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Learn about 5th Grade Orchestra! (Information for current 4th grade families below)

It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3!

  1. Sign up for Orchestra! Parents, please read the Beginning Orchestra Handbook to understand the expectations and format of our program.  Then, join our e-mail list right away, so we can send you more info as it becomes available. Sign up to receive more information about 5th Grade Orchestra here: Contact List Sign Up


    Attend Orchestra Night to choose and rent an instrument: Families should attend on May 9th OR May 10th, sometime between 4:30-7:30 (appointments only, via online appointment maker- we'll send out an invitation base upon our sign-up list in step 1). At this time, you  can sign up for your preferred instrument, get sized, and ask any questions you might have.  Those who attend one of our info nights will be given the first chance to sign up for their preferred instrument!

    More information and advice regarding instruments is in our Beginning Orchestra Handbook, and will be covered in detail at Orchestra Nights


    Attend Summer Orchestra. All beginners are VERY strongly encouraged to attend the entirety of summer orchestra. Summer Orchestra is held weekday mornings July 25th-August 5th. More information is in the handbook.

Most questions are answered in detail in our Beginning Orchestra Handbook, but here are the most important details:


Summer Orchestra

Weekdays, July 25-August 5, 2022, Ben Franklin MS, 60 minutes weekday mornings, Exact time TBD. 

It is VERY strongly recommended that all beginners attend our 10-day Summer Orchestra Intensive.  Frequent, focused instruction is essential to make our beginning orchestra successful from the start and to keep the enthusiasm alive!

Have summer plans during this time? Please reach out to us at Orchestra Night if you have concerns. If you cannot attend Summer Orchestra, private lessons over the summer are the best way to ensure your child is caught up when we begin school year classes.  A list of recommended private teachers is available.


When and where does 5th grade orchestra meet during the school year?

Morning classes begin about a week after the first day of school, and are held at VHS from 7:30-8:15am. Students should arrive between 7:20-7:30am. Parents arrange their child’s transportation to VHS, and after class a school bus will deliver students to their elementary schools.  Students have class twice per week. Our tentative schedule for next year will be:

  • Monday & Thursday:Cooks Memorial, Central, Heavilin, St. Paul
  • Tuesday & Friday:  Northview, Flint, TJE, Parkview, Immanuel

For morning classes, we provide cellos and basses so that students do not have to transport these large instruments to and from school (however, they must have an instrument for home practice). 

In middle school and high school, orchestra is part of a student’s regular class schedule. Fifth grade is the only year in which students must make special transportation arrangements to come to class.  Please note that students may not wait and join orchestra in 6th grade, as we do not offer a beginning level class in the middle schools.


How do I get an Instrument?

We will answer your questions in detail at Orchestra Night, but here it is in a nutshell: Don’t get an instrument until after you have attended Orchestra Night or spoken with the director. Once instruments are assigned, we recommend that you rent an instrument from our local music store Quinlan & Fabish. They have quality instruments at reasonable rates, and repairs/replacements can often be handled through the school via their traveling sales representatives. A Q&F representative will be at our Orchestra Nights to answer your specific questions. You may use another rental service if you prefer, but Q&F services our schools directly.  


Is it ok to purchase a 'cheaper' instrument online?

PLEASE: Under no circumstances should you try to cut costs by purchasing a cheap instrument online.

These discounted “instruments” are not suitable for music instruction. Also, 5th graders begin on smaller instruments but will need a few steps up in sizes over the years. A rental plan allows you to trade up to larger instruments at no additional cost.  Set your child up for success!


What are the costs to join orchestra?

Instrument rental is the biggest cost to get started. Quinlan & Fabish offers a four month trial fee as well as monthly rental fees.


4 Month Beginner Rental

Monthly Rental











* The $75 Summer Orchestra fee is waived for bass players, to help offset the cost of this rental.


Other fees/expenses

  • Summer Orchestra fee of $75
  • Essential Elements book 1 for your child’s instrument (approximately $10)
  • A few small accessories, many of which are included in the beginner rental package
  • Valpo Music” green polo shirt, $15
Middle School Orchestra
Orchestra Message for Incoming 6th Graders