Orchestra travels to VCU

Lucas Harkins

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The Strings Orchestra is preparing for their playing assessment at Mountain View High School. Students of the orchestra plan to take a “superior” rating at the assessment.

The orchestra instructor, Amanda Zayatz, and the orchestra have been preparing for the event from March 27 to March 29. During which, they will play for a panel of judges in order to assess their abilities as a group.

The strings players have been preparing for the assessment for months and are beyond ready. Zayatz’s instruction has led the group to become better than ever before.

“Mrs. Zayatz does an amazing job of breaking down the music and giving us background of the music,” violinist Michelle Ahiable said. “It helps a lot with confidence.”

Zayatz is very happy with the quality of her ensemble and how much they have improved since the beginning of the year. The orchestra continues to work non-stop to do their very best at assessment.

“We have worked hard and I know we will continue to do so,” Zayatz said. “We have put in the work.”

The orchestra enjoys finding interesting ways to learn how to improve, from learning from the chorus director, to working in small groups with other players. One of the favorite learning tactics of the strings orchestra is to invite guest conductors during class.

“I enjoy having guest conductors, because they teach us things that could have been missed by Mrs. Zayatz,” violist Elissa Bustamante said.

Zayatz finds it encouraging to use a wide variety tactics to educate her students. Her use of guest conductors allows her students to discover new ways to learn, as well as enables herself to learn how to improve her own methods of teaching.

“She does an amazing job of bringing in new experienced conductors,” Ahiable said. “They give us a different view of how we are doing.”

Another event the orchestra is looking forward to attending is a playing clinic at the Virginia Commonwealth University. It will allow orchestra students to learn from a professional viewpoint from the conductors at the university. They are looking forward to the helpful training that they will receive to prepare for assessment.

“I am so excited,” violinist Sasha Stevens said. “We will get tips from more experienced musicians at VCU.”

Every section of the orchestra – concert, symphonic, and chamber – plan to leave the assessment with a rating of “superior.”

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