Welcome back! We are very excited to start a brand new year. Due to us starting off remotely, this year will look very different from the past. Please be assured that the Hawthorn Band and Orchestra staff are working hard to design a plan and curriculum that meets the needs of all of our students. We realize that learning virtually is not ideal and that taking lessons virtually seems daunting but we want to assure you that it can be done and that it will be done successfully! We would like you to think of the 5th grade year for band/orchestra as an important bridge year for preparing the students for middle school and, hopefully, a return to regular practices and instruction. Our hope is that you will entrust us to continue your child’s band/orchestra education even in these uncertain times.

We will utilize Zoom to have rotating small group lessons beginning the week of September 14th. Lesson schedules will be emailed to parents and posted on Google Classroom prior to the first week of lessons. In addition to small group lessons, we will have rehearsals/check-ins at least once a week before or after the regular school time (depending on the school). The day and time of this rehearsal will be determined at a later date once we settle in.

Because of distance learning, the district is paying for and providing a new online program called SmartMusic that will be compatible with your child’s chromebook. SmartMusic is a web-based suite of music education tools that support efficient practice, helping musicians to develop and grow. SmartMusic will give your student immediate feedback on their performance, allow them to play along with recordings of larger groups, and will further reinforce concepts that we will learn together throughout the year during our lessons. Teachers will also be able to listen to individual student recordings and provide feedback as well.

Finally, please have your student take a look at their instrument before their first lesson to make sure that it is in good working condition. Should your student find that their instrument is not working properly, please contact your band/orchestra teacher as soon as possible.
If you returned your instrument at the end of the school year, you are responsible for contacting the appropriate rental company, Quinlan and Fabish (band) or Classic Violins (orchestra), for obtaining an instrument before our first lesson. We recommend renting from the companies listed because of the high quality of the instruments that they provide. Band instruments are rent-to-own, however orchestra instruments are not because of size changes over time. Please do not purchase an instrument on your own without consulting with your child’s teacher first. There are many poor quality instruments available on the internet and we have seen kids struggle with these in the past as it can further hinder their education experience.

We understand that there are a lot of uncertainties as we are navigating through all the changes together, but we want to assure you that we are here and will be available to answer whatever questions you may have. We are looking forward to getting started on the beginning of a great virtual school year! It will be an adventure for us all!

Take care!

Carl Fritz (Band) – fritzc@hawthorn73.org

Haemi Lee (Orchestra) – leeh@hawthorn73.org