FAYM

FAYM

Fredericksburg Area Young Musicians

Orchestra Curriculum, Auditions and Testups

New Orchestra students with previous experience must audition to be placed in the correct level. Please sign up for the EARLIEST AVAILABLE audition day. Click here to sign up for an audition.


Students in any of the orchestra, percussion, or band classes may test up to the next level before each semester begins. Students are encouraged to ask for assistance when practicing for their next level test. When the student feels like he is ready, he may sign up to test to the next level. However, testing up is not required by any student at any time. The student may stay in his current level for as long as he likes, as long as he is comfortable at that playing level.

This page lists both the current curriculum for each level (what will be taught) and what needs to be mastered before moving up to the next level (the testing requirements). 


Curriculum for Orchestra Classes

 

Curriculum for Intro Strings (introductory level):

In Intro Strings, students will learn the basics of their instruments, including set up, proper care, how to hold their instruments correctly, posture, position, fingering, how to produce a good tone, and basic bowing skills. Beginning notation will also be introduced, including reading notes on the staff, and elementary rhythms. Rhythms include the quarter note/rest, half note/rest, whole note/rest, dotted half note, and eighth note pairs. Students will learn major and minor 4-note scale patterns on each string, including the names of these notes.

Intro Strings students usually only spend one semester in this class, unless the teacher determines that students need more confidence in these skill areas.



Curriculum for Strings 1 (beginning level):


In Strings 1, students will continue to develop good posture/position habits. A big focus of this class is developing strong reading skills. Rhythms studied include all previously learned rhythms, plus the eighth note/rest, and dotted quarter/eighth note. Students will learn four different 5-note finger patterns on each string. Violins/Violas will learn to use the 4th finger. Cellos will learn forward and back extensions. Basses will learn to shift. Good intonation will be stressed. Bowing techniques will be discussed. Students will also learn the D, C, and G major scales with arpeggios. Sound Innovations Book 1 will be used.  Assignments from this book will be assessed through the SmartMusic program.

Strings 1 students can not test out of this level until all skill requirements are confident.


Curriculum for Strings 2 (elementary level):

In Strings 2, students will continue to develop a good tone and be confident with intonation. Bowing technique and various articulations will continue to be developed. Students will learn the D, G, C, F, and Bb major scales with arpeggios, and b, e, g, d, and a natural minor scales with arpeggios (one and two octaves), Students will study and play five different 5-note finger patterns on all strings, be comfortable with beginning shifting exercises (3rd position), and read and write all notes on every string. Rhythms studied include all previously learned rhythms, plus eighth rests, eighth note/rest combinations, dotted quarter/eighth note combinations, sixteenth notes/rests, 16th/8th note combinations, triplets, and compound meters. Cellos will learn to shift. Students will practice beginning tuning using the fine tuners. Sound Innovations Book 2 will be used. Assignments from this book will be assessed through the SmartMusic program.

Strings 2 students can not test out of this level until all skill requirements are confident.



Curriculum for Strings 3 (intermediate level):

In Strings 3, students will continue to develop more intermediate playing and ensemble skills. Students will learn at least 8 major scales with arpeggios, and at least 6 harmonic minor scales and arpeggios in 2 octaves. Violin/Viola students will continue learning how to shift into several positions, and all students will learn the beginning basics of vibrato. Rhythms studied include all previously learned rhythms, plus sixteenth notes/rests, 16th/8th note combinations, triplets, syncopation, and compound meters. All students in Strings 3 will study the Junior Regional Orchestra audition requirements. Essential Technique Book 3 (green book) will be used. Assignments from this book will be assessed through the SmartMusic program.

Strings 3 students can not test out of this level until all skill requirements are confident.


Students in Strings 3 will be tested in class periodically to make sure they are keeping up with the class requirements. Students who consistently fail these assessments will be moved to an easier level of strings.



Curriculum for Strings 4 (advanced level):

Students must be taking private lessons to be admitted into this level.

In Strings 4, students will continue to develop advanced playing and ensemble skills. Rhythms studied include all previously learned rhythms, plus mixed meter, uncommon time signatures, and advanced rhythmic concepts. Students will learn 12 major scales and 6-8 melodic minor scales, played in 3 octaves. Students at this level should already have a developed vibrato and be comfortable shifting into several positions. All students in Strings level 4 will study the Senior Regional Orchestra audition requirements.




Test Up and Audition Requirements for Orchestra 


Testing Notes:

  • all scales must be played in rhythm (all notes the same value)
  • students should be comfortable counting AND playing the rhythms listed
  • students will be asked to sightread a short example
  • it goes without saying that the requirements should be performed with a good tone and careful intonation, appropriate for the level
  • correct posture/position matters!
  • everything from the chart below should be mastered in order to move up to the next level


 
Testing into Strings 1
Testing into Strings 2
Testing into
Strings 3
Testing into Strings 4
(private lessons required)
Scales/arpeggios
none - know all note names for finger patterns 1 and 2 on all 4 strings
finger patterns 1-4 on each string with note names; D, G, and C major scales with arpeggios, one octave (violins G Maj. 2 octaves; violas/cellos C Maj. 2 octaves)
finger patterns 1-5 on all strings; D, G, C, F, Bb major scales with arpeggios; b, e, g, d, and a natural minor scales with arpeggios, at least one scale two octaves that shifts
8 major scales/arpeggios, 6 harmonic minor scales/arpeggios, all 2 octaves, some scales 3 octaves  
  rhythms
quarter note/rest, half note/rest, whole note/rest, dotted half note, eighth notes 
previously listed rhythms, plus eighth note/eighth rest combinations, dotted quarter/eighth note combinations
previously listed rhythms, plus sixteenth notes, syncopations, 16th/8th note combinations, triplets, compound meters
confidence reading/performing all advanced rhythms
 note reading
read/write all notes on all 4 strings
read/write all notes on all strings, including all accidentals
sightread with confidence full range of instrument
confident sightreading correct notes, rhythms, key signatures, and accidentals
 bowings/
articulations
 pizzicato, arco
arco, pizzicato, slurring, hook bows, staccato, spiccato, martele, double stops, retakes, bow distribution, bow control
previously listed bowings, martele, double stops, spiccato, advanced bow control and bow distribution
confidence in all bowing techniques
 shifting
violins/violas - none
cellos - none
bass - some shifting in the finger patterns
violins/violas - none
cellos - forward and back extensions
bass - shifting presented in book 1
violins/violas - beginning shifting into 3rd
cello - shifting of all finger patterns
bass - all shifting presented in book 2
comfortable shifting into several positions