About the Miller South Orchestras

Miller South School for the Visual and Performing Arts is an arts magnet school within the Akron Public Schools in Akron, Ohio.  Founded in 1993, Miller South has been dedicated to serving students in grades 4-8 with a unique arts integrated curriculum.  Students are selected to participate in the orchestra program through the open-enrollment process with the Akron Public Schools as well as an audition.

All fourth grade students at Miller South take a string exploratory class where they are introduced to the basics of playing the violin, viola, cello, or bass which are provided by the school at no charge.  After completing this exploratory, students may elect to continue in the string program as fifth graders by participating in the Fifth Grade Orchestra.  Fifth grade students new to the building may also join the orchestra program at this point in time.  The class meets 3 times each week and two concerts are scheduled in January and April/May.  Students work through Essential Elements Book 1 and will continue the following year in the Sixth Grade Orchestra (see below).  Students who participate in Fifth Grade Orchestra are able to continue their original art interest area in addition to orchestra.

String interest area students are able to participate in two different performing groups while at Miller South.  Incoming 4th, 5th, and 6th grade students participate in the Sixth Grade Orchestra which meets daily.  Several performances are scheduled throughout the year.  Students will continue to work through Essential Elements Book 2 and are introduced to more advanced techniques like shifting and vibrato.

As students move into the upper grades they become members of the String Orchestra.  Made up of 7th and 8th grade string students, this group continues to develop their skills using the Essential Technique Book, continued work with shifting and vibrato, the introduction to 3 octave scales, and preparing a wide variety of music that is presented at one or more concerts each quarter.   In addition, many students participate in the Ohio Music Education Association's Solo and Ensemble Adjudicated Event held each year as well as participating in ensembles such as the Akron Youth Philharmonic, the Akron Youth Symphony, and the Cleveland Contemporary Youth Orchestra.

String interest area students in the 7th and 8th grade have additional opportunities to study more in depth topics in music theory and music history as well as playing experiences with solo and chamber music. 
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