Wondering if your child is ready for orchestra? Click for information that will help you determine if now is the right time.
Learn about our group lessons, available in three levels of difficulty.
As students progress and gain skill, joining a youth orchestra ensemble is the next step. Learn about Junior Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra.
We offer low-cost rentals to our students.
Find out about tuition costs, payment options, and our scholarship program.
Register and pay to enroll in classes. You can also rent an instrument using this form.
***Registration is now closed ***
Nov. 11 (Veteran's Day)
Nov. 25-26 (Thanksgiving break)
Dec. 20-31 (Winter break)
Jan. 17 (Martin Luther King, Jr. Day)
March 21-25 (Spring break)
**NOTE: the classes held on school campuses will not take place on no-school days such as grading days and conferences. Classes held at other locations will take place on no-school days. Link to GAPS Academic Calendar.
We teach students in group classes of 8-25 students. Most classes include violins, violas, cellos and basses all together. Some Level 1 classes may be for only violins or cellos, depending on the enrollment needs at a school. Classes are most often before or after school and are held at schools selected by parent interest, school availability, and teacher availability. The pandemic has affected everything, but we hope to continue our classes at South Shore Elementary and in North Albany and welcome requests for other schools. We are also working on having some classes at a central location in Albany that would help accommodate students from any school. We welcome students from private and home schools in all of our classes!
We are currently working on our fall schedule. Classes will start in early October. Please check back on this page as we update details about classes, fees, and rentals.
For students 3rd grade and above who are just starting out, and for students who want to strengthen and improve their skills before advancing to the Level 2 class. Using the first Essential Elements book, you will learn the basics of playing your instrument, from correct posture to how to hold the bow, to forming notes on the fingerboard. Learning how to read music is introduced once students learn the basics of playing the instrument. Daily study of the class material at home is necessary to acquire the skills needed to play well.
For students who have successfully completed Level 1 and are ready for new challenges. Using the second book in the Essential Elements series, you will finish learning all the notes on the fingerboard in first position, and playing in several different keys. Other techniques include more advanced slurring, complex rhythms, and a variety of time signatures.
Students who complete Level 2 successfully are ready to join Junior Orchestra to learn ensemble playing.
Level 3 class is for students who have successfully completed Level 2. Using the third book in the Essential Elements series, we will continue position work, advanced bowing techniques, and more challenging ensemble playing .
The techniques learned in Level 3 are essential to preparing for Chamber Orchestra.
In Junior Orchestra, students learn and develop ensemble playing skills and continue to advance their technical skills on their instrument. NEW: NO AUDITION is required to join this group, but you need to have skills equivalent to those acquired in Level 2 to be able to play the music in this group. If you can understand and play most of this music at a slow pace, you would be ready for junior orchestra. But remember, new this year, there will NOT be any audition or playing test for Junior Orchestra.
We are currently working on our fall schedule. Classes will start in early October.
Chamber Orchestra is for the most advanced players. The repertoire is challenging and FUN. Players must have prior experience in a mixed ensemble such as Junior Orchestra. An audition is required to join, and all players must audition each year for placement.
We are currently working on our fall schedule. Classes will start in early October.
Tuition is $380 for the 2020-2021 school year for all orchestra classes and ensembles except South Shore Elementary (see note below.) Tuition may be paid in one full payment at registration, two payments of $190 (at registration and Feb. 1, 2021), or $48 monthly, due at registration and then on the 1st of each month from October 2020 to May 2021. Financial assistance is available through our scholarship program.
Pay one fee, play as much as you want! Level 2 and 3 students can also play in the orchestra ensembles for no additional tuition.
South Shore Elementary provides a grant and additional scholarship assistance that enables us to provide classes and instruments to those students at no charge.
We have instruments available for rental to our students. Scholarship recipients receive a 50% discount on rental. NOTE: South Shore Elementary students use school instruments for free. North Albany Elementary has free school violins and violas for Level 1 students.
Monthly Rental Rates 2020-2021
Violins and violas: $16
Cellos and basses: $30
Instrument outfits include instrument and bow, rosin, shoulder pad (violins and violas), endpin stop (cellos and basses), and case. You are responsible for all these items. When instruments are returned with missing items, we will charge you for replacement. If you break a string or lose something, we have affordable replacements available.
MVPS believes that music should be available to every child, regardless of that child's current family resources. This scholarship is funded by generous donations from Gerald and Margery Koll, major supporters of the Mid-Valley Prelude Sinfonia and music in general, and by many other individuals who believe in the power of music for children. The scholarship provides a 50% discount on tuition and rental fees for the school year September-August, including the summer session. Scholarships are awarded to those demonstrating financial need and a motivation to learn.
This completed form must be turned in before you register in order to receive the discount. You will be notified of your scholarship status, and if granted, a coupon code will be sent to you for use during registration.
NOTE: South Shore students already receive a full scholarship so they are not eligible for this scholarship.
Stay tuned for more information about picking up your rental or school instrument in late September.
When you get your school or MVPS instrument, you will sign a contract stating that you are responsible for your instrument. Please tell your instructor immediately if something breaks. You will need to pay for replacing or repairing the instrument or bow. We do many repairs in-house to keep costs down, but be aware that the standard replacement cost for a violin or viola is $200 and a cello is $600. If you break a string, you will need to purchase a replacement string.
Bows which are dropped or overtightened and snap off the tips will need to be replaced. Bows regularly "shed" a few of the horsehairs, but if you break most of the hair, you will need to pay for a replacement bow from MVPS, which ranges in price from $20-$40 depending on instrument and size.
Please contact us about repairs for our instruments. We will do our best to get the most affordable repair done. If you rent an instrument from a music store, you must take it to that store for repair.
Because most elementary students play on smaller-sized instruments, we recommend that you rent rather than purchase an instrument until the child has grown into a full-sized instrument.
We recommend purchasing only from a reputable music store or dealer. Expect to budget at least $300 for a violin or viola and $500 for a cello. Quality used instruments can be found, but they should be checked out by a knowledgeable repair person before you purchase. We are happy to recommend local and online resources if you contact us!
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do not purchase the cheap instrument outfits found at fairs and bazaars, major retail stores and online (i.e. violins/violas for $30-$100 or cellos under $300). There are too many brand names to list. Most are not playable due to poor quality and improper setup, you will spend more than what you bought it for to have someone make it playable, and these instruments have zero trade-in or resale value. In addition, your child may acquire poor playing habits trying to avoid bad sounds that are the fault of the instrument.
Our program is open to children beginning in third grade. Traditional orchestra programs often start in fourth grade. Many children have acquired skills by third grade that they need to succeed in orchestra class, but some children acquire them later, even into fourth or fifth grade. Many fine musicians didn’t start until sixth or seventh grade. Here are some characteristics of children who are “ready” for orchestra:
Obviously, that would be the mythical perfect child, and we understand that kids are kids. However, if a child is still just developing several of the “ready” characteristics, we recommend waiting a year and reassessing. If a child is having trouble with managing behavior and following directions, we may ask the parent to attend class.
We want to emphasize that our program is open to ALL students, not only the highest achievers!! Music has been proven to improve learning skills while providing an enriching personal and social experience. We ask parents of children who benefit from educational assistance at school to talk to us about what helps your child learn. Due to privacy laws, the school cannot release information unless the parents authorize it. It has been our experience that the accommodations that help a few students are often beneficial to many others as well.
Mid-Valley Prelude Sinfonia is a 501(c)(3) registered nonprofit organization whose goal is to provide affordable strings education to youth in the greater Albany area. Mid-Valley Prelude Sinfonia receives support from the Oregon Arts Commission, a state agency funded by the State of Oregon and the National Endowment for the Arts and is supported in part by a grant from the Oregon Cultural Trust, investing in Oregon's arts, humanities and heritage and by the Linn County Cultural Coalition.