Course Goals:

To play challenging, high-quality music with artistry and proper technique
To improve understanding of music notation and terminology
To understand the historical context and significance of the music studied in class
To develop the ability to improvise and compose music
To practice teamwork, self-discipline, and appreciation for great music

Performance Schedule 2019-20:

Wednesday, October 30< 8th Grade / WHS Orchestra Concert 7.30 PM
Mon, Tues, December 16 & 17 Wednesday, December 18 Winter Concert dress rehearsal Winter Concert 7.30PM
Thursday, December 19 In-school Holiday Concert TBD
Friday-Sat, March 13-14 WHS Music Trip to Boston Overnight
Wednesday, April 1 Spring Concert 7.00 PM
Tuesday, May 26
Wednesday May 27
Pops Concert dress rehersal
Pops Concert
6.30- 8PM
7.30 PM
Saturday after school ends Graduation ceremony 5.00PM



Skill Development
Individual skill development will be graded through recorded playing quizzes due at the end of each month.
Musical Knowledge
Written and computer-based assignments will be given in music theory, history, and composition.

Lesson Attendance and Effort 
Each student must attend two in-school lessons per quarter during their free period or study hall. 
Students are graded on attendance and appropriate participation

Participation and Preparation
Includes bringing all materials to class, following instructions the first time, and devoting full attention to the task at hand.

Concert Participation
Concert participation is mandatory and accounts for a portion of a student’s quarter grade. 
Please notify Mr. Karlan as early as possible if there is an unavoidable conflict with a concert date to arrange for an alternate assignment.

Concert Attire:

In order to present a uniform, professional ensemble, all students will wear matching concert tuxedos and dresses.  Families are asked to purchase concert attire at the beginning of 9th grade. A separate form with ordering information will be sent home in September. Students who outgrow their clothing or require financial assistance may check with the director for the availability of used concert attire.  Graduating seniors are encouraged to consider donating to the collection of used attire.


The director will adjust concert seats in order to maximize the sound of the group and challenge all students appropriately.  Violinists may be asked to play the 1st or 2nd violin part.  Recorded playing assessments will be used to determine appropriate seating. 

Orchestra Placement:

All 9th grade students will  play in the Concert Orchestra.  In January of each year, students may audition for Symphonic Orchestra.  Students who are not admitted at this time may re-audition in the Spring.

Other Musical Opportunities:

Students are encouraged to take private lessons and to audition for the Fairfield County, Western Regional, and All-State festival orchestras; as well as regional orchestras such as Norwalk Youth Symphony, Greater Bridgeport Youth Orchestra, and Western Connecticut Youth Orchestra. Please see Mr. Karlan for more information.

Department Contacts:

Mr. Karlan, Orchestra Director - email:; telephone: 203-762-0381, x6059
Ms. Jara, Lesson Instructor        - email:; telephone: 203-762-0381, x6012

Additional Information:

Link to Local Youth Orchestras and Summer Programs