Home Page‎ > ‎



Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School

Orchestra I, Orchestra II, Jazz Band I, Jazz Band II, Jazz Improv, Chorus


All students are expected to have their own instrument; cellos, double basses, pianos, and drum kits included.  Cello, double bass, piano/keyboard, and drum kit students will be provided an instrument to use during their class time but must have their own instrument for home practice.  Please review “Required Instrument Accessories” below for details.

Electric bass guitar, electric guitar, electric keyboard, and electric violin/cello students will be provided amplifiers, but must bring their own instrument cables.

All students will keep their instrument in good playing condition.  In the event an instrument must go in for repair it is the student’s responsibility to arrange for a loaner instrument.  While your instrument is being repaired, hold on to playing accessories such as mouthpiece, reeds, neck strap, etc. so you can play a school owned instrument.  Students will not be excused from playing in class due to an instrument being repaired.  

Students will be provided with storage shelves in the music room.  Students are not to leave their instruments in the hall or in the music room before or after school.  Students must drop off instruments to room 124 in the morning and pick them up at the end of the day.  Students will not tamper with other people’s equipment and play only their principal instrument.


Flute:  Swab.

Oboe:  Reed in good playing condition, at least 1 new spare reed, cork grease, and swab.

Clarinet/Bass Clarinet:  Mouthpiece, ligature, reed (strength 3 at least) in good playing condition, at least 2 new spare reeds (strength 3 at least), cork grease, and swab. 

Saxophone:  Mouthpiece, ligature, reed (strength 2.5 at least) in good playing condition, at least 2 new spare reeds (strength 2.5 at least), neckstrap, cork grease, and swab.

Trumpet:  Mouthpiece and valve oil.

Trombone:  Mouthpiece and slide oil.

Baritone/Euphonium/Tuba:  Mouthpiece and valve oil.

Electric Keyboard:  ¼ “ Instrument cable in good playing condition.

Guitar (Electric and Acoustic):  pick, strings in good playing condition, a spare set of strings, and ¼” instrument cable in good playing condition.

Bass Guitar:  Strings in good playing condition, a spare set of strings, and ¼ “ instrument cable.

Drums/percussion, Orchestra:  Pair of Concert Drumsticks and Pair of Yarn Mallets (medium hardness).

Drums/percussion, Jazz:  Pair of Jazz Drumsticks (http://www.steveweissmusic.com/product/29422/vic-firth-drum-sticks are recommended) and Pair of Medium Wire Brushes (http://www.steveweissmusic.com/product/1126641/brushes are recommended).

Violin/Viola:  Bow, strings in good playing condition, a spare set of strings, rosin, shoulder rest.

Cello:  Bow, strings in good playing condition, a spare set of strings, rosin, and strap style endpin stop.

Double Bass:  Rosin, and bass endpin slip stop. 

Electric Violin/Cello:  ¼ “ Instrument cable in good playing condition.


Students must be on time to class.  This means in the room at the posted class start time.  Students will have 3 minutes from the posted class start time to be in their seats with instruments and music out ready for ensemble warm up.  Attendance will be taken at the posted class start time and any student not in the room will be counted tardy or absent.

All students must have instrument, required instrument accessories, music, and pencil at each rehearsal.

Students will not tamper with materials, instruments, supplies, or accessories belonging to another student, and will play only their principal instrument.

All students must participate to the best of their ability in each class, rehearsal, or concert.


All students and parents should check the Maggie Walker Music website for important updates, forms, events, and news.  The website is www.maggiewalkermusic.com.


The curriculum for all ensemble classes is designed to meet and exceed national and state standards while upholding the school’s global mission and technology standards.

The VCU Dual Enrollment Music Theory course uses the same curriculum as VCU.

The Music Composition and Digital Production Senior Seminar’s curriculum is designed to provide students with experiential learning in the professional music fields of composition, recording, and promotion of original material.

Measures to advance students of various experience levels are taken.  These include, but are not limited to:  1) the opportunity to serve as section leaders through audition, 2) volunteering (or accepting the assignment) to play a written solo or improvised solo (which provide as much challenge as the player chooses to risk), 3) breaking into smaller ensembles of students based on merit, 4) customizing musical parts to appropriate individual level of challenge, 5) students helping to select music of difficulty level of their choosing, 6) being invited to perform for various special community and/or school sponsored events, and 7) meeting or exceeding higher levels of challenge to gain eligibility for induction and continued participation in Tri-M Music Honors Society, and/or to earn a National Music Award, Director bestowed Merit or Musician Award, or Tri-M Music Honors Society Scholarship.  

**Maggie Walker Governor’s School upholds the eligibility policies set forth by the sponsors of extracurricular ensembles that require participation in the school music program. Participation in the school music program constitutes being fully and currently enrolled in a curricular music class. There are no exclusions or alternative provisions for partial participation shy of full and current enrollment to gain extracurricular eligibility. In the rare event a course required for graduation prevents enrollment in a music class due to an unavoidable schedule conflict, verification is required from the students' counselor.** 

By the third week of class, students are assessed to determine their current musical skill level.  This is used to determine the level of difficulty of the content on which students are graded during the year and their seating assignment.


The grading system is part of the necessary communication with students and parents concerning student progress and development.  Evaluation includes a ratio of potential to performance and reflects the importance of both process and product.  See your student’s class syllabus (located on class webpage) for specific grading information.  


Most Important key to successful rehearsal is NO TALKING!!!!!!!

“An artist paints on a blank canvas and a musician paints on silence”

Keep track of your own music.  Do NOT depend on a stand partner.  

Always bring a pencil to rehearsal or keep one in your folder.  Mark your part liberally!  

When warming up individually, play no louder than mezzo forte! 

Before rehearsal, adjust your stand, rosin bows, warm-up.  Do not expect to do those things after the rehearsal start time.

Professional recordings of the music we perform are vastly accessible.  Please get a recording of the music via YouTube, iTunes, Lastfm.com, Spotify, jwpepper.com, etc., and listen to it often.  Each group is entitled to its own interpretation of the work, but you will get a more natural feel for the piece if you have listened to it and are very familiar with the selection.  It is also helpful to listen to other works by the same composer or works in the same time period.  Styles of phrasing, bowing, and articulation change from time period to time period.  The educated player must be sensitive to these time period adjustments.

Make sure you know how your individual part fits in with the group.  Are you melody, harmony, counter melody, other??  What other instruments in the group do you match?  Listen “around the room” not just within your own section.  If you are unsure of what the motif, theme, melodic or harmonic line is- ask!!

People who sit in first stands in strings or are playing a 1st part in winds and brass are considered principal players.  They have special jobs within the group.  It is necessary for principals to have already addressed issues such as bowings, breathing, dynamics, note checks, fingerings, and any other item pertaining to their section.  If there is a question, please ask. 

Principals must also lead musically and physically.  It is the responsibility of each player to lead musically and physically while imitating the principals in terms of articulation, bowing, breathing, and dynamics.  The entire group should show physical musicality.

Strings use the terminology “inside” and “outside” players.  Outside players are always playing while inside players are responsible for marking music and turning pages.  On a part marked “divisi” the outside player plays the top and the inside player plays the bottom.  In the event of more than a two-way divisi the pattern continues with outside on top, inside middle, next outside on the bottom.  Inside players should generally play slightly under the outside player in terms of dynamics.  Outside players must be strong in the bowing as they are very visible.


Report before your required warm-up time.  Rosin bows, warm-up, arrange and gather music prior to the warm-up time.  

Report dressed for success.  You ARE seen as well as heard.  Make certain you have the appropriate attire (it affects your grade!).  If you do not wish to wear your tux jacket during your warm-up or prior to the performance that is fine, but your tie and cummerbund must be on and shirts tucked in at all times.  Hair should be neat and combed.  No excessive jewelry.

When you are instructed to be back stage you must be quiet.  It is easy to think that because no one can see you they cannot hear you.  This is NOT true!!!  Any noise made back stage can be easily heard in the audience.  You must also limit movement backstage due to lighting.  Many times the lighting is poor and instruments can be damaged or you can get hurt.  NEVER leave your instrument unattended backstage.  Large instruments like cellos and basses have a designated location for instruments.  Do NOT put your cello or bass just anywhere backstage. 

Players should never leave their music alone with an instrument before a performance.  Your music should stay with you at all times before and during a performance.  

When lining up to go on stage, be careful to line up correctly.  Basses, cellos and violas should enter from their side of the stage.  Last viola goes first followed by violas from back to front.  The Cellos from front to back and then basses from back to front.  This provides the most logical movement of people and instruments.  Violins enter from the other side of the stage seconds then firsts from front to back.  Winds should typically sit with two rows then percussion.  Percussion should go first, then brass then wood winds.  

When all players are on stage, the concertmaster (mistress) enters.  All players should lead acknowledgement of concertmaster with light taps of the bow on the music stand or light foot shuffling.  LIGHT is key.  The concert master should turn and bow to the audience to acknowledge applause.  The Concertmaster then tunes his/her instrument.  The principal violin should have a tuner at the stand and give a head nod when the “A” is at 440.  Then the rest of the strings should tune.  After strings are tuned.  The procedure is repeated for winds.  If piano is used, the concertmaster has the piano give the “A” and tunes from the piano.

After tuning the concertmaster sits down.  When the conductor appears the entire orchestra should stand to acknowledge applause with the conductor.  The conductor will motion for the group to sit.

When the conductor is off the podium, all players are in their rest positions.  Once the conductor steps on the podium the players move to a ready position.  When the conductors arms raise players move to their playing position.  If you do not enter right away you may remain in the ready position.  Proper playing position on and off stage sends a message about you as a performer, your ability, and your respect for your art.

When a piece is finished, all players should remain in playing position until the conductors arms are lowered.  This signifies the piece is over and the group has ended together.  If the selection has more than one movement the conductor will not lower his arms and players should have music ready to proceed to the next movement immediately with no big pause.  Some movements are “attaca” which means one movement flows right into the next with no break at all.

If a selection has featured a soloist, the conductor will acknowledge the soloist at the end of the piece by having them stand.  If they have performed a solo with orchestral accompaniment the conductor will shake their hand and acknowledge the soloist.  The soloist should hold their instrument with their left hand to free the right hand.  After the acknowledgement, the soloist should bow to the audience.  If applause continues the soloist may bow again.  Always leave the stage as the applause dies down.

At the end of the entire performance, the conductor will motion for you to stand and acknowledge applause.  Do so without hesitation.  Exit the stage in the reverse.  Look carefully to make certain you did not leave anything behind.  If you have not performed on your “home stage” it may be difficult to get things back if you leave something behind.

Have FUN.  Show your enjoyment of music to the audience.  Music is a high like no other.  You will always remember your moments on stage.  Make them good ones!!!!!


Details will be provided prior to the first concert performance (check concert dates on class website).


Section leaders will have designated duties such as marking in and passing out bowings for their section, communicating with other sections regarding bowing, phrasing, tempo, providing a good role model for the rest of the group, and having exemplary playing and performing skills.

Section leaders are required to organize sectionals and lead sectionals one time per month.  They must clear the date with the director and inform their section of the date well in advance.


Your first seating audition will take place early in the school year.  The exact date will be announced before the end of the first full week of school.

All students are required to play for the seating assignments.

The auditions for seating will include scales, a prepared piece, and sightreading.

All seating auditions will be done in class unless the director otherwise specifies.

All students are expected to be polite, courteous, and respectful to those auditioning.

Seating assignments will be made based on playing ability, leadership ability, commitment to the group, and placement that facilitates the ensemble sound of the group.  Strong players will be evenly distributed from front to back and between first violins and second violins.

REHEARSAL/SECTIONAL/CONCERT ATTENDANCE-See Your Class Webpage for the Mandatory Attendance Dates!

Ensemble classes are performance based and attendance at combined lunch time rehearsals/sectionals, after-school dress rehearsals, and concerts is mandatory.  

Students and parents are asked to look at the schedule ahead of time and arrange doctor and dentist appointments so they do not conflict with after-school requirements.

Students must plan ahead with coaches and other extracurricular schedules so they can fulfill their ensemble attendance requirements.

Students are excused from any after-school ensemble activity if they have had an excused absence from school the day of the activity.  This does not include field trips unless the field trip extends beyond the school day and into the rehearsal time.

Students will be excused from a concert only in the event of an excused absence the day of the concert, a family emergency, or sudden illness.

Coaches and the director will determine where the student should go in the event there is a match or meet the evening of a concert.


Private lessons are not mandatory but are highly recommended.

Private teacher references are gladly provided upon request.


Home practice is the homework of the Maggie Walker Music Ensemble member.  Once a student has been introduced to a specific skill, individual practice at home is required and expected in order to master the skill.  

Students are expected to practice a minimum of 30 minutes per day, 5 days a week.  A daily practice routine should consist of tone building exercises, technique development, review of class materials and exercises, preparation of class assignments, and select musical repertoire for ensemble rehearsal and performance. 

Remember that being a member of an ensemble involves making a commitment to daily practice at home.  Good practice habits and a positive attitude have a great effect on the success you will achieve in class.

Individual daily practice is assessed via playing tests and director observation.


The Tri-M Music Honor Society is the international music honor society for middle/junior high and high school students.  It is designed to recognize students for their academic and musical achievements, reward them for their accomplishments and service activities, and to inspire other students to excel at music and leadership.  Through more than 6000 chartered chapters, Tri-M has helped thousands of young people provide years of service through music in schools throughout the world.

Tri-M shares and supports the objectives of every dedicated music educator—to increase student and school involvement with music and to make a stronger and more unified school music program.  Tri-M offers a complete system of rewards that helps inspire students and recognizes excellence in individuals and chapters.  With this system, the society builds self-esteem and provides a channel of personal fulfillment.

Students are selected for membership based on the following criteria:

Demonstration of excellence in musicianship, scholarship, service, leadership, and character.

Enrollment in a curricular music ensemble and/or class for at least one semester of the current school year.

Prior enrollment in a curricular music ensemble and/or class for at least one year prior to the current school year.

Having a cumulative A grade in music and a B grade or better overall (based on last marking period).


Every spring, the Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School Music Program sponsors an overnight field trip to a musically rich destination where students have an unforgettably educational and fun experience.  Previous trips have taken students to Boston, New York, Chicago, Orlando, and most recently, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, among others.  Students have performed, competed, participated in music clinics, and attended live performances by musical legends.  All students enrolled in a curricular music class and who are academically eligible are eligible and encouraged to attend.  Fundraising opportunities are offered to help offset the cost of the trip. 


The Maggie Walker Music Boosters provides vital support to the program with generous donations of membership funds, volunteered time, effort, and expertise.  These resources go towards musical instruments, enrichment/clinicians/workshops, sheet music, business expenses, competitions/festival participations/fees, concerts/receptions/silent auction/awards dinner, awards, concert attire, and spring trip expenses.  It is our goal to have 100% membership of music families.  Open Board Positions are available too!  Can you help?  Visit the Music Boosters webpage at www.maggiewalkermusic.com  to see which positions are available.  All are welcome to attend Music Boosters Board Meetings during the school year.  There are many opportunities to volunteer - whether at school or from home.  Please volunteer to help by selecting a specific activity on the Maggie Walker Music Parent Info form found on www.maggiewalkermusic.com.  Come and join us! 


Enhancing Your Son/Daughter’s Musical Experience

Numerous studies indicate that parental attitude, support, and involvement are important factors in a student’s ability to successfully to play and enjoy music.

These guidelines are designed to give your son/daughter the best support possible for his or her musical endeavors.  Like any skill, interest counts far more than talent.  With strong support from you, playing music will become a natural part of your student’s life.


For your child- Music participation enhances:



Physical Coordination

Self-confidence and esteem




Memory Skills


And much, much more!

For your family- A student’s music study also offers opportunities for shared family experiences, including:

A sense of accomplishment and pride for the entire family

Family music-making

Learning about the lives of composers and the cultural heritage of many civilizations

Music event attendance

Performing for, and with family and friends

Can you think of more?


Always keep in mind that your support may be the most essential element in your student’s success with music study.

Schedule Practice Times

Musical achievement requires effort over a period of time.  The time in ensemble rehearsal is limited.  New concepts learned at school need daily personal practice time by your student at home in order for these new skills to be developed.  You can help your student by:

Providing a quiet place in which to practice

Remaining nearby during practice times as much as possible.

Scheduling a consistent daily time for practice.

Praising their efforts and achievements.

What You Can Do

To give your student the best possible support, you should:

Remind them to bring their instrument and music to their ensemble class.

Encourage them to play for family and friends.

Offer compliments and encouragement regularly.

Expose them to a wide variety of music, including concerts and recitals.

Encourage them to talk with you about classes.

Make sure their instrument is always maintained well.

Listen to them practice and acknowledge improvement.

Help them build a personal music library.

Encourage them to make a commitment to his or her music studies.

Get to know their teacher.

What To Avoid

Using practice as punishment.

Insisting that they play for others when he/she doesn’t want to.

Ridiculing or making fun of mistakes of less-than-perfect playing.

Apologizing to others for their weak performance.

How To Maintain Your Student’s Interest

Notice the improvements in their playing, no matter how small.

Talk with them if their interest begins to decline.

Discuss with their ensemble teacher ways to maintain their enthusiasm for playing.

Increase your enthusiasm and involvement in their playing.

Show an interest in the variety of music they are studying.

When possible, listen to or attend music performances.