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Future Maus Orchestra Members

Ready to do something amazing? You will not regret it!

Dear 5th Grade Parents & Students,

You have made your way to our website because your child may be interested in learning an instrument in the Maus Orchestra. I am so excited to help you begin your instrumental journey! Scroll and read to the bottom as you explore instruments!!! 

Jamie Romo, Director of Orchestra
Brynne Taft, Assistant Director of Orchestra 

Maus Middle School





Violin Player



When do the orchestra classes meet?


Beginning orchestra meets as a regular class for 45 minutes at different times throughout the school day. Students are grouped into classes according to what instrument they play. The teacher-pupil ratio is kept low to facilitate individual supervision of student’s progress. Skills develop slowly at first, therefore, students and parents must be patient and committed for the entire school year in order to get the full benefit of orchestra instruction. Skills developed during beginner orchestra are to prepare students for 7th and 8th grade.  


What instruments are available to learn in beginning orchestra?


Beginners will have the opportunity to learn a string instrument: violin, viola, cello, or bass. Make sure and write orchestra down as your first choice elective to ensure proper class placement!


Is any previous musical training necessary?


No. The method books used in beginner orchestra are designed to facilitate the learning of all students regardless of previous musical training. We teach the fundamentals of reading music as well as the fundamentals of playing an instrument. As students’ progress, you will be able to recognize familiar tunes (by the time of our Winter Concert, you should be very impressed!). Their progress culminates in the Spring Concert at the end of the year. If you do have a musical background, then that is a plus but is definitely not required! Students who play piano typically do well on string instruments. If you play electric bass guitar or want to, then upright bass is a good option for you. (they have the exact same notes)If you play acoustic guitar, cello is a good choice. 


Can my child be successful even if I don't have musical talent?


Yes! The most important requirement for success is the desire to succeed. We begin students from a very basic yet detailed approach to learning the instrument. Students are taught basic fundamentals that will make them successful throughout their senior year in the Heritage High School Orchestra or the Independence High School Orchestra and beyond!


When do students need instruments?


Instruments will be needed on the first day of school. Locked storage for all instruments is provided in the orchestra room. Please make sure that the case is labeled with a nametag. Don’t wait too long, music companies can sometimes get backordered later in the summer. We will have a music company representative attend our instrument selection meeting for you to reserve an instrument for the fall.What about buying used instruments?   Some used instruments are a good bargain; however, you could possibly end up spending more money on repairs than the instrument is worth. For this reason, we ask that if you do decide to purchase a used instrument, let the orchestra director examine the classified listing or the instrument itself prior to purchase. Local music stores and former orchestra students are excellent sources of used instruments. You might see if the music companies have used instruments available. Please do not purchase instruments at a pawnshop or online. We have found that most of these instruments are of very poor quality. Also, please do not purchase a musical instrument from a department store. These instruments are poorly made, with inferior materials that once broken, are not usually repairable. Again, we recommend that you rent an instrument the first year from a local reputable music company. See Store links on our web site.


Can my child start playing as soon as he/she gets their instrument?


 In order to prevent potential damage to the instrument and the formation of bad habits, we prefer that the instrument stay in the case during the summer. If you attend summer camp, they will show you the ropes on how to uncase and hold your instrument. When you rent/purchase from a music company, the store will deliver the instrument and materials to our orchestra room before the first day of school, where they will stay until after formal instruction has been given on the care and assembly of the instrument. This is to protect your investment! An additional option for eager students is to start orchestra in the summer with a private lesson teacher. This is a chance to get one-on-one help and be set-up for success with one of the professional musicians who teach on our campus each week. The teachers understand that some lessons might have to be rescheduled due to family vacations. A list of private teachers that teach on campus at Maus is listed on our website and will also be provided at the instrument selection meeting. 


In 7th grade & 8th grade, can my child participate in both athletics and orchestra at the same time? 


Yes! If it fits on your schedule, we can make it work.  There are many middle school students who are in orchestra, athletics, and other classes such as theater, art, Spanish, etc.  Because of the unique nature of playing a musical instrument, we try to encourage students to begin orchestra in 6th grade and then take other electives along with orchestra in their 7th and 8th grade years.  If you want your child to learn an orchestra instrument, you will need to put orchestra as your first choice for an elective. In 7th and 8th grade, the school administration, coaches, classroom teachers and orchestra directors work together to avoid conflicts in scheduling.  We have current Maus Orchestra members who are also in 7th and 8th grade football, volleyball, basketball, cross country, track, and many other extra-curricular clubs and organizations. 


Will my child get to perform in the 6th Grade? 


Beginners will get to perform at least four times during their first year in band: We will have a Fall Concert in October, a Winter Concert in December, the April Dessert Concert performance, and the Sandy Lake "Funfest" Contest at the end of the year. We even a special parent concert the day before we go to Sandy Lake to show off our music to the parents!  


Does the orchestra ever take trips?

 All the time! Our orchestra takes trips periodically throughout the year to places such as Main Event, Six Flags, Stonebriar Mall, and of course, our feeder elementary schools! We love to go on the road to perform, or just have fun!

















Instrument Guide to Orchestra



See you in Orchestra!! There are 4 Exciting Instruments to Choose From!!!












Violin- The violin is the smallest of the four types of stringed instruments in the orchestra. It is also the highest sounding instrument of the string family. It has four strings (G, D, A, and E) and is played by placing the instrument under one's chin and drawing the bow across the strings. There are generally two sections of violins in an orchestra, which are referred to as the first and the second violin sections. The first section plays one written part to the music and the second section plays another. A person who plays the violin is referred to as a violinist. Some famous violinists to look up on the computer are Lindsey Stirling and Itzhak Perlman. Click on the buttons below to see some famous violinists!




















Viola -The viola looks very similar to the violin, however it is larger. It is played in a similar fashion to the violin, but it is a deeper sounding instrument. The viola can play the melody or the harmony in an orchestra. It also has four strings, which are the C, G, D, and A strings. Most orchestras have one viola section. A person who plays the viola is referred to as a violist.





















Cello -The cello is a larger instrument than both the violin and the viola. It also has a deeper sound. It is played by standing the instrument on the floor and placing the cello between one's legs. Similar to the violin and viola, the cello is played by drawing a bow across the strings. The stings on a cello are C, D, G, and A. Most orchestras have one section of cellos. A person who plays the cello is referred to as a cellist. Yo Yo Ma is one famous cellist. Cello can be played classical of course. To see some more contemporary cello playing, search you tube and look up 2CELLOS. Many students who want to be in a rock band play the cello. It is in bass clef and the notes are in the same clef as the bass guitar.  





























Double Bass -The double bass is the largest stringed instrument in an orchestra. It has the lowest pitch of all four of the stringed instruments described here. It is played by standing the instrument on the floor and drawing a bow across the strings. Unlike a cello, the double bass is played by standing behind it or sitting on a tall stool because of the large size of the instrument. The strings on a double bass are E, A, D, and G. Most orchestras have one double bass section. A person who plays the double bass is referred to as a bassist. The bass keeps the beat for the entire orchestra. Many bass players are in jazz and rock ensembles. You may see a Bass Player on Bourbon Street in New Orleans with their sunglasses on and chilling with the beat. One famous bass player was Ray Brown. Chekc out Esperanza Spalding or Adam Ben Ezra above! Awesome bassists! Bassists are cool man!



All of the stringed instruments work together to make up the string section of an orchestra. An orchestra that is made up entirely of stringed instruments is called a string orchestra. The combination of different pitches and sounds played on the various instruments create music that has been enjoyed by many people throughout the years. Which instrument will you choose?


The Violin

The Viola

The Cello

The Bass

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