Orchestra teacher conducts parent ensemble

Parents given the chance to experience being a student again


Orchestra teacher, Annie Ray has started a parent orchestra program. The program has spread all over FCPS and is constantly growing.
If parents want a spot, they must add their names to the interest list as soon as possible. Every year the program hits maximum capacity along with an extensive wait list.
Because AHS hosts the program, the information to sign up is released to the AHS community first and then to the rest of FCPS.
Currently, there are three different levels that parents can be a part of; Beginner 1, Beginner 2, and a Previous Experience group. Because the program has become so popular, next year a fourth group will be added, a more advanced previous experience group.
The parent orchestra gives parents and students another way to connect. Parents get the chance to learn what it’s like to learn an instrument and be a student again.
““Music needs to be for everyone and if I need to be the person to help facilitate that then I will be that person,” Ray said.
Bringing students and parents together using music is something quite beautiful and fulfilling, especially to a music teacher.
“We have such a home within our school that cannot be replicated quite on the same level in different places,” Ray said.
“Parent orchestra was started as a way to kind of bridge the gap between parent knowledge of what music is and student experience,” Ray said.
One way that students learn best is through teaching. Parents taking the time to learn a new instrument allows students to become teachers.
Unlike Math, Science, English, and History, many parents have never had the opportunity to be in a music class so they don’t know how to help their child when it comes to learning an instrument.
“Parent orchestra helps give the parents tools to know what practice looks like, how to help their kids with questions, what things to be looking out for so their kid doesn’t develop bad habits with their playing,” Ray said.
Parents and their students are similar in many ways, apparently including how they act in a classroom setting.
“Teaching the parents is actually extremely similar to teaching the students, a lot of them have the same exact things that their students do that are unique to them,” Ray said.
Parent Orchestra practices twice per month on Tuesdays at 7 p.m. The dates may vary depending on the school calendar.
Along with the other AHS orchestras, the Parent Orchestra will be performing at the spring concert on May 19, at 7 p.m. in the auditorium.
Every rehearsal is streamed live so that parents can tune in even if they aren’t able to make it. Notes are sent home to parents about what was covered at rehearsals as well as a link to the Livestream.
Annie Ray also had gave Ted Talk on Sat., April 23. She spoke about the Cat-B Orchestra.
“I’m really excited…I get to share everything that those students have taught me,” Ray said.
It will be recorded and posted on the TedX youtube page. (https://www.youtube.com/user/TEDxTalks)