Willow Wood Junior High Orchestra Handbook

Willow Wood Junior High Orchestra Handbook

Tomball ISD

Intermediate Orchestra

Leslie de Leeuw, Jordan Sheffield, Bryan Barrett
Orchestra Directors

Wildcat Logo

Student/Parent Handbook

2016 - 2017

Calendar of Events

October 11

Fall Concert

6 PM -Tomball Memorial High School Auditorium

December 12

Winter Concert

6 PM – Tomball Memorial High School Auditorium

May 23

Spring Concert

6 PM – Tomball Memorial High School Auditorium

Students should be in their chair

on stage by 5:30 for all concerts!


Congratulations! You have chosen to be a part of an outstanding organization here at Northpointe and Oakcrest Intermediate Schools. By enrolling in orchestra your entire family has signed up for a truly unique experience. I hope that you will approach the upcoming year with the same excitement that we have.

Please take the time to read through this handbook as a family. It contains the various policies and procedures concerning the orchestra program as well as the calendar of events for the year. We firmly believe that family support is crucial, not only to the success of the student, but the overall program as well

After you have read through the handbook, please sign and return the required form at the back of the handbook. Retain the remainder of the handbook at home so that you may refer to it when necessary. Please return the form at the end of this handbook by Friday, August 26th.

We hope that this handbook will answer all of your questions. However, if you need anything else please don’t hesitate to let us know. We are here to make this the best possible musical experience for you and your student.


Leslie de Leeuw Bryan BarrettJordan Sheffield

Director of Orchestras,Director of Orchestras Assistant Director of Orchestras

Willow Wood JHTomball Memorial HS Willow Wood JH

Northpointe IntermediateOakcrest Intermediate NorthpointeOakcrest Intermediate

281-357-3030 x1288281-357-3230 ext.1107 281-357-3030 x 1288

Program Vision

Tomball Independent School District

The purpose of the Tomball Independent School District Orchestra Program is to provide high quality orchestral, ensemble, and solo training for young musicians. The TISD Orchestra Program offers professional musical guidance and a variety of performance and social experiences. Dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in musical education and performance, the orchestra provides the opportunity for students to discover within themselves a source of enrichment, beauty, and a means aesthetic expression, which will last a lifetime.

The Role of the Student

As a member of the Oakcrest and Northpointe Orchestras, our success depends on you! Each orchestra member is a vital part of the team and is expected to try his/her best at everything we do. Everyone is in orchestra to better themselves as musicians; therefore the expectation is to have an attitude of positivity, encouragement, and good sportsmanship.

The Role of the Parent

We firmly believe that family support is an integral part, not only to the success of the student, but to the overall program as well. The parent can help with numerous orchestra-related details to:

  • Help your child be present, on time, and organized to do his/her best at all functions.
  • Help your child to find time to practice daily.
  • Help your child care for his/her instrument. An instrument in need of repair will make practicing very discouraging. In addition, many parents find that eighth grade is a good time to upgrade the quality of their child’s instrument.
  • Help your child learn to use a personal calendar, which can anticipate schedule problems. Log onto Charms to see the monthly calendar updates and help your child keep his/her commitments to the orchestra program.
  • Attend performances! Applaud your child and the orchestra, because the recognition will be well-deserved.
  • Enroll your child in private lessons.
  • Communicate with the directors should any difficulties arise.

You will be rewarded by the opportunity to see your child learn to function as a vital part of a goal-oriented group and hear the tremendous progress each child can make!

Course Description

This course is designed to introduce the fundamental principles of musicianship. Through this course students will develop a better understanding of musical terminology, musical literature, playing technique, ensemble performance, and concert etiquette.

Students in Orchestra will develop the following skills and concepts:

  • Self-discipline, self-confidence, responsibility, and dependable behavior
  • Respect for others, loyalty to the ensemble, and pride in the organization
  • Respect for and proper use of equipment
  • The ability to work cooperatively with others toward performances in large and small ensembles
  • A high degree of music reading encompassing: correct rhythm, appropriate tempo, right and left hand technique, dynamics, precision, and the ability to be versatile and adjust to any given musical situation
  • A high level of quality artistry through individual musical awareness, control, and technical facility
  • The knowledge of a wide variety of orchestral literature
  • A functional knowledge of music history, theory, and terminology
  • The ability to comprehend and foster higher-level thinking skills

Grading Criteria

Orchestra follows the district policy of 40% Daily Grades and 60% Major Grades. There will be a minimum of 9 daily grades and 3 major grades per grading period. We follow the district policy for late work: -15 after one day. Additional grades may be taken at the teacher’s discretion.

Daily Grades – 40%

  • Posture and Participation
  • Students will be given a weekly rehearsal participation grade. All students who actively participate in rehearsals and bring all of their materials receive a 100 for this grade. Some examples of participation grade deductions are: no instrument, no binder/music, disruptive behavior/talking during rehearsal, etc.
  • Practice Sheets
  • Students are expected to keep track of and fill out their practice sheet, have a parent sign to verify, and turn in the practice sheet on the assigned due dates. Honesty is key in practice sheets: if a student’s performance and practicing does not line up or if the parent signature is called into question, consequences will be dealt should a student be found cheating.
  • Quizzes

Major Grades – 60%

  • Performance Tests
  • Chair placement for performances will be determined by the student’s practice sheet participation, rehearsal etiquette (including having the necessary supplies), and the sum of all tests.
  • Concert Attendance

Absence Policy

Orchestra is a performance-based course. Students are required to attend all performances listed on the Calendar of Events. Students will receive a grade based upon attendance at these concertswhich is 50% performance participation and 50% audience participation. Students will not be excused to leave the performance early.In addition, all students are required to attend all morning and afternoon sectionals and performances as applicable.

Excused absences will only be considered for the following reasons:

  • Medical Emergency
  • Death in the family
  • Religious Holiday
  • Excused school absence
  • One time family event (such as a wedding) - must be approved in advance by the director

Excused absences are granted at the discretion of the directorfor concerts/major performances, parent notification must happen at a minimum of 10 days prior to the event.

All absences require communication between the parent and director via phone call, e-mail, or a parent-written note. Verbal excuses from students are not acceptable. Students who have an unexcused absence from a rehearsal or concert will not be eligible for non-mandatory orchestra trips.

Orchestra Supplies

It is expected that students come with all of their materials on a daily basis. Not having the supplies will affect the student’s rehearsal grade.

  • 1” black binder, pencil pouch, two pencils, one highlighter, and dividers
  • Essential Elements for Strings (for your instrument)
  • Soft Polishing Cloth
  • Shoulder rest (violins and violas)
  • Endpin strap (cellos and basses)
  • Folding music stand (for home)
  • Metronome and Tuner – recommended: KorgMetroTuner ($30) or Tonal Energy App ($3.99)

Uniform Requirements

We not only want to sound like an outstanding group, we want to look like an outstanding group. In order to accomplish this, all students must follow the orchestra dress code for concerts. Students will be notified in advance as to whether the concert will be informal or formal.

Informal – Orchestra T-shirt, blue jeans and tennis shoes.

Formal - Sunday best (no jeans or tennis shoes)

  • Girls – Dress/Skirt or pants
  • Boys – Dress pants and a shirt with a collar


All students must acquire an instrument to participate in orchestra. We encourage students to look into getting a “step up” instrument of higher quality starting in the eighth grade, as well as purchase an instrument that will last through high school when a student starts the high school program. If you are thinking of purchasing an instrument please consult your director before doing so. We are professionals and want to make sure you get the most for your money. Please avoid purchasing instruments online/through eBay. Instead,we recommend that the instrument be purchased from the local string shop where the student previously rented; you apply your previous rental payments towards the purchase of a step up instrument.

Violin/Viola: All violin and viola players are provided with an instrument locker to store their instrument. TISD is not responsible for lost or stolen items. Lockers should be kept clean at all times.

Cello/Bass: Cello and bass players are required to have a personal instrument for at home practice and performances; however, TISD will provide the student with instruments to use at school.

Instrument Repair: All instruments should be kept in excellent playing condition. This includes regular bow re-hairs and string replacement. If your child’s instrument is in need of repair please contact your rental shop immediately. Do not try to repair the instrument yourself! If an instrument is put in the shop the student needs to give his/her director a note describing the circumstances no later than the first class day of the occurrence.

Instrument Lockers (Violin & Viola): All violin and viola players are provided with an instrument locker. It is the student’s responsibility to keep the locker locked at all times. Tomball ISD is not responsible for lost or stolen items. The lockers should only contain materials needed for orchestra class. Lockers should be kept clean at all times.

Orchestra Expectations

Rehearsal Expectations

  • Enter the classroom quietly.
  • Respect your classmates and the orchestra room.
  • Listen and remain silent for the entirety of the rehearsal. If you have a question, raise your hand.
  • Have yourinstrument, music, pencil, and all required equipment at your chair.
  • When the conductor stops, immediately stop playing and wait for instructions.
  • Finger nails are to be kept short at all times. The student must be able to place his/her finger tips on a flat surface and have each knuckle curved without the nail interfering. Acrylic or fake nails are permissible, but must be kept at the same shortness as natural nails.

Rehearsal Facilities

  • Food, drinks, gum, and candy are not allowed in the orchestra room.
  • Instrument lockers are to be kept clean at all times.
  • Keep the orchestra room clean.
  • Practice rooms are for music practice only.
  • Only authorized students are allowed in the storage rooms, office, and the music library.
  • Non-Orchestra members are not allowed in the orchestra room unless they have permission from the director.


  • Music will be passed out one time only. If you are absent, ask for the music before class on the day of your return.
  • All music must be kept in a black, 3-ring binder.
  • All music must be at every rehearsal with its owner. Do not assume your stand partner will bring theirs.
  • Write bowings, fingerings, etc. immediately when you are given the information.

Private Lessons

The private lesson program in Tomball ISD is a great resource for students of all ability levels. As teachers, we try to individualize instruction as much as possible; however, we cannot recreate the environment that takes place in a one-on-one setting.

When enrolled in private lessons, students will be placed with an expert on his/her instrument and will meet with his/her teacher during orchestra class or after school on a weekly basis. During the lesson, the teacher will focus on the individual needs of each student.

A common misconception is that private lessons are only for those students who are behind. Private lessons are an outstanding way to increase your ability level no matter where you’re at now!

Tomball ISD’s lesson rate is $21 per lesson and is billed on a six weeks or semester basis. Your student’s private teacher will instruct you on how to pay.

Charms Office Assistant

Charms Office Assistant is our way of keeping in touch with you! This program allows us to send e-mails, send concert reminders, prepare for trips, prepare for concerts, and keep your information up-to-date with us.

The most important thing you can do for us is to update you and your student’s information!

How to Log-In

  • Go to
  • Scroll over “ENTER/LOGIN” and select “Parents/Students/Members”
  • School Code:WillowWoodOrch
  • The Student Area Passwordis defaulted to your child’s Student ID number.
  • To update your information:
  • Click the second icon at the top that will read “Student Info” and then click “Personal Information”
  • Type any updates for the student and make sure to click the green update button when you are done.
  • Click “Add Adult” if this is your first time entering your information; if it is not your first time entering parent information, click your name at the bottom of the screen. Type any updates and make sure to click the green update button when you are done. The most important information to add for the parent is the home address, phone number, and e-mail address (the rest of the information is not necessary).
  • Please double-check all e-mail addresses!We have received many bounced e-mails because of accidental typos.

Please log-on and update all student/parent information by Friday, August 26th!

Contact Information

Leslie de Leeuw Bryan BarrettJordan Sheffield

Director of Orchestras,Director of Orchestras Assistant Director of Orchestras

Willow Wood JHTomball Memorial HS Willow Wood JH

Northpointe IntermediateOakcrest Intermediate NorthpointeOakcrest Intermediate

281-357-3030 x1288281-357-3230 ext.1107 281-357-3030 x 1288


Orchestra Fee, Student Name: ______

Rather than requesting several different payments from students throughout the year, every student will pay a one-time Orchestra Fee of $20. This payment will cover the cost of tee-shirts and books. It does not cover any other miscellaneous items that come up throughout the year.

Check all at apply:

____ One-time Orchestra Fee:$20.00

Student Tee-Shirt Size: YL S M L XL XXL


____ Additional Tee-Shirts (optional)

Number of Shirts ____ x $9 = ______

Tee-Shirt Size: YL S M L XL XXL

____ Wildcat Orchestra Hoodie (optional)

Number of Hoodies ____ x $32.00 = ______

Hoodie Size: YL S M L XL XXL


Payments may be made by cash (exact change), check, or money order. Checks and money orders should be made out to Willow Wood Junior High. Please check your method of payment. If you are paying by check please note the check number used.

____ Cash____Check # ______Money Order # ______

Due by Friday, August 26th

Statement of Understanding

As a student and member of this orchestra, I have read this handbook and calendar, and understand the membership requirements, particularly in regard to study, practice, and concert attendance.

As a member of this orchestra, I will assume the obligations and responsibilities and do my utmost to accomplish the objectives and follow all principles, rules, and regulations.


Student's Printed Name


Student's signature Date

As parents of this child, we understand the rules and regulations which our child is expected to follow. We will do our best to support our child in his or her orchestra activities. We have seen and retained a copy of the yearly orchestra calendar.

By signing, I also verify that I have updated my Charms account with accurate e-mail and phone number information.


Parent’sPrinted Name


Parent's signature Date

Due by Friday, August 26th