to offer...no more, no less!

    Seats will be assigned for each concert. Seating the orchestra in the classroom will be flexible. Seats will rotate, and stand partners will change throughout the year at the director’s discretion. First and second violin placement will rotate as necessary in order to create equally strong violin sections that are balanced in ability and sound. Placement in one section versus the other does not determine achievement, progress, or musical talent, nor does it influence a student’s grade.

    Chamber Orchestra
    The Chamber Orchestra is a select orchestra that performs additional literature on Tuesdays before school from 7:10-7:55 a.m.. Work ethic, leadership, and commitment to the ensemble are as important as playing ability regarding the success of the ensemble. Rehearsals before school and performances are required. Auditions will be held before school in September. Once dates are announced, students may sign up for an audition time in class. Students will be placed in the ensemble at the director’s discretion.

    Courthouse Field Trip—Chamber Orchestra
    The Chamber Orchestra students will have an opportunity to perform at the Allegheny County Courthouse in late November/early December. This is a public performance that has been a long-standing middle school orchestra “rite of passage” at North Allegheny. Stay tuned for details!

    Private Lessons
    While private lessons are not required, students interested in private lessons should see Mrs. Leasure for a list of instructors whom you may then contact directly to schedule a lesson.


    Signature (10 point grade) –Due 9/4/18

    Please print and sign below. Feel free to contact Mrs. Leasure with any questions. Also, please include your preferred contact email addresses and phone numbers that I may use to keep in touch with you and communicate positive messages and important information throughout the year!


    “I have read the syllabus for middle school orchestra, and understand that my son or daughter is required to attend the two evening concerts unless they have an excused absence from school. I have read the ensemble dress code and grading policy and understand the course expectations and procedures.”

    Student Name (printed)_________________________________________Grade_____H.R._______


    Student Signature____________________________________________________________



    Parent/Guardian Name (printed)_____________________________________________________________

    Parent/Guardian Signature_______________________________________________Date__________


    Preferred Email #1______________________________________________________


    Preferred Email #2______________________________________________________


    Preferred Phone #1________________________


    Preferred Phone #2________________________

Last Modified on August 17, 2018