Orchestras

There is a home for everyone in the orchestra program at Samohi. In order to place students correctly, auditions are held at John Adams and Lincoln Middle Schools as well as at Samohi for current students.

Course Descriptions

Beginning Strings

Grades 9-12; year course (5 credits per semester); Prerequisite: None. This course provides introductory instruction on violin, viola, cello and string bass. Rehearsals focus on proper technique, ensemble performance skills, basic string repertoire, note-reading skills and beginning-level theory.

No audition necessary.

String Orchestra

Grades 9-12, Meets UC/CSU subject requirement for performing arts; year course (5 credits per semester); may be repeated for credit.
Prerequisite: Minimum of one year of prior study of a string instrument. This course develops technique associated with playing a string instrument. Students will rehearse, analyze and perform string ensemble music.

Audition Information:

Technique demonstrates

  • A basic understanding of good bowing technique (straight bow, use of entire bow, understanding bow speed).

  • A basic understanding of proper left-hand formation

     

Scales

  • For Violin, Viola, Cello and Bass

  • 1 octave Major scales in D, G and C

Prepared Solo

  • 3 minutes or less

Sightreading

  • Ability to sight read melodies on the A and D strings using rhythms not more complex than quarter and eighth notes

Concert Orchestra

Grades 9-12, Meets UC/CSU subject requirement for performing arts; year course (5 credits per semester); may be repeated for credit. Admission by audition only. This intermediate-level orchestra utilizes increasingly complex scales and repertoire to further develop technique.

Audition Information:

Technique demonstrates:

  • Development of good bowing technique (straight bow, use of entire bow, understanding bow speed)

  • Proper left hand formation

Facility in 1st position on all four strings, development of shifting into 3rd position for violin, viola and bass and 4th position for cello.

Scales

  • Violin

     - 2 octave Major scales in G, A, Bb, C, and D

     - 1 octave Major scales in F

  • Viola and Cello

     - 2 octave Major scales in C, D, F, G

     - 1 octave Major scales in A and Bb

  • Bass
    - 2 octave Major scale in G
    - 1 octave Major scales in C, D, A, F, Bb

 

Prepared Solo

  • 3 minutes or less

Sightreading

  • Ability to sight read melodic lines in 1st position and demonstrate understanding of when a shift is required

  • Ability to sight 4/4 time utilizing whole, half, quarter, eighth-note rhythms on an open string along with a metronome

Sinfonia Orchestra

Grades 9-12, Meets UC/CSU subject requirement for performing arts; year course (5 credits per semester); may be repeated for credit.

Admission by audition only.

 

Sinfonia is an intermediate/advanced-level orchestra. Musicians in this ensemble will study pieces from various musical periods. There will be public performances by the entire orchestra throughout the year.

 

Solo and small ensemble performances are also highly encouraged. In addition to the regular class period, the orchestra will meet once per week to rehearse on Tuesdays at 3:30-4:30pm

 

Audition Information

Technique demonstrates:

  • Continued development of good bowing technique (straight bow, use of entire bow, understanding bow speed)

  • Proper left hand formation and development of vibrato

  • Violin: facility in 1st and 3rd positions, starting 2nd, 4th and 5th

    positions; and demonstrates proper shifting technique

  • Viola: facility in 1st and 3rd positions; and demonstrates proper shifting technique

  • Cello and bass: demonstrates proper shifting technique between 1st, 2nd,

    3rd and 4th positions

    Scales

  • Violins, violas, cellos

     - 2 octave Major scales in C, G, D, A, E, F, Bb, Eb

  • Bass

     - 2 octave Major scales in F, G, A
     - 1 octave Major scales in C, D, E, Bb, Eb

Prepared Solo

  • 3 minutes or less

Sightreading

  • Ability to sight read melodic lines in 1st and some 3rd position for violin, viola and bass, 1st and some 4th position for cello

  • Ability to sight read 4/4 time utilizing whole, half, quarter, eighths and some dotted rhythms on an open string with a metronome

Intermezzo Orchestra

Grades 9-12, Meets UC/CSU subject requirement for performing arts; year course (5 credits per semester); may be repeated for credit.

Admission by audition only.

 

Intermezzo is an advanced-level string orchestra. Musicians will continue to improve their technique while studying music from many musical genres. Solo and Small Ensemble participation is required. In addition to the regular class period, the orchestra will meet once per week to rehearse on Wednesdays at 3:30-4:30pm

 

Audition Information

 

Technique demonstrates:

  • Mastery of good bowing technique (straight bow, use of entire bow, understanding bow speed)

  • Proper left-hand formation and vibrato

  • Violin and viola: facility in 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 5th positions and proper shifting technique

  • Cello and bass: proper shifting technique between 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th positions

 

Scales

  • 2 scales will be asked for. 1 scale should demonstrate staccato or spiccato bowing.

  • Violins, violas, cellos
    - 2 octave Major scales in C, G, D, A, E, F, Bb, Eb, Ab

  • Bass
    - 2 octave Major scales in F, G, A, Major scales - 1 octave Major scales in C, D, E, Bb, Eb, Ab

 

Prepared Solo

  • 3 minutes or less

Sightreading

  • Ability to sight read melodic lines in 1st and 3rd position for violin, viola and bass, 1st and 4th position for cello

  • Ability to sight read 4/4 time utilizing whole, half, quarter, eighths, dotted, quarters, dotted eighths, sixteenth notes and triplets.

Philharmonic Orchestra

Grades 9-12, Meets UC/CSU subject requirement for performing arts; year course (5 credits per semester); may be repeated for credit. Admission by audition only.

 

Philharmonic is an advanced-level full orchestra. Musicians in this ensemble will study pieces from various musical periods. Solo and small ensemble performances are also highly encouraged. In addition to the regular class period, the orchestra will meet once per week to rehearse on Wednesdays at 5:00-7:00pm

 

Audition Information

Technique demonstrates:

  • Mastery of good bowing technique (straight bow, use of entire bow, understanding bow speed)

  • Development of advanced bowing techniques

  • Proper left-hand formation and vibrato

  • Facility in 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th positions (5th position for violin and viola) and proper shifting technique

Scales

  • 2 scales will be asked for. 1 scale should demonstrate staccato or spiccato bowing.

  • Violins
    - 3 octave major scales in C, G, D, A, Bb, Ab

       - 2 octave major scales in E flat, E and F

  • Violas, Cellos
    - 3 octave major scales in C, G, D, Eb, E, F - 2 octave major scales in Bb, A, Ab

  • Bass
    - 2 octave major scales in C, G, D, A, E, F, Bb, Eb, Ab

    Prepared Solo should demonstrate:

    • 2 contrasting styles (or portions of two contrasting solos should be prepared)

Sightreading

  • Ability to sight read melodic lines in 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th positions (5th position for violins and viola)

  • Ability to sight read 4/4 time utilizing whole, half, quarter, eighths, sixteenths, eighth-note triplets on an open string

Symphony Orchestra

Grades 9-12, Meets UC/CSU subject requirements for performing arts; year course (5 credits per semester); may be repeated for credit. Admission by audition only.

 

Symphony is Samohi’s most advanced full orchestra. The repertoire is varied as well as challenging. In addition to performing as a large symphonic orchestra, students prepare solos and small ensemble performances throughout the year. In addition to the regular class period, the orchestra will meet once per week to rehearse on Tuesdays at 5:00-7:00pm

Audition Information

Technique demonstrates:

 

  • Mastery of good bowing technique (straight bow, use of entire bow, understanding bow speed)

  • Advanced bowing techniques (spiccato, sautille, etc. . .) Mastery of left-hand formation and vibrato

  • Facility in all positions and shifting throughout the fingerboard

       Scales

  • 2 scales will be asked for. 1 scale should demonstrate spiccato bowing with a flexible bow hold and wrist.

  • Violins, violas, cellos

     - 3 octave major scales in C, G, D, A, E, F, Bb, Eb, Ab

  • Bass

     - 2 octave major scales in C, G, D, A, E, F, Bb, Eb, Ab

 

Prepared Solo should demonstrate:

  • 2contrasting styles (orportions of two contrasting solos should be prepared)

Sightreading

  • Ability to sight read melodic lines in upper positions and different in clefs for viola (treble) and cello (tenor)

Chamber Orchestra

Grades 9-12, Meets UC/CSU subject requirements for performing arts; year course (5 credits per semester); may be repeated for credit. Admission by audition only.

 

The Chamber Orchestra is the most advanced string ensem- ble at Samohi, composed of the most advanced string members. This ensemble performs highly advanced repertoire. The Samohi Chamber Orchestra meets after school twice a week for two hours at each rehearsal. There are many public performances throughout the year.

Audition Information

Same as Symphony Orchestra