Orchestras and Suzuki Strings (Grades 1-8)

Girl playing violin.

    Please find an overview of our program and information about sign-up, finding an instrument, concert dates and news for each grade level.  Please check regularly and email or call me with any questions you may have.                                                                               John Middleton     john.middleton@spps.org          651 325 2558


    Mr Fulton and Mr Middleton would like to invite all 4th and 5th graders to continue or begin study of wind, or percussion instruments in Band or string instruments in Orchestra.  We have visited the classrooms to demonstrate all the instruments and to give out sign up information.  That can also be found on our portions of the Capitol Hill website under: "Classrooms" “Arts at Capitol Hill”  "Mr Fulton" or “Mr. Middleton”    Please return sign-up forms by Wednesday Sept. 16th


    John Middleton, Instructor  651-325-2558



    Welcome to all new and returning Orchestra and Suzuki students and families.  This is a brief description of our grade 1 through 8 strings program here at Capitol Hill.  Please find sign-up information, where to get instruments, assignments and concert dates on the Capitol Hill website under:   "Classrooms”   “Arts at Capitol Hill”   "Mr. Middleton”



    Suzuki Talent Education is the method of instruction we use for students in grades 1 through 3, whose families want for them to study violin, viola or cello.  This requires parental assistance with daily home practice and participation during school lesson when possible. Students learn to play through listening and memorization first, then learn to read from music after they have developed fluent ability on basic level pieces. 
      - One small group lesson per week, 25 minutes, with 2 to 4 students and a with parents observing.
      - One group class(Cougar Strings) per week, during which students play their pieces in a larger group setting.

      - Instrument: Most families need to rent or purchase an instrument; a small number of school instruments is available.

      - Families need to purchase Suzuki Violin Book 1 and download or CD, for listening and referring to the printed music.


    4th Grade and 5th Grade

    Beginning students and continuing students in grades 4 & 5 use the Suzuki Lesson Book One and also learn to read notes.

      -Cougar Strings is the large group for all students in Book 1 and meets once per week for 45 min.

      - Small group lessons are once per week, with 3 to 10 students (approx. 30 min.)

      - Instrument: Most families need to rent or purchase an instrument; a limited number of school instruments is available.

      - Materials to purchase: Suzuki (violin or viola or cello)  Book 1 and download or CD for listening / study.

      - Additional printed music and worksheets provided by the school.


    Capitol Strings Orchestra is for more experienced string players in Grades 4 or 5 who are near the end of Suzuki Book 1 and beyond and who have more note reading ability. Students develop playing and reading abilities through technique studies, solo pieces, small ensemble pieces and string orchestra works.

    -Materials: Your current Suzuki Book with download or CD for listening study.

    -Other printed music, worksheets and orchestra pieces to be provided by the school

    - Instrument: Most families need to rent or purchase an instrument; a limited number of school instruments is available.



    Beginning Middle School Orchestra is for any 6th, 7th & 8th grade student who wants an opportunity to begin playing violin, viola, cello or bass. No prior experience is needed. Curriculum materials are provided and include a beginning level instruction book, string orchestra pieces and materials designed to build music note reading skills. Because this class meets daily, students have the frequent practice and support to progress rapidly and learn a variety of music.


    Intermediate Orchestra (Middle School) is a year long course open to 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students with 1 to 2 years previous experience on violin, viola, cello or bass. We focus on deepening note reading skills and technical facility beyond what is found in most level one method books and use a wide variety of scales, studies, solos pieces and string orchestra pieces. This orchestra typically performs 3 evening concerts and has the opportunity to play at other school events during the year.


    Concert Orchestra (Middle School) is a challenging course for more advanced 6th, 7th & 8th grade string players on violin, viola, cello, or bass. Students should read music fluently, have a well established left & right hand technique, and should know most two and some three octave scales. We perform a wide variety of music for string orchestra that is typically music graded levels 3 to 4, as well as solo and small ensemble pieces during evening and daytime performances.  A brief audition with the Orchestra teacher may be required.

    DOCUMENTS TO DOWNLOAD found at the bottom of this page:

    • Suzuki (Gr 1 - 3) sign-up letter
    • 4th & 5 th Grade Orchestra Sign-up
    • Gr 1-5 Orch. & Suzuki What to do Next
    • Finding and INstruments & Music Store List
    • Middle School Intermediate & Advanced Orchestra Syllabus

    Concert Dress (for middle school) is our usual black.

                Girls:    Black dress pants or skirt or dress (below knees)

                            Black shoes (open or closed toe are fine)

                            No jeans or sneakers

    Suzuki Sign Up Letter

    Music Store List/ Where to get instruments & supplies

    Middle School Syllabus

    Gr 1-5 Orch & Suzuki What to do Next

    Instrument Search & Music Store List

    4th & 5th Grade Orchestra Sign-up

    Suzuki Strings GR 1-3) Sign-up


    Elementary Orchestras & Suzuki Strings (Grades 1 - 5)

     Middle School Orchestras (Grades 6-8)