Dear Grahamwood Strings Parents, May 20, 2019
I want to thank you for enrolling your child in this year’s Beginning Strings class at Grahamwood. It takes a lot of dedication, time, and scheduling – from both student and parent – to be successful in the class, and this year was a true success. I know that the students are ready for the next level in their development as a string player and as a musician. Certificates of Completion of the First Year Strings Class will be distributed at the fifth grade program on Tuesday.
During the last few weeks of school, I surveyed the students about their middle school destinations. Nearly every school they mentioned has an orchestra program where they can continue to play. I have emailed those middle school teachers a copy of my roster, so they will be on the lookout for your student in August. I also recommend that your student keep their supplies and their Essential Elements book through the summer, as you will need all of it in middle school!
I hope that your student continues to enjoy playing their instrument. I do look forward to hearing (and seeing) them in middle school during the next few years, and expect to see them at events like ArtsFest, local orchestra clinics, summer music camps, and other great opportunities that they will have. I, too, was once a fifth grade beginning strings student, and it was the beginning of a very fulfilling, life-long journey of music-making.
This will be the last official Strings message from me for the 2018-19 school year. I will be archiving the Remind group for your class, too. If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or through the Remind app. I hope you have a safe and happy summer, and I look forward to seeing you at a concert!
Dr. Palmer, Strings Specialist
Grahamwood Elementary School
April 29, 2019
Hello, Grahamwood Strings Parents!
We’re in the final stretch at Grahamwood. Here is our schedule for May.
1. We are performing on the 9:00 a.m. program on Thursday, May 2 (for Grahamwood students) and the 9:00 a.m. program on Friday, May 3 (for parents; Please remember to send the instrument to school on Friday, too!). Pieces will include Ode to Joy, Frere Jacques, Lightly Row, French Folk Song, and Minor E Shuffle. The music teachers have asked all students to wear white shirts/blouses and black pants/skirts. If your student is wearing something specific for another part of the program, that will be okay.
2. We will have regular Strings Class on May 2, May 6, and May 9. Due to the 5th grade trip to N.Y. & D.C., May 9 will be our last meeting as a Strings Class.
3. Our final activity will be the evening performance at Colonial Middle School, on Thursday, May 9. We will join six other elementary schools to create a large elementary Strings ensemble. We will gather, in the Colonial MS Auditorium, from 5:15-5:30 p.m. We will have a brief dress rehearsal at 5:30, and the concert will begin at 6:00 p.m. The Colonial Orchestra will also be performing, and we will join them to close the concert with French Folk Song (#106) and the Stairwell Blues.
4. If your student cannot make the May 9 concert at Colonial, please send me an email letting me know. It helps the Colonial teacher get the stage set up correctly. Thank you.
5. If your student is using a Grahamwood instrument on the concert May 9, please have them return it to Ms. Harris’ room on Friday, May 10. I will be by later to check it into the school inventory.
It’s been a great year at Grahamwood. As I’ve talked with your children about their middle school destinations, almost everyone is attending a school where orchestra is offered. Please make sure they enroll in the class next year! If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me.
Dr. Palmer, Strings Specialist
February 20, 2019
Hello, Parents of the Grahamwood Strings Class. It has been quite a while since the last email update. The class is moving along very well, and we’ve already reached many of the pieces we’ll be performing on our spring concerts.
The students are now playing with the bow for the majority of the class (and should be at home, too). We’ve worked on the steps to take to learn a new piece of music (page 18), and introduced eighth notes (page 20) and half notes (page 22). We played our first “duet,” playing At Pierrot’s Door melody (#78) with the accompaniment (#5). We’ve also learned Ode to Joy (#86) and made six different modifications to the piece to make it more like Beethoven wrote it. We’ve also learned Frere Jacques (#88), and put it in a three part round. The students really are progressing nicely.
We have two performance opportunities coming in the fourth quarter.
1) On May 2nd and 3rd, he Grahamwood Spring Music programs will take place in the cafeteria.
2) On May 9th, we will combine with strings classes from several SCS schools at Colonial Middle School for a Grand Elementary Ensemble performance, which will include a performance by and with the Colonial orchestras.
As you and your students start making decisions about middle school destinations, please feel free to ask if you have any questions. I am also a former Grahamwood parent and current Spartan parent, so I’ve been there.
Dr. Palmer, Strings Specialist
Students and Parents of the Grahamwood Strings Class: October 23, 2018
The Strings Class at Grahamwood Elementary School is preparing for a December program performance. This year, the Strings class will have two performances on Monday, December 17, at 9:00 a.m. (for parents) and at 1:00 p.m. (for Grahamwood students). The program will feature all of the Fifth Grade performing ensembles, including the Strings class.
We will be performing Rolling Along, Dreidel, Jingle Bells, and Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, and Twas the Night Before Christmas for Strings and Narrator. Proper concert attire for the Strings class will be nice school uniform (please, no school t-shirts). If the student is also in another part of the program, that uniform/costume will be acceptable, as long as they can play their instrument correctly. Holiday accessories are permitted.
We will be using the bow for some, if not all, of these pieces. In class, we have found the balance point and learned the parts of the bow. In the next few weeks, I will teach the students how to tighten and loosen the hair, rosin the hair, and correctly place the bow on the string for the best sound.
Please complete the information slip and return it to me as soon as you are able. We will have Strings class on December 17, prior to the performance. After the semester break, we will resume our classes on Monday, January 7, 2019.
If you have any questions regarding this performance or anything else concerning the Strings program, please feel free to send a note with your child or email me at: email@example.com. Thank you for your time and your support of the strings program at Grahamwood.
Dr. Palmer, Strings Specialist
1. Now that the weather is cooling off, it is important to remember that changing temperatures affect the tuning of the instruments. Please do not leave your instrument outside for long periods of time, especially in the car overnight!
2. Our REMIND code is @gwstring18. Text it to 81010 to get REMIND updates!
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Please Cut and Return this portion to Dr. Palmer by Thursday, December 6, 2018.
I am aware that my child (fill in name) ____________________________
will be performing on the holiday programs at Grahamwood Elementary on Monday, December 17, and will make sure that he/she has the instrument and all necessary supplies at school on that day.
Parent Signature __________________________ Date _________
To: Parents of the Grahamwood Elementary Strings Students
Shoulder Rest Day was this week. The students were taught several important concepts concerning proper use of the shoulder rest. They’re excited about this step in their progress. Here’s a quick checklist that you should have your student review with you. Have them teach YOU how to do these steps.
1. How to prepare to attach the shoulder rest- hold the instrument face down, on their left side, pegs behind them.
2. How to attach one shoulder rest “foot” on the “chin rest lower bout” first, then pivot the shoulder rest and slide the other “foot” until the shoulder rest securely on the lower bouts.
3. When holding the instrument with the pegs toward the sky, the shoulder rest should curve in a “frown.”
4. How to place the instrument on their shoulder and collar bone, and then place their chin in the chin rest.
5. How to play open string pizzicato with their first finger (“thumbs down” on the side of the fingerboard).
6. How to place the left hand in playing position for notes on the D string.
7. How to remove the shoulder rest (rubber bands can stay on, but the sponge and shoulder rest must be removed).
8. How to store and carry the shoulder rest. Unless there is a specific compartment for the shoulder rest, it must be carried with the book, and not crammed next to, or on top of, the instrument in the case.
Have your student practice attaching and removing the shoulder rest. They should experiment with the placement, the height of the individual “feet,” and make sure that the set-up is comfortable while using correct posture. For the cellists and bassists in class, we appreciate your patience.
At this time, ALL students are expected to have an instrument and their supplies for every class. When they leave materials at home (or in their classroom), they are not able to fully participate in the day’s lesson, and that makes it harder to practice and review at home, too.
It’s a great group of enthusiastic students. I’m looking forward to a lot of progress and growth this year!
Dr. Palmer, Strings Specialist
REMIND: “rmd.at/gwstring18” or text @gwstring18 to 81010 (or 901-881-9447).
September 11, 2018
To: Parents of the Grahamwood Elementary String Students
The Strings class at Grahamwood is off to a good start this year. We are currently working on holding the instrument properly and taking care of the instrument. We have just started shaping the left hand on the instrument, which is found on page 6. Students should be practicing a few times a week, 10-15 minutes each time. Please take the time to watch the introductary videos available in the Essential Elements downloads, and experiment with the software on your computer.
At this point in the school year, all strings students need to have an instrument and all of their supplies to fully participate in class. Those who requested a school instrument received the loan application form several weeks ago, and needed to obtain all of the necessary supplies before a school instrument would be issued. The supplies include: Essential Elements- Book I, rosin, a cleaning rag, a pencil, and a shoulder rest (violin & viola) or rock stop (cello & bass). There are still a few instruments available for loan from the school. Of course, you may still rent or buy an instrument from one of the local music stores.
Thursday, September 20, will be Shoulder Rest Day. Cellists and Bassists will not need to come on Thursday, September 20. All violinists and violists MUST have their shoulder rest that day. The students will learn how to attach, adjust, and care for their shoulder rest. This only affects September 20. Monday is a regular Strings day for everyone.
I will be sending updates throughout the year concerning concerts and programs, schedule updates, and other necessary information. Last minute changes and reminders will be sent through REMIND. Please sign up for this service! Thank you for your support of the strings program at your school.
Here is my contact information:
1. My e-mail address is: firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. REMIND at “rmd.at/gwstring18” or text @gwstring18 to 81010
3. My website is www.drpalmerstrings.weebly.com .
Dear Parent/Guardian: Grahamwood Elementary
August 20, 2018
Welcome! You and your child have expressed an interest in beginning instruction in the Strings Music Education Program. I hope that it will be an exciting experience for your child, both now and in the years to come.
I ask that you agree and commit to participation for the entire school year. There will be challenges that are not automatically solved, times of frustration, and "bumps" in the road. However, these are only minor difficulties when compared to the excitement of the first performance, the sound of applause, and the satisfaction of a job well done.
We all have responsibilities in helping your child succeed in this class. I accept the responsibility for classroom instruction, which will guide the students in both playing the instrument and in reading music. The student's responsibilities include practicing at home and having all of their supplies in class. The parents’ responsibilities include supporting your child in home practice, properly caring for the instrument, and attending your child's concerts and programs.
We will meet on Mondays and Thursdays, beginning at 7:30 a.m. Students should enter the school at the before-care entrance near the cafeteria (NOT the main office entrance) and come to the music classrooms in the basement. During the first few lessons, we will discuss instrument selection(s) and size(s), the loan procedure for school instruments, and the parts of the instrument.
Instruments may be rented from several music stores in Memphis. The rental fees and agreements vary from store to store, and school policy prohibits me from any specific recommendations. These stores will also carry the instruction books and supplies. I strongly recommend that you do not purchase an instrument from a pawn shop, thrift store, super store, or online sites that are not Strings merchants. The “bargain” instrument you may find will certainly contain inferior parts/strings/bows that will require attention and repairs. If it is necessary to use a school instrument, you must have all supplies for that instrument before one will be issued.
If you need assistance, please feel free to contact me through your school office. My e-mail address is: email@example.com. I use REMIND.com to send occasional updates and reminders (including last-minute class cancellations), and you can contact me through this service. If you have not yet done so, please enroll in REMIND at “rmd.at/gwstring18” or by texting @gwstring18 to 81010 or 901-881-9447. My website is www.Drpalmerstrings.weebly.com. I’m looking forward to an exciting year of music-making with our strings class.
Dr. Palmer, Strings Specialist
Do you want to learn how to play the
Violin? Viola? Cello? String Bass?
Beginning Strings class instruction is offered at Grahamwood Elementary school as part of the Shelby County Schools curriculum for fifth grade students. This class will prepare your child for the Strings and Orchestra classes which are offered at the middle and high school levels in many of the Shelby County Schools.
When is it taught?
Class will meet twice each week, on Monday and Thursday mornings, from 7:30 a.m. to 8:20 a.m. Our first official class will be Monday morning, August 20th.
What does it cost?
There are no instruction fees or lesson payments. You will need to purchase–at a local music store–your own method book and supplies, which will cost about $25. Renting an instrument from one of the local music stores will cost $100-$150 for the year. The school has a limited number of instruments for loan, based on need. A student must have their supplies to be eligible for a school instrument.
So how do I enroll?
Complete the online application at https://drpalmerstrings.weebly.com/ You can also scan the QR code at the bottom of the page. Registration should be completed by Wednesday, August 15.
What happens next?
Dr. Palmer will collect the applications online, and distribute acceptance letters by August 17. During the first official class (August 20), he will make recommendations concerning the specific instrument for your child. This recommedation form will also include a list of necessary supplies, a list of local music stores, and other important information.
I use REMIND.com to send occasional updates and reminders, and you can contact me through this service. Please enroll in REMIND at “rmd.at/gwstring18” or by texting @gwstring18 to 81010 or 901-881-9447.
Dr. Andrew Palmer teaches Fifth Grade Beginning Strings at four Elementary Schools, directs the Honors Orchestras at White Station High School, and travels throughout the school district as a Double Bass Specialist.