Large numbers in orchestra class may lead to potential split

DSC_9979The music department at CVHS is expecting a significant increase in the number of students enrolled in its music programs. There could potentially be 30 to 40 additional students next year to the already crowded 76-members orchestra.

The district office is currently reviewing a proposal that is supported by many music students and the music director at CVHS, Steven Hendee, to offer more classes for students at the high school.

“There’s almost no room to play music,” said Hendee. “It’s difficult when the classes are so full to listen and teach individual students.”

Orchestra currently only occupies one period of the school day, zero period. Other music programs like band and choir, however, have multiple classes separated by the skill level of the students. The more advanced classes require students to audition in order to get in.

Many orchestra students would like to see a similar separation happen for them, but despite the uncertainty of whether or not classes would be added, people have a few preferences of what changes they would like to see.

“If the classes get too big, then we need to not take as many students in the music department or offer more classes to take,” Hendee claimed.

Some students, however, would be unwilling to give up a period during their day for orchestra.

“If there were to be two classes, they should be based purely on skill,” violin section leader Steven Duong suggested. “The more advanced classes can play more advanced music to help nurture their techniques. Other classes can also play music at their level, so they can advance at their own pace, just like AP and honors classes.”

Calvin Tang, junior oboist in Chamber Orchestra, agrees with having two classes, but he also believes “zero period should not be the advanced class. Freshmen need to take a language and they have P.E., so they could benefit more with the extra period during the day.”

Finalized decisions about what to do with the overcrowded classes in the orchestra program have not yet been made, but Hendee and his students are anxious to see what they should expect for the next school year.

Depending on what types of classes the school board decides to add for orchestra, they may require auditions for students who want to be in those more advanced classes.

If students are told what kind of classes they should be expecting for the upcoming year, they’d be able to properly prepare themselves for all the steps they’d have to follow in order to be placed into more advanced music classes.

“I’m hoping the scheduling situation gets decided before students leave for the summer,” declared Hendee. “I want everything for the students that they could possibly need.”

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