The secondary music program of the Plano ISD is designed to provide opportunities for each student to develop his/her creative talents in a number of ways. The program consists of four areas---band, choir, orchestra, and music theory.
The orchestra program at the middle school begins in the sixth grade with instruction in violin, viola, cello, and bass. The sixth grade students are grouped into classes of students playing similar instruments. These classes meet daily and focus on the continued development of basic musical skills begun at the elementary level and establishing fundamental performance skills on the selected instrument. Beginner Orchestra classes combine on two or more occasions during the year to present concerts for the parents and public. Beginner Orchestras may also participate in the Plano I.S.D. Courtyard Theatre Performance Festival in May.
In the seventh and eighth grades, students are provided an opportunity to be a member of the string orchestra. Students are placed into leveled ensembles based on their overall skill on their chosen instrument and an appropriate balance of instrumentation. These orchestras perform three to five concerts each year, including performances on campus, cluster concerts, and for the University Interscholastic League (UIL) Concert and Sight-reading Festival. Students may elect to participate in district-sponsored Solo and Ensemble events and/or the Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA) All-Region Orchestra audition process, to further develop their individual musicianship. Rehearsal time outside the school day is usually limited to one forty-five minute sectional each week.
The ninth and tenth grade, or high school, orchestras challenge the student with more varied and difficult literature than that provided in the middle schools. Students are given a broader range of music with more demanding technical requirements and a Full Orchestra experience may be offered outside the school day. Participation in Concert and Sight-reading and Solo and Ensemble events continues in the High School years. All-Region Orchestra auditions at the high school level are the first round of auditions toward membership in the TMEA All-State Orchestra. In addition to a wide variety of local performance opportunities, the high school orchestras may travel to an out of town performance festival, requiring an overnight stay, on alternate years.
Throughout the years, the senior high school orchestras from Plano have performed at major conventions and competitions across the nation. They are the most advanced orchestras in the district and offer expanded performance opportunities to the eleventh and twelfth grade students. A Full Orchestra experience may be offered outside the school day for interested students. Consistent winners in all categories, these outstanding ensembles are highly-visible. Concert and Sight-reading, Solo and Ensemble and All-Region Orchestra opportunities continue at this level. The senior high orchestras may travel overnight to a performance festival each year.
A Supplemental Music Lesson Program is available to students who wish to enhance their performance skills through individualized instruction with a private music contractor. The campus director can assist students and parents in arranging for such lessons before, during, or after the school day.
For further information, please contact any of the orchestra directors listed on the staff page.