Friday, December 1, 2017

Playing Tests and Upcoming Concerts!

We are busy preparing for our concerts! Every grade level has a current playing test to work on. 

8th Grade Playing Test (due Thurs Dec 7)1st Violins on Trepak- measures (mm) 57-end
1st Violins on African Bell Carol- mm. 89-end
Violas- African Bell Carol mm. 41-56
Cellos and Basses- Trepak mm. 17-30

7th Grade Playing Test (due Fri Dec 8)1st Violins on Santa Plays the Viola- mm. 12-27
1st Violins on Holly Jolly Medley- Letter C to 4 measures before E
Violas- Santa Plays the Viola mm. 32-43 (include pickup notes)
Cellos- Santa mm. 24-29
Basses- Hanukkah Song mm. 21-28

6th Grade Playing Test (due Mon Dec 11)All students play measures from Snowflakes
Violins- mm. 9-24
Violas and Cellos- mm. 25-32
Basses- mm. 17-32

All playing tests will be recorded on the Charms app. Here's how to log in:

School Code: DurhamOrch (caps do matter!)password/id: first 5 letters of their last name, followed by the first 5 letters of their first name. ex. Bailey Johnson would be johnsbaile

After they log in the first time, it will prompt them to change their password to something they will remember. After they change their password, they tap on the three lines in the top right hand corner and tap "Recording Studio" then tap the sheet of paper icon on the bottom and tap on the assignment to record. When they are finished recording, they can listen to what they have played and then submit it by pressing the checkmark. If they want to re-record it, they can exit out of that recording and redo it!

Here are all the details on our upcoming concerts:

6th Grade, Fiddlers, and Cello Choir Concert
Wednesday, December 13
Durham Theater
Students arrive by 6:30pm in the Orchestra room for tuning, Concert Starts at 7pm
Uniforms: 6th Grade- White Durham polo, black dress pants, black dress shoes (no tennis shoes or black jeans please!)
Cello Choir and Fiddlers wear their small group t-shirts and jeans

7th and 8th Grade Concert
Thursday, December 14th
Durham Theater
Students arrive by 6:30pm in the Orchestra room for tuning, concert starts at 7pm
All students wear their formal uniform (Girls black dresses, boys tux shirt, black tie, black pants) with black dress shoes (NO TENNIS SHOES!!!)

I will need parent volunteers for both concerts and will send out a sign-up for that soon. 

Thank you all SO much for your support of the Orchestra Program!! I'm looking forward to their concerts! :)

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Concert Cancelled

Tonight's concert at Allatoona is cancelled and will be rescheduled. I will let you know as soon as I know a rescheduled date. Thank you,

Jennifer Aikey

Monday, October 16, 2017

Fall Concert and Fiddlers Performance

For ALL Orchestra Students:

The 10th Annual TV/Movie Fall Concert!
When:  Thursday, 10/26/17.  Students report at 7:00 PM.  Concert starts at 7:30PM.
Where:  Allatoona High School GymWho:  All members of 6th, 7th, and 8th grade orchestras.  Plus AHS orchestras!
What:  Our first concert of the year! We will perform themes from TV and the Movies.
Costume:  To fit the theme of the concert, orchestra members are invited to wear a costume (a favorite TV or movie character, or something just plain fun).  Otherwise, regular casual school outfits will be fine for this concert.
*Please avoid costumes that might be considered offensive, unpatriotic, or otherwise scary for children in the audience!Arrival:  Middle school students should be at Allatoona at 7:00 PM, in order to tune and be set up.
Music Stand:  If you have your own portable music stand, please bring it to the concert.

Fiddlers Performance this weekend, for 7th and 8th Grade FIDDLERS ONLY:

Saturday, October 21st at the McKenna Farms Festival in Dallas, GA. McKenna Farms is an amazing therapy center that helps children with disabilities. (More info available here:
There is NO entry fee or parking fee for students who are performing or for their parents; just let them know at the front gate that your child is performing. If you and your family wish to stay and participate in the festival and games after the performance, you would need to pay the $10 entry fee then.
We need Fiddlers to arrive by 1:15pm on Saturday, Oct 21 for tuning and set-up, wearing their Fiddlers shirts and jeans. The performance starts promptly at 2pm. The performance should last about 30 minutes. If your child is unable to come and perform due to a prior commitment, please let me know so we can make arrangements. 

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

October Updates

Hello Durham Orchestra Families,

Tomorrow, your child will receive a practice log. This practice log is due on Friday, October 21. They should practice for 20 minutes 5 times between tomorrow and next Friday in order to receive a 100. The Orchestra room is open for Early Morning Practice every day from 8:15-8:50 if they need to practice at school.

The first concert of the year for all grade levels is the TV/Movie Music Concert on Thursday, October 26th at Allatoona High School in the gym. This is a fun combined concert with all grade levels from 6th-12th grade and all the levels of Orchestra at Durham and AHS! Each Orchestra will play 1-2 pieces each. All students should arrive by 7pm, with the concert starting at 7:30pm. Students are encouraged to wear costumes. If they do not have a costume, school clothes are fine for them to wear. We hope to see you there!

All 8th Graders attending the Disney trip and chaperones should have already paid $300 up to this point, between the $100 deposit and the $200 payment due last week. Please let me know if you have any questions about payment!

Thank you all again for your contributions to the Yankee Candle fundraiser! We will let you know as soon as we find out when the items will ship. We will need a lot of volunteer help the day of the fundraiser delivery.

Here's what each grade level is working on:

8th: We are rehearsing Colors of the Wind from Pocahontas, The National Anthem, and Somewhere Out There. The 8th Graders are doing very well! We are working on polishing our music and "thinking outside the box" to make the music more exciting!

7th: We are rehearsing Beauty and the Beast and Somewhere Out There. The 7th graders are making great progress, and we are working on improving our tone/sound and our intonation (playing in tune). They have awesome, positive attitudes!

6th: I'm sure 6th grade parents know now that we have taken out the bows and we are really working on getting a good sound on our instruments! They are learning Jaws and Middle School Story for their upcoming concert. Hopefully, you should be hearing them play some songs out of their book as well, as they have already played quite a few! (Hot Cross Buns, Twinkle, Jingle Bells, etc) They have been very eager and excited about Orchestra! Yay!

The Fiddlers have their first concert on October 21. If your child is in Fiddlers and you did not receive an email with information, PLEASE let me know immediately!

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us!

Thank you!

Mrs. Aikey and Mrs. Sanchez

Thursday, August 31, 2017

August/September Updates

Hello Parents,

The Charms system is now working. If you tried to login before unsuccessfully, everything should be working now. Charms is an amazing app for music teachers, as it allows our students to record playing tests, log their practice time, submit some forms, etc. through the app! Our 7th Grade students will be turning in a playing test on Charms that is due by the end of next week, and our 8th Graders completed a playing test in class today. Please have your child login to Charms and change their password if they have not already. Here are the login instructions:

Download the charms (blue student) app (if this has not been done already) or go to The app works on all iPhone, iPad, and Android/Google devices.

School Code: DurhamOrch
Password/ID: the first five letters of your child's last name, followed by the first five letters of their first name with no capitalization, dashes, or special characters. If their name is less than five letters, just enter their full name. (Ex: John King would be kingjohn, Jennifer Parker would be parkejenni)

After this, they would change their password to something they can remember. 

For 7th Graders recording their playing tests: 
1. Once you are logged into the app, tap the top right hand corner where the three lines are.
2. Tap "recording studio"
3. On the bottom, press the icon that looks like a sheet of paper, second from the left.
4. Press the red button next to 47- Rondeau Playing Test.
5. Press the big red button when ready to record.
6. Say ok to access the microphone
7. Record the playing test after the countdown, press the stop button when finished.
8. Students can play it back to listen before submitting by pressing the play button. If satisfied, they can press the check mark to send it to me. Press the check mark for the file name. If your child wants to re-record it, they can press the red button again to do it over again. 

If you have any questions about Charms, please let us know. Thank you!

All students should have turned in their blanket permission forms, handbook agreement, and instrument check out form. If you need one of those forms, they are available on the right hand side of this blog. Thank you!

Jennifer Aikey and Selena Sanchez

Friday, August 4, 2017

7th and 8th Grade

Hello 7th and 8th Grade Parents,

Please make sure your students have turned in the handbook form, blanket permission forms, and an instrument check out form (for school instruments) if they have not already! Also, all students should have a binder and instrument, and the 7th graders should also have Essential Elements book 2 by Monday. Thank you so much!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Welcome Back!

Hello Durham Orchestra Parents and Students! We are so excited to welcome you all back this year! I am so thrilled that Selena Sanchez will be joining us this year. She will be mostly working with 6th Grade, but hopefully the rest of the Orchestra will get a chance to know her as well. Here is some important beginning of the year info:

8th Grade: Please plan to bring your instruments on the second day of school. We want to get started right away so we can review some concepts and get started on new techniques with FUN music! You do not need to order any method books this year, as we have class sets of a couple of different 8th grade books. Please make sure your parents fill out and sign the last page of the new handbook AND the Blanket permission forms and please turn it in by August 4. PLEASE try on your Orchestra uniforms and make sure they fit so we can get you resized if a new uniform is needed!

7th Grade: Everyone in 7th Grade should have their Essential Elements Book 2 by Monday, August 7. Please call ahead to music shops before going to a store to obtain the books. We will be working on note reading review and are getting started with the books in class!  Please make sure your parents fill out and sign the last page of the new handbook AND the Blanket permission forms and please turn it in by August 4. We will be handing out information about Formal Uniforms within the first two weeks, and boys will be fitted for their uniforms at school during the second week of school. Please be on the lookout for those forms, as they will be due soon. Boys uniforms will be a little different than in the past, with the students wearing black pants, a black shirt, and a black tie. Girls uniforms will be the same as previous years (a black dress), so if you have obtained an Orchestra dress through a neighbor or friend, then you are good to go. Boys uniforms will be $68 and Girls uniforms are $64. Students must order through us so they will have matching uniforms. Please keep their 6th Grade polo shirt as it may be needed for other events.

6th Grade: Please come to the Music Night Open House on Thursday, August 10 from 7-8:30; this is a drop-in event, so come anytime that is convenient for you in that period to meet the music teachers and for your child to try the instruments one more time! We will get everyone signed up for classes on Friday, August 11.

Fiddlers and Cello Choir: Cello Choir will have its' first official rehearsal on Tuesday, August 8 and Fiddlers will have a rehearsal for new and returning members Thursday, August 10. Returning members from Fiddlers have a meeting Thursday, August 3 at 8:15am.

Please email us if you have any questions! Thank you!

---Jennifer Aikey and Selena Sanchez