Monday, December 7, 2015

Concert Details

Hello Parents,
Here are the details for our upcoming concerts:

6th Grade Orchestra, Fiddlers, and Cello Choir
When: Monday, December 14th
Time: Students Report by 6:00 PM, Concert is at 6:30 PM
Where: Durham Theater
Uniform for 6th Grade: DMS White Polo shirt, Black Dress Pants/Floor Length Skirt, Black Dress Shoes

Fiddlers: Wear Green Fiddlers T-Shirt and Jeans
Cello Choir: Formalwear/Uniforms

7th Grade Orchestra and 8th Grade Orchestra
When: Tuesday, December 15th
Tine: Students Report by 6:30 PM, Concert is at 7:00 PM
Where: Durham Theater
Uniform: Tuxedos and Black Gowns, Black Dress Shoes

Feel free to contact me with any questions you may have!

Mrs. Aikey

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Orchestra Updates- Busy Times!!

Hello Everyone,

We have quite a few important Orchestra updates!!

Playing Tests: First of all, our 7th and 8th Graders are completing their playing tests on their Winter Concert music! What I've heard so far is sounding great and you can expect those grades to be posted some time this weekend. I am working on getting a system called Charms started up. Once it's ready, your child will actually be able to record their own playing tests via their phone/tablet from home or on the computer at school. I will let you know when we get started on that!

Concerts: Orchestra Winter Concerts will be here soon! Our 6th Grade, Fiddlers, and Cello Choir Concert is on Monday, December 14th. Our 7th and 8th Grade concert is on Tuesday, December 15th. Please make sure your students are squared away on their formal wear. (7th and 8th graders wear their formal uniforms, 6th Graders wear the Durham Music Department polo (or just a plain white polo shirt if they do not have a DMS polo) with black dress pants or floor length black dress skirt. All students are expected to wear black/dark socks and black/dark dress shoes as well. Please let me know if you need help with this.

Fundraiser: We are also still working on our fundraiser! We have only met about 15% of our fundraising goal of $8, please donate and encourage others to donate if you can! This will help to bring in sectional coaches so your students can have maximized individual instruction! :) We recently had Atlanta Symphony member So-Chun Su work with our 7th graders this week! I hope to have more special guests and opportunities like this for all grade levels in the future. The Music Department is working on getting 8th Grade Fundraiser for the Disney trip started...more details to come!

6th Grade Field Trip to the ASO: The 6th Grade Music Department will be attending an Atlanta Symphony Orchestra concert on February 10, 2016. The fee for this trip is $26 and includes a Chick-Fil-A Lunch, ticket to the show, buses, etc. We need at least 6 Orchestra chaperones...first come, first serve! I need the forms back by December 15 so we can make a ticket order.

Honor Orchestra Auditions: Any 8th, 7th, or 6th grade student with more than one year of playing experience is eligible to audition for District 12 (Cobb Co.) Middle School Honor Orchestra! I am handing out the information today in class. I need to know who is auditioning and need the $18 registration fee by Wednesday, December 16th. The auditions are on January 21, 2016 at Mabry Middle after school, and the Honor Orchestra event is Friday, February 26 and Saturday, February 27. Please encourage your experienced player to audition! :)

Phew, I think that's it! Let me know if you have any questions or concerns! Thank you everyone for your continued support of the DMS Orchestra program! Here's a holiday picture of 5-month-old Claire Aikey. :)  See you all soon at our Winter Concerts!

-Mrs. Aikey

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Durham Symphonic Orchestra

Hello Parents and Students,
We will be starting the Durham Symphonic Orchestra on November 4th! The DSO is an audition-only group that features strings, winds, brass, and percussion! We will rehearse every Wednesday morning at 8 am. Any 7th or 8th grade student is welcome to audition. The auditions will be held before school at 8 am in the Orchestra Room (922) on Tuesday, October 27th and Wednesday, October 28th.  Please plan to come on Tuesday or Wednesday morning and arrive at 8 to warm-up and be ready to audition. If there are any additional questions, feel free to ask me. Here are the audition requirements:

G and C Major Scales, Sight-reading (provided by Mrs. Aikey)

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

8th Annual TV and Movie Music Extravaganza!

8th Annual TV and Movie Music Extravaganza!!!
Featuring the Durham and Allatoona Orchestras

When:  Thursday, 10/29/15.  Students report at 7:00 PM.  Concert starts at 7:30PM.
Where:  Allatoona High School Gym
Who:  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.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Braves Game Information

Students will report to the theater after picking up their instruments on Tuesday after 6th period. We will then take attendance and put them into chaperone groups,l oad buses and depart at 4:00.  We may have to wait for a short time at Turner Field on the buses before they take us down to the field.  We will warm up rehearse and then perform the anthem.  After the performance, instruments coming back to school will go onto the buses. Parents who are taking their children home will need to meet us at the East Gate bus drop off near section 129 to get their instruments.  After the instruments have been dropped off, the students will enter the stadium in chaperone groups and eat dinner (students will need money for food) and then sit in their seats. Students must stay with their chaperone group at all times.  We will depart Turner Field at 9:30 PM. Students going home with parents will be released to parents at that time. Please make sure you sign them out with their chaperone.   We will arrive back at Durham at approximately 10:30 PM.  All of our tickets are in the Braves Bullpen area, therefore, seating should be pretty flexible.  Students will wear White Durham Polo Shirts/Jeans and sneakers. The students must be wearing sneakers in order to play on the field. Please emphasize to your child the importance of being attentive and listening to instructions as they receive them.  We should have a great time!! Yay Durham Music!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

What's Happening in Orchestra!

Hello Everyone,

I am so glad to be back at Durham! So far, it's been a wonderful but hectic week! Special thanks to all of the awesome Orchestra students for being patient and bearing with me as I return from maternity leave. Here is what is going on in Orchestra for each grade level:

ALL ORCHESTRA PARENTS: 1. Please make sure you have submitted the form for parent email on the blog below this post!!
2. The orchestra room is lacking tissues and we have a lot of allergies happening! If anyone can donate a box of Kleenex, that would be great!!
3. I could definitely use a parent volunteer to help me some time in the next week with lockers and other miscellaneous things, particularly with 6th Graders. If anyone has time available (especially from 2:15-4pm) and would be willing to help, I would be forever grateful!!

6th Grade: I am still trying to tighten up some odds and ends with the 6th Grade class. I am THRILLED that we have 140 students excited to be involved in strings, but it is taking some time to get everything squared away! Most violins and violas have their fingerboard tapes on their instruments if they have brought their instrument in, and cellos and basses will be assigned to students tomorrow. If your student is using any school instrument, expect to see a green form coming home by tomorrow that needs to be signed in order for your child to use a school instrument. I hope to get started with teaching the students the proper posture and position for "plucking" their instruments by Friday; if not, we will get started by Monday! Please email me with any questions or concerns at

7th Grade: All 7th grade students should have received information about ordering Uniforms. I have sent out an email to former Orchestra students asking about selling/donating uniforms and will email out a list of those discounted uniforms on Monday. Those discounted uniforms will be first come, first serve. The purchasing deadline for Uniforms will be extended to August 28 for Orchestra students. I apologize for the delay in receiving this information. In class, 7th graders are learning the A Major Scale, which involves the extension technique for cellos and "high 3s" for violins and violas. They are sounding great!! I am so thrilled with their progress so far.

8th Grade: 8th Graders will receive Behavior and Performance Contracts for the Disney trip soon, so be on the lookout for that within the next two days. Also, the Braves Game trip is now $35 due to transportation costs. In order for a student to play the National Anthem at the Braves Game, they MUST have the music you should be hearing some practicing at home if they plan to go. :) The 8th Graders are learning shifting and more advanced techniques in class and are doing a FABULOUS job!! It is so amazing to think of where they started in 6th Grade and to hear them now! 

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact me. Thank you so much!

Posting a picture of my daughter Claire just because. I can't believe she is 7 weeks old today!! :)

Jennifer Aikey

Monday, May 18, 2015

Breakfast for special groups

We will be having a Chick-Fil-A breakfast tomorrow morning for fiddlers, viola choir, and cello choir!
Students do not need to bring any food (unless they don't eat chicken minis or cinnamon buns....)
We will be in the orchestra room to celebrate a great year!   Tuesday, 8AM.  Be there.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Fiddlers:   Tuesday, 5/10
Performance at Ford Elementary, "Evening In The Garden"

Our performance time is 5:30 - 5:45 on the Blacktop Stage (behind the school).
Students were given parking passes to bring home.  These are needed even for drop-off on site.
Fiddlers should try to arrive between 5:00 - 5:15 in order to tune and be ready to play!

6th Grade Spring Orchestra Concert
With special guests:  Viola/Cello Choir & Durham Fiddlers

Date: Wednesday, May 6th
Time: 7:00 PM, (students report between 6:30 – 6:45 to tune and be seated)
Location:  Durham Theater
Uniform:  White Polo and Black Slacks

7th & 8th Grade Spring Concert has been moved to
Monday, 5/11 at 7PM.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Big Shanty Festival Is CANCELLED

I just found out that the entire festival is cancelled.   :(
This is the communication I received from the festival coordinator:

Dear Vendors,

After evaluating the show today and the Tornado Watch until 3:00 p.m. We are OFFICIALLY CANCELLING for today Sunday April 19th.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Help with LGPE: March 3 & 4

Hello!  If you are able to volunteer or donate for the Orchestra Evaluations on March 3 & March 4, please sign up below.  We are so thankful for your support in this way!



Friday, February 13, 2015

Upcoming Dates - Reminder

Upcoming Orchestra Dates
Please mark these dates, more details as events approach.

2/19:  Preview LGPE Concert.  7 PM.  All 7th and 8th Grade orchestra members.
3/3:    8th Grade LGPE.  Immediately after school.  All 8th grade members.
3/4:    7th Grade LGPE.  Immediately after school.  All 7th grade members.
3/19:  6th Grade Jamboree. Field trip after school.  At Harrison HS.  All 6th grade 
3/20 &21:      Honor Orchestra (students who were accepted by audition)
       3/31:  8th Grade orchestra night.  @ Harrison HS.  All 8th grade orchestra members

Friday, February 6, 2015

6th Grade Playing Test on #110

We will assess 6th grade on #110 "Minuet" starting on Wednesday, Feb 11th.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Audio Files for Honor Audtion

Students auditioning for Honor Orchestra can use these files to help with practice.  I made various practice tempos for you.    CLICK TO ACCESS AUDIO FILES

*Violin Excerpt 2:  I did not include the trill in the audio file, but you should practice the trill.  Even though it is pizzicato.   Use a technique similar to a "hammer-on" like a guitarist might use.
here's a recording :)  Leroy Anderson's Jazz Pizzicato