DMS Orchestra Handbook



Welcome to an exciting new year!  I am looking forward to working with you and your child at Discovery Middle School. Each orchestra is a performing group and will be expected to participate in concerts and practicing.  Please read the information carefully and electronically sign (at the bottom of this document) with your signature, your student's signature and your primary email address.  If you wish to receive information from me, please make sure I have your current and correct email address.  I look forward to seeing you at our performances this year! Let’s have a great year in orchestra!  Go Blue Jays!

Ms. Marie Coleman    (this is the best way to get in contact with me)

Technology Updates
I am on Instagram under dmsorch and our Twitter handle is DMSColeman so follow me!  (With parent permission, of course!)

This handbook is a useful tool which includes policies, procedures, expectations and other important information.  It is to be used as a guide for all of these aspects.  Please bookmark this link for future reference. As always, you should ask Ms. Coleman if you are unable to find an answer in the information below.


Charms is an online program Liberty Fine Arts is using as a communication and organizational tool. More information will come soon on this. This premiere system incorporates management, communication, assessment and financial needs between teachers and parents. Every student has a free account and will be set up this year in the first few weeks with the student’s new Mac or Chromebook they receive.

Classroom Procedures

Please be prepared and on time!  When the tardy bell rings, students must be in room 300 with their materials and instrument, or they will be considered tardy.

Unless otherwise noted, students must have their instrument, pencil, binder and book for class every day.  Rehearsal skills points will be deducted if any item is missing.

No gum.

Violin/Viola students will have a locker and a lock assigned to them.  They are responsible for keeping their locker tidy.  Locks will be provided by Ms. Coleman.  

Materials Required for Class

Students must have the following items accessible in their cases in order to participate in class:

1. instrument-no cracks or open seams

2. bow-plenty of hair in good condition

3. rosin- good quality

4. shoulder rest- Everest, Kun, Wolf, or some soft shoulder rest (sponge) -unless otherwise directed by private teacher.

5. pencil- with eraser

6. instrument case- working zipper or clasps

7. cleaning cloth- essential to wipe off excess rosin on the fingerboard

8. strings- in good condition-not unraveling or false. We recommend, but don’t require all students to have an extra set of strings in case one breaks. You never know when one is going to break, especially during a concert!

9. All music, books, and handouts in a folder/binder which will be provided.

10. Music Stand: You DO NOT need to bring to school but it is a must for home practice.This is to reinforce correct posture while practicing.

11. Your class method book:

  • SIXTH GRADE: Bring your old 5th grade book, "Measures of Success" as we will review the first 6 weeks of school along with supplemental material. Do not buy another if you can’t find it; I have some extras that can be borrowed. *Please purchase “Spotlight on Strings Book 2” by Gazda and Stoutamire (A green book)
  • SEVENTH GRADE: Bring your old 6th grade book, “Spotlight on Strings Book 2,” to review some in class in the beginning of the year. *Please Purchase “Essential Technique 2000 for Strings” by Allen, Gillespie, and Hayes. (A green book)
  • EIGHTH GRADE-Bring your old 7th grade book, “Essential Technique 2000 for Strings,” which we will continue to use all year. Do not purchase anything this year. I will have classroom sets of supplemental method books.

Cello and Bass Students

Liberty Public Schools offer the possibility to use a school owned instrument for your rehearsals in school.  It is necessary for you to also rent or own an instrument for home practice as well as concerts.

Students wanting to use a school instrument for class will need to bring a check for $150.00 payable to Liberty Public Schools for the care and maintenance of the instrument. I will make sure you get a form to fill out regarding payment. The money is due by October 1. (If it is necessary to split the payment between two semesters, you may.) This procedure is a district mandate and is necessary for our program to offer quality instruments for you to play.  School busses will not allow students with cellos or basses on the bus. I will be handing this information out soon to CELLO AND BASS PLAYERS ONLY.

Concert Information

Concert Attendance Policy:

All of our orchestra students are expected to participate in our scheduled concerts.  Much of our class time is devoted to preparing for these performances, as they are an extension of our classroom work.  Each and every one of our orchestra students is an important member of the orchestra team.  If any student is missing, our orchestra sounds different, and it affects the way all the other students perform.  Please make every effort to see that your student understands the importance of his or her participation.

Concert Uniform to Purchase at a later date:

Black Liberty Orchestra polo with ankle length BLACK pants, black socks and black shoes.  This is the uniform for every concert.

Black Polos with the Liberty Orchestra Logo will be NO MORE than $15.00.  There will be more information on how to purchase the shirts at a later date.  The same polo will be used each year at DMS.  

Calendar of Events (click button below)

Grading Policy

Concerts: 300 points

Festival: 300 points (7th and 8th only)

Practice Logs: 100 points (see scale equivalent below)

Rehearsal Skills/Binder Checks: 25 points per week.  To earn all points, students must have: pencil, instrument, binder, technique book.  No gum!

We will have playing tests/quizzes and in class work (theory, worksheets, etc.) that will be graded as well for points.

Each category is weighted.

Practice Logs 6th Grade Only

6th graders will be required to turn in a practice log.  It does not require a parent signature, which is  a change from the past.  They are due Monday.  I will not accept them after Tuesday.  The first log will be due August 31st.

Grading Scale:

4 (100%): Practiced at least five days; all questions answered completely

3 (90%): Practiced four days; all but one question answered completely

2 (70%): Practiced two-three days; 2-3 answers missing

1 (60%): practiced one day; more than 3 answers missing

Student and Parent Signature

Please click the button below once you and your child have gone through this handbook.  Due no later than Monday, August 24th.

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