We are completing a wonderful summer of music making in Highland. Everyone associated with our music program deserves a standing ovation, especially our parents. Because of you, music is an important and respected academic subject in our school and a vital art form in our community. Thank you!
Camp has come to an end, but classes continue starting on the first day of school. Also, many musical opportunities still exist in the community for you and your child. May we suggest:
Music is an interactive language. When one plays or sings, the listener as well as the performer is actively engaged in the exchange. The weeks ahead can provide an opportunity for your child to be the performer and the listener. Through this, he/she may gain a new level understanding and appreciation of music.
For the returning students, we have exciting plans for the coming year and we anticipate continued positive growth in our music program. There will be opportunities for these students to serve in leadership roles and assume more responsibility within the group.
Thank you again for being a strong advocate of music in our Highland schools.
Mr. Phillip A. Loos
"Musical training is a more potent instrument than any other form of education, because rhythm and harmony find their way into the inward places of the soul." - Plato
Helping parents help students practice
As adults, we understand that progress and achievement are the results of effort. Students need to learn this as well, and it is, in fact, one of the most important principles to learn and will help them throughout life. Helping string students to practice on a regular basis at home will not only help them become better musicians, but better citizens as well.
Students need continued encouragement to practice, because practicing takes discipline and effort. Help your child establish a regular time and place for practicing that works in your family’s schedule. Monitor your child’s practice on a regular basis to ensure that it is getting done. Talk with your child about the need for practice, and set up mutually agreed upon goals and rewards. The goals should be clear and attainable. The rewards should be something valuable and enjoyable to your child.
Frequently ask your child to perform for you, demonstrating the skills, knowledge, and new music learned while practicing at home. Praise your child’s practice efforts regularly in front of family members and their peers. It will make them feel good about their efforts and about themselves. It will also encourage them to continue practicing and help deepen their relationship with you.
Point out to your child the progress he/she has made on his her instrument and how many more notes and pieces he/she can play compared to when he/she started, for example. Encourage your child to make up their own music and help your child to remember their past successes as motivators to work toward future successes.
Practicing takes effort, and encouraging students to practice regularly takes effort. However, practice is essential for learning and it helps develop students’ work habits that they can take with them throughout life. Please do not hesitate to contact me for additional suggestions.
Dear Orchestra Parents and Students:
I write to you this afternoon to share some news with you that is both joyful and saddening. I have decided to resign my position in Highland, and have accepted the position of Orchestra Teacher at Chesterton High School. While I am excited about my new adventure, I am very sad to leave my Highland family behind. Sixteen years is a long time to be in one school system, and I cherish the friendships and relationships I have developed with all of you.
I implore you to keep the Highland orchestra program strong. I don't know who will follow in my footsteps, but I trust that you will show him/her the same love and support you have shown me these many years. Keep making music!
It is a pleasure to have your child in the School Town of Highland Orchestra Program. This school district offers string instruction from the 6th grade through the 12th grade. The program is a continuous one, and I hope to see every student performing in the high school orchestra some day. The commitment you have made is a lifetime investment for your child.
All beginning classes are now underway, and I’m sure your child has already performed for you. I will also soon be providing students with the performance schedule for the upcoming school year.
Proper care of the instrument is encouraged. Students have been shown how to handle the instrument so as not to harm it. I suggest that no one else handle the instrument unless they have your permission and your child’s instructions.
During the first several weeks of class, the primary emphasis will be on developing good playing position as well as correct posture. Failure to master these concepts can hamper a student’s ability and progress for years to come.
Thus, these first few weeks are the most critical. This cannot be overemphasized! Practice is needed to develop the coordination and strength necessary to play a stringed instrument. A practice “marathon” cannot accomplish the same results as consistent daily practice. The students are to complete assignments on SmartMusic and practice approximately 20 minutes per day. Your encouragement is a very important ingredient for your child’s success right now.
Progress reports will be sent regularly so that you may follow your child’s progress. In fact, the students had their first playing test already and your child can share the results with you. Please encourage him/her to demonstrate for you and other supportive family members what he/she has learned and be generous in your praise and encouragement. Help him/her to remember equipment and materials for class. A child takes pride not only in learning to play, but in learning to play well.
As questions or problems arise, please feel free to contact me. I hope your child’s experience with the orchestra is a successful one.
Congratulations on enrolling your child in the orchestra! Orchestra is one of the most rewarding and exciting educational opportunities offered by our schools. Your investment will pay tremendous dividend in your child’s life for many years to come.
Music provides students with a wealth of fringe benefits. In addition to obtaining the life long skills needed to become a music performer or consumer, a child learns skills that can be used in every facet of life. Team work, dedication, self discipline and responsibility prepare a child for a successful future in any profession he/she may choose. A variety of research shows that music students are among the academically strongest in their schools and score higher on the SAT than other students. Most colleges and universities now look for more than good grades on a child’s transcript. They want well-rounded students that have been able to accomplish more than just textbook knowledge.
You do not have to know anything about music to assist your child in this new endeavor. Arrange a time and place where practice can be done without interruptions. This practice should become a part of each child’s daily routine. He/She should never merely put in the required time, but should practice with the goal of always improving. Music should be placed at eye level. Please do not allow your child to put the music on a table, bed, etc. This encourages poor playing posture. Remember, practice doesn’t necessarily make perfect, but PERFECT practice does!
Again, I congratulate you on enrolling your child in the orchestra. As the year progresses, I hope you will free to contact me whenever necessary. Please refer to the "homework" section below this letter
Phillip A. Loos
Director of Orchestras
School Town of Highland
SUMMER CAMP DAY 1 "HOMEWORK"