The School has three orchestras, all of which include STA and NCS students: the Upper School Orchestra (Forms III-VI, grades 9-12), the Middle School Orchestra (Forms I-II, grades 7-8) and the Lower School Orchestra (Forms CBA, grades 4-6).
The orchestras are primarily performance-based; that is, their goal is to learn music, and learn about music, in the pursuit of performances that are held throughout the year.
There is a wide variety of experience level within each orchestra, but all students need to have some experience on an instrument before considering joining. Students should be able to play their instruments well enough that rehearsals are focused on ensemble skills (playing together in time and in tune, adjusting balance and establishing style) rather than individual skills (knowing fingerings, proper posture and hand position, tone production, reading music/rhythms). For the Lower School Orchestra, a student who can play relatively simple melodies with good rhythm and pitch will be well-suited to the group.
Orchestra Musician's Contract (including dress code)
SmartMusic, a software learning tool, is available to STA and NCS students. Anyone with a computer at home can use this software to practice with accompaniment, record themselves, get instant feedback, and submit assignments by email.
New for 2014-2015!:
The new daily schedule at NCS and STA is a very positive step for the orchestras. With the exception of the LSO girls, our musicians will meet during the school day!
Regular Rehearsals in Hearst Hall Auditorium:
- Upper School Orchestra during the US ensemble period: 10:20-11:15 on B days, 11:00-11:50 on E and G days
- Middle School Orchestra during the MS ensemble period: 12:00-12:55 on B, E, and G days
- Lower School Orchestra girls on Tuesdays from 3:30-4:30, boys on Fridays from 1:00-2:00.
All musicians are also expected to attend some events that occur outside of regular school hours, including dress rehearsals and concerts. All these events will be posted on the instrumental music calendar by the first day of school.