Arts

Music

St. Anne School Orchestras & Bands

St. Anne School orchestra offers beginning, intermediate, and advanced instruction of all string instruments to include the violin, viola, cello and bass. Classes are offered to students in 3rd through 8th grade.  Students learn a range of classical pieces along with a variety of film music, rock and jazz. Performances are held at school and in the local community. 

We are pleased to also offer band instruction on the following instruments for 5th-8th grade: flute, clarinet, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, trumpet and trombone.
Thank you for helping to spark your child's interest in playing a musical instrument.

The Instruments

Prior to starting the school year, students should select an orchestral string instrument they are interested in learning. They don't need any prior experience with music, as our program is individually tailored to a degree to get all of our students involved in the orchestra(s) as the year progresses. We of course welcome students with prior study on an instrument, as they will enjoy the ensemble aspects of instrumental music they are not able to get on their own. You can read about the different instruments we offer below.

List of 6 items.

  • The Violin

    The violin is the string family’s most recognizable orchestral instrument. Whether you call it a violin or a fiddle, it is the orchestra’s soprano, or highest voice. High pitched, beautifully toned, the violin is often used as a lead or solo instrument, particularly in music demanding fast passage work
  • The Viola

    The viola is the alto sibling of the violin. It is slightly larger in size and more mellow in tone that its sister instrument. The depth and richness of the viola adds to the orchestra’s sounds and is vital for string ensemble and quartets.
  • The Cello

    The cello represents the tenor voice of the orchestra. It produces warm sounds and low tones. Unlike the violin and viola, the cello is supported on the floor by an end-pin, while the seated performer steadies the instrument with their knees.
  • The Double Bass or Electric Bass

    The bass is the largest orchestral instrument and can be played with a bow or plucked with the hand in either the sitting or standing position. The electric bass is a bit easier to play and is an electrified instrument. The bass is the deepest voice of the string family and sets the foundation or “bottom” to the orchestra. (Offered for 2nd year players only, audition required.)
  • Piano/Xylophone/Mallet Instruments

    Commonly referred to as "keyboard instruments", the piano, xylophone, and glockenspiel have the same basic notes patterns and setups that make it easy for students playing the piano, to switch over to a mallet based instrument. Xylophone uses two mallets and the keyboard is enlarged, therefore allowing the player to concentrate on a single melody or using more mallets to create chord formations. (Audition required due to limited spots, previous experience required.)
  • Non-Pitched Percussion

    This refers to any instrument that cannot create a melodic line. For example, the snare drum, can create various rhythms and sounds, it cannot create pitch and likewise with cymbals and various other effects. There are so many instruments that fit under this category, it is important for the musician to be able to read the sheet music and switch instruments commonly. (Incorporated into the orchestra at different times through year.)

Electives

List of 2 items.

  • Elementary School (3rd - 5th Grade Only)

    Beginning Strings Level I– This class is open for 3rd graders who are just starting. Violin, viola, cello are accepted. This class meets during the school day and is offered during your child’s music class. This group performs at the end of the year for our Spring Concert. Students will receive credit.

    Beginning Strings Level II
    - This is deisgned for students who are in their 2nd year of playing. Students will learn more about performance and more notes on their instruments, including more in depth rhythm study, dynamics and tempos. This groups will perform at the end of the school year for our Spring Concert.

    Crusaders Orchestra (Audition Only)
    - This class is open for 5th graders who have been playing 2 years or more. Violin, viola, cello, double bass/electric bass are accepted. This class meets during the school day and is offered during your child’s music class. Your child must also participate in one day a week mandatory afterschool rehearsal that meets one day a week 3:00- 4:00pm. Students typically perform 3 times a year (Christmas Program, Festival of Knights, Spring Concert). Students will receive credit.

    Crusaders Band
    - This class is open for 5th graders who are starting to learn a band instrument. Flute, clarinet, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, trumpet and trombone are taught. This class meets during the school day and is offered during your child’s music class.
  • Middle School

    MidKnights Orchestra– For 6th-8th graders who have never played an instrument or are need one-on-one experience, this class is offered during the school day. Students will receive more concentrated instruction on an instrument as the class is offered 5 days a week for 40 minutes for a traditional letter grade. Students are given an exit audition in order to place into Blue Knights.

    Blue Knights Orchestra (audition only)
    – For 6th-8th graders who have played at least two years on an instrument, this class is offered during the school day. Students will receive more concentrated instruction on their instrument as well as performing with a group. This class is offered 5 days a week for 40 minutes for a traditional grade. This group performs throughout the year on and off campus.

    Beginning Band
    – For 6th-8th graders who are new to playing a band instrument, this class is offered one day a week, zero period (7:00-7:35) Students will receive more concentrated instruction on their instrument as well as performing with a group. This group performs at our end of the year concert.

    Excalibur Band (audition only)
    – For 6th-8th graders who have played at least one year on a band instrument, this class is offered one day a week, zero period (7:00-7:35) Students will receive more concentrated instruction on their instrument as well as performing with a group. This group performs throughout the year on and off campus.

Frequently Asked Questions

List of 5 frequently asked questions.

  • Q: Does a student need to know anything about music to play in orchestra?

    No. The elementary music classes prepare students for the beginning orchestra program. Instrument skills, rhythms, note reading and music theory will be taught in Orchestra class.
  • Q: How do I buy or rent an instrument?

    Instruments are available for rental or rental or purchase at several Orange County music stores. The music teacher will measure each student and discuss the options of which instrument to choose. The school will also hosts an on-site band rental evening. Please be wary of inexpensive instruments being sold at warehouse and grocery type stores. Also be wary of anything purchased off the internet. Cheap instruments tend to be out of tune more, which frustrates the child from learning.
  • Q: Does the school provide any instruments?

    Yes. Due to their size, the school provides some celli and basses for students to use during class. There is a small maintenance fee for the use of school instruments. The students are not allowed to take these home without teacher approval.
  • Q: Can orchestra students be involved in sports?

    Yes! We have many great students involved in sports, school clubs, and variety of other after school activities throughout elementary and middle school.
  • Q: What if a student already plays a stringed instrument?

    Please contact the music director to have your child placed in the right level for their music learning.

Renting vs. Buying

With all beginners, we recommend that you begin their studies by renting an instrument from a reputable stringed instrument shop, until they have expressed a strong interest in continuing with the instrument past the first year. Most establishments have a 3-month minimum lease costing between $20-$40/month, and often times that fee can be counted towards the final purchase cost of an instrument.

While there are dozens of music stores all over Orange County, not all of them offer the same products and services. The kind of store we recommend that you obtain an instrument at will have the following:
  1. Trained staff in instrument making and repair (of the appropriate craft, for example: violinmaking, woodwind repair), with an onsite workshop.
  2. Extensive selection of instruments and bows from beginner to advanced. Shops, general stores or big warehouses that only sell "rank beginner" models generally don't have the expertise to help students move up from there and the instruments are a poor quality.
Some businesses do not really have the best interests of kids in mind, and exist solely to "dump" low-quality products on unsuspecting parents and students in the name of profit. Sadly, there are a number of students each year who quit playing a musical instrument because even after they have developed their skills in a program, the equipment which they play on does not function properly, and they become frustrated as they are unable to make satisfactory progress.

The quality of an instrument is important, but the "set-up" is the most critical aspect of any instrument: The bridge must be cut and fitted properly, fingerboard planed, strings at the correct height, pegs turning smoothly. All these contribute to a functioning musical instrument that will allow a student to be successful!

St. Anne School

Phone: (949) 276-6700 | Fax: (949) 276-6706 | Email
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An independent Catholic school recognized by and within the Diocese of Orange