Degrees and Certifications:
Supervisor/Director - Core (Arts)K-12 Masters in Music Education Bachelors of Music
Mr. Steven Edwards
Steven Edwards is the Fine Arts Department Head for Falmouth Public Schools in Falmouth, Massachusetts. Prior to his appointment as the Department Head in 2015, he was the Director of Instrumental Studies at Falmouth High School since 2006.
Steve was nominated for a Grammy in 2015 as a Music Educator and he also received the 2012 Teacher of the Year Award from the Cape Cod Symphony Orchestra and Cape Cod Conservatory.
Mr. Edwards attended the Hartt School of Music in CT and the University of North Texas. He holds a Masters degree in Music Education and Conducting. He has worked with noted composers, conductors and musicians such as Glen Adsit, Andrew Boysen Jr., Peter Boonshaft, Eugene Corporon, Steve Davis, Thomas Duffy, Jimmy Green, John LaBarbara, Sean O’Loughlin, Steven Reineke, Robert W. Smith, Tony Lujan, Gary Green and Christian Wilhjelm just to name a few. Mr. Edwards has presented the use of music technology in the classroom to the MassCUE conference for administrators for 3 years and presented strategies for assessment in music at the MA All-State conference in 2012.
Steve has conducted award-winning concert bands, wind and jazz ensembles and marching bands in Massachusetts and Connecticut. He conducted the FTG Christmas Variety show in 2008 and Shrek, The Musical in 2016 and The Producers 2018.
Google Classroom: class code: TBA
Dear Students and Parents/Guardians:
It is my great pleasure to welcome you and your son or daughter to the instrumental music program at the Lawrence School! As a music supporter, you most likely already know all the wonderful rewards students gain from learning and perfecting an instrument. Students in a performing ensemble develop motor, language, and aural skills, long-lasting friendships, and best of all, they build confidence and self esteem.
Please read this handbook, sign and return the last page to me ASAP. Feel free to email me (above) with any questions or concerns.
Website/Communication The Chamber Strings Schoology Classroom is the best source of information about the class resources, performances, calendar, announcements and important links for such things as instrument repair and private lessons.
Class Code: TBA
I suggest storing it in your browser’s bookmarks. I will periodically send home email messages about performances, assignments and other class related business. Email is my preferred method of contact.
Schedule Chamber Strings meets every B,D, and F day, (every other day) for the whole school year.
My call back day (for extra help/ performance make-up/ assignments/ practice) is Thursday after school.
We have several scheduled performances:
TBA: Monday in December: Winter Band/Chorus Concert 7 pm @Lawrence
TBA *Wednesday in March: All Bands Night 7pm @Falmouth High School
TBA Friday in May: Music Festival/Six Flags Trip Early morning ‘til evening @6 Flags
TBA *Monday in June: Spring Band Concert 7pm @Lawrence
*Bold indicates mandatory attendance.
Grading Each quarter’s grade is tabulated from the following:
30%: Instrument/Music Check + preparedness (bringing inst. to class)
30%: Playing Assignments (recorded and submitted via online Classroom)
20%: Performance Attendance
20%: Written Assignments and quizzes (through online Classroom)
Instrument Check: All instruments are checked for playability, cleanliness and supplies. Students must have the following:
- Case - A good case will also keep your instrument’s humidity level constant when you’re not playing and safe from dings and scratches.
- Shoulder rest - (Violin & Viola only) A shoulder rest props up your instrument so that it rests at a comfortable location on your shoulder, and it keeps your instrument from slipping. Your shoulder rest needs to be adjustable for height, so that you can determine your most comfortable position, and also width so it accommodates your instrument regardless of size. Average price for beginners is usually less than $25.
- Chin rest - (Violin & Viola only) A chin rest is a specially shaped piece of wood or plastic that attaches to the body of your violin to help position your jaw or chin comfortably on the instrument. Most Violins & Violas will come set up with a chin rest, but you may find that you prefer a different one. The average price of these violin accessories is $15.
- Rosin - (Violin, Viola, Cello & Bass only)Often included with your instrument, rosin is one of the most essential accessories. It helps create the friction needed for your bow to grip the strings and create sound. Keep in mind that not all rosin is created equal – the quality of the rosin, the amount that you apply to your bow, and how often you apply it will affect your playing. Budget about $12 for this purchase.
- Soft cloth - (Violin, Viola, Cello & Bass only) While you need rosin to make sounds with your violin, too much rosin can be a bad thing. It can build up, causing residue to cake your strings and produce a “screechy” sound.
- Bow - (Violin, Viola, Cello & Bass only)
- Electronic tuner - Tuner prices can be very expensive to downright cheap, but a quality yet affordable tuner typically costs about $30. You can also find various tuner apps to download on your smartphone
- Dampit: Humidity and wooden string instruments don’t mix. Extreme dryness can cause your instrument to crack, while excessive humidity can stretch your strings so that they are constantly out of tune. To combat humidity issues, you should always store your instrument in its case after playing. If your instrument lives in a dry climate, consider getting a dampit, often called a “worm.” It’s a long tube that you fill with water and then place in one of your instrument’s F scrolls to add moisture. A dampit costs about $15.
- Extra strings - Make sure you have spare strings on hand. You can buy each one individually, which is useful if you tend to wear out a specific string, or you can buy a package of four – one of each string type. Buying a package tends to be a more economical choice.
- Peg compound - (Violin, Viola, Cello & Bass only) Also referred to as peg dope, use it to coat your tuning pegs to prevent them from sticking or slipping.
Instruments and music are to be brought to class every day. When an instrument is forgotten, a student will be required to participate regardless. Also, every instance deducts points from the final Instrument/Music check grade. After 3 offenses, the parent will be notified. Keep in mind: after a snow day the A,B,C,D,E,F days still stay the same (we don’t make up a letter day).
If a student is needing any supplies, you can go to Johnson Strings, Newton, Music of the Bay in Bourne, Charlie’s Music in Hyannis, Music & Arts Instrument Service in Newton or order from Amazon Instruments.
There will be at least one playing assignment every quarter for students to record and submit. This might be a few measures of a piece we are playing, or an exercise or scale. These assignments should be recorded/video on a computer, smartphone, or other device and submitted to either submitted on our online classroom. I will listen to all playing assignments and provide students with feedback and suggestions.
Part of what students learn in music is the importance and responsibility of being part of a team. Therefore, all performances marked with * on page 1 are mandatory. Failure to attend these performances without a doctor’s note will severely drop a student’s grade. I strongly urge you to put the dates on your calendar right away as they are made available.
I will offer a concert and assignment makeups within 10 days of the assignment or event or students can schedule a makeup on a Thursday, after school shortly after each mandatory performance for students to make up the missed points. This session will consist of playing the full assignment and/or all the songs programmed for our portion of the event along with a recording of the concert, and a short written assignment.
Concert Attire Clothing is the same for most concerts: Black slacks or skirt (with black leggings), and a white collared shirt or blouse, with black socks and black shoes. No perfume or cologne.
Required Materials (if you can not access the required materials please let Mr. Edwards know as soon as possible)
- Instrument and necessary instrument supplies (see above). There are school-owned instruments to rent if needed
- Black 3-ring binder ½” - 1” (provided)
- Optional: Standard sized (not mini) combination lock (if interested in having a locker for band)
Lessons Lessons are not offered at Lawrence School. However, private lessons are highly recommended at the junior high level. When combined with participating in chamber strings, it is absolutely the best way to achieve. For more info about lessons,please email me as soon as possible.
Students New to Strings This class has students with 3-4 years of experience reading music and playing. It is possible for someone to start fresh in 7th or 8th grade. If your son or daughter has no prior experience playing an instrument, I encourage you to seek out private lessons. If your son or daughter is starting for the first time, please contact me right away so we can discuss options.
JR SE Districts All students have the opportunity to audition for the Jr. SE District music festival. This is for students interested in challenges beyond what we’re doing in class and may be studying privately.
Instrument Repairs I can do some basic repairs and adjustments in school. If it’s beyond my abilities, the instrument will need to be sent out. Music & Arts, our instrument technician and Music and Arts representative, comes to school every week for pickup and delivery. If you are still in a rental contract, contact them ahead of time and a representative will swap the broken instrument for a new one. If you own the instrument, they will repair it and have it back the following week typically. Visit https://stores.musicarts.com/newton . You may contact Johnson String Co. also. Phone: 617. 964. 0954
Instrument Storage Instruments will not be stored in the Band Room and must be kept in a locker, the String classroom, homeroom or office during the school day. Exceptions: instruments that won’t fit into a locker (Cello, Bass, etc). Students may get an optional band locker, right outside the band room. Just bring a combination lock.
Music Festival/Six Flags Trip Near the end of the year, the band and chorus will be going on a trip to Springfield, MA to perform at a music festival and then have fun at Six Flags amusement park. All String instrumentalist members are encouraged to attend as it will be an educational and fun day. Cost of the trip is approx. $80 but subject to change. TBA
Falmouth Band Parents Assoc. This group provides support for all Falmouth Schools instrumental groups. They are advocates for our programs and fundraisers for much of our equipment. Please consider becoming a member! See www.falmouthbandparents.org for details.