Orchestra is open to 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students who have had at least one year of strings instruction. The function of both classes is to provide a sound musical education in a string orchestra setting. Orchestra playing develops ensemble skills, music theory and history, discipline, and group spirit. Music will be carefully balanced to challenge the wide range of playing levels in orchestra.
Orchestra programs are offered before school, during zero period, 7:45 to 8:30 a.m. Students should be in their seats with the instruments unpacked by 7:40.
During some weeks, portions of the orchestra will meet for sectional rehearsals to allow students to work more specifically on individual parts. The schedule for sectionals will be announced weekly. If a sectional in which a student is not included is scheduled, the student does not attend zero period that day. At the beginning of the year and close to concert time, the full orchestras will rehearse five days a week.
Students are expected to practice at home a minimum of 60 minutes per week and complete a practice record. The practice record, on which a student records daily practice outside of class, is an important communication between home and school. It reflects the student’s work outside of the classroom and represents practice time, not performance level. Practice records must be signed by a parent.
6th Grade Orchestra
Instructor: Mabel Dong
Ms. Dong received her Master of Music from Southwest Texas State University. She worked for two years towards her DMA at University of Colorado, Boulder. Ms. Dong was awarded the Licentiateship from both the Royal Schools of Music (LRSM, London) and Trinity College (LTCL, London). Before she joined BUSD, Ms. Dong was a music instructor at Moraine Valley Community College, Illinois, the Music Director of St. Barbara High School, and a music teacher in the Jefferson School District, Daly City.
Instructor: Madeline Prager
Ms. Prager performs frequently in the Bay Area as a chamber musician. In addition to having served as principal violist of two German orchestras she held a Viola Professorship at the Music Conservatory in Karlsruhe, Germany. After 25 years in Germany, she returned in 2000 to the Bay Area and began teaching with BUSD. Ms Prager has also taught at the University of the Pacific and the Crowden School. She holds degrees from U.C.Berkeley, the Northwest German Music Conservatory, and CSU East Bay. Ms. Prager appears with the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, the Pacific Chamber Symphony, the Berkeley Symphony, Stockton Symphony, Trio Concertino, the Temescal Trio, the Sierra Chamber Society, and many other groups. She lives locally with her husband, two children, and various pets.