• Hershey Elementary School Orchestra Homepage
    Mrs. Tani R. Miller, director
    717.531.2277, ext. 5001
    *note, my email starts with "tamiller" not "tmiller"!
    Welcome back to school to current members and welcome to new members of our orchestra program!  I am excited for lessons to start in early October.  We are currently working through enrolling new fourth grade students and have started rehearsing with our current fifth grade orchestra members.  Please email Mrs. Miller if you have any questions.  
    Sites that will help you find information . . .
    Chocolatetown Fiddlers:  https://chocolatetownfiddlers.edublogs.org, general information about our orchestra program, practice info, concert info, calendar of cycle days 
     Orchestra Sign-ups for fourth graders and new fifth graders . . . here's what to do . . . 
    1.  Complete and return your child's orange form.  All orange forms were sent home by the Friday, September 16, 2016.  Please ask your child for their form.  This is the final commitment form.  We must have one in order to schedule your child for lessons.  Due date for orange forms:  Friday, September 23, 2016.  Early returns are appreciated!  
    2.  Read the slideshow if you did not attend the parent presentation.  Here is the link . . . 
    3.  Students must play on the correct size instrument.  Here are the sizes for students who have been measured, turned in forms, etc.  If there is a question mark, I haven't measured them  If your child was only measured by a music store and not by me, please send me an email so that I can check the size.  I do occasionally find a few mistakes in this process.  
    Students are listed ALPHABETICALLY BY LAST NAME INITIAL.  Please be careful that you do have your child's name.  
    • If you haven't read the presentation posted above, please do so before renting your child's instrument.  
    • All parents should make sure that you know the names of the lesson books that your child will need.  These are in the presentation.  
    • Quality student instruments are really important!  We strongly encourage you to rent through one of our school-district recommended music stores.  There are very good student model string instruments on the market.  There are also a lot of string instruments that are poorly made but that look shiny and nice.  This presentation has much information about the qualities of good string instruments.  Our district-recommended music stores do rent instruments that we recommend as we have worked with them to ensure that they have good strings, good tuning pegs/fine tuners, and produce a beautiful sound.  Email Mrs. Miller should you have questions.  
    3. Rent Your Child's Instrument . . .  Take care of renting your child's instrument.  Email Mrs. Miller for your child's instrument size . . . all kids have been measured.  This file will soon be posted here once this process is complete.  Due date for renting:  Friday, September 22, 2017.  You need an instrument size to rent an instrument.  
    4. Starting Date . . .  Lessons start the first week in October.  You will receive notice of your child's lesson time a day or two before their first lesson.  
    Instruments are delivered to Mrs. Miller at the school and will be distributed at their first lesson.   
    Instrument Repairs/Maintenance 
    Should your child need an instrument repair, replacement string, or new lesson book, simply call your rental vendor and request that the item be mailed or delivered to our school.  
    Renting Instruments/Music Rental Stores
    Please contact Mrs. Miller via email if you have questions about rental instruments.  Good quality student instruments are a necessary part of learning to play an instrument.  Here's a great blog post that compares a poorly made violin to an instrument that is made and set-up properly:  http://www.violinist.com/blog/laurie/201011/11787/.  This article makes very accurate points on fingerboard wood, pegs, strings, bridge set-up and other facets of string instruments.  It references violins but all of these characteristics apply to other string instruments.  
    There are many benefits to using a district recommended music store.  If you need a replacement string or have a potential repair, please call the vendor from which you rent and it will be delivered to the school.  If your child's instrument needs a repair, it will be picked up, fixed, and delivered back to our school.  You can handle all lesson book purchases over the phone.  Items will then be delivered to our school music teachers at no cost to you.  The most important reason is that your chosen vendor will know the proper brand of instruments we recommend and will meet our criteria for student rentals.  There many poorly made instruments on the market today.  It's often challenging to know what to buy.  Our music teachers recommend good quality instruments that hold up well and that play with beautiful characteristic sound.  On string instruments, this includes good quality strings.  Our music stores will always know what replacement strings your child may need.  They will always put good quality strings on rented instruments.   Both vendors deliver items to our school on a regular schedule.  Parents can handle all details over the phone or email and never have to drive to a music store.  These are just a few benefits to you and your child.
    Why are these music stores recommended? 
     You may wonder why we recommend some music stores but not others.  Good quality student string instruments have the following qualities . . . not all instruments on the market are of good quality.  Poorly made instruments can inhibit your child's progress.  Our music teachers have done much research and recommend stores that rent instruments meeting our criteria for good quality instruments.  We also recommend specific instrument brands.  The list below explains instrument requirements and needed items for students participating in orchestra.  
    • Tuning Pegs/Fine Tuners:  must enable the instrument to be tuned in a short period of time, students may not participate in 
    • Strings:  good quality strings that sound resonant and that play with beautiful tone quality
    • Size:  is the correct size, all students will be measured by Mrs. Miller and must have the proper size instrument to ensure healthy posture/position
    • Violins/Violas:  shoulder rests, Mrs. Miller requests that all shoulder string instruments have a Kun shoulder rest.  If your child is in need of a specialized shoulder rest, Mrs. Miller will contact you.  Check with your music store to see if this item is included with your rental contact
    • Cello/Bass:  have a rockstop to keep the instrument in place and to protect hardwood/tile floors, check with your music store to see if this item is included with your rental contract
    • Cello/Bass:  working endpins that can be easily used by the child
    • Bows:  bows must be in good working condition and must be haired with real horsehair.  Mrs. Miller recommends K. Holtz bows for beginners.  Our district music stores will include this bow with rental instruments.  
    • Rosin:  appropriate rosin for the instrument choice
    • Cases:  cases that protect your child's instrument from weather conditions and damage
    • Music Stand:  all students must have a folding music stand for at-home practice, they do not need to bring this to school, check with your music store to see if this item is included with your rental contact
    • Lesson Books:  see the information from the parent presentation link above for names of our two lesson books