September 22, 2018


  1. Parents, please be sure to share these notes with your child.  At rehearsal Saturday we asked for a show of hands as to who had and hadn't read last week's notes, and about 1/3 of the ensemble had not read them.  We have started to collect students' direct email accounts and will be adding them in to the distribution list, but communication is vital to our success this season.
  2. Attendance: speaking of communication, continue to use the online submission form to let us know about any absences.  Thanks for doing a great job with that so far this season, parents!  With a planned absence we ask they speak to us directly before the absence, as we look at it like practice for the real world where they would need to notify their employer/superior/conductor in advance of any missed work time.  It also allows us to plan more effective rehearsals if we know a soloist or section will be affected.
  3. Remember that your folded luminarias are due Saturday, Oct. 6.  On behalf of the whole program thanks for your quality work here!
  4. Several students still need to acquire their mute needed for performing this semester's material correctly.  If you haven't purchased your required mute yet, PLEASE do so!
  5. Remember that the Youth Symphony and Youth Orchestra are raising money by selling snacks and refreshments in the lobby!  Bring some extra cash and support a touring musician, but do remember.... all snacks and drinks should not be brought into our rehearsal rooms, thank you.

Rehearsal Notes

Sectionals are done for the semester, so we will need to focus our efforts carefully over the remaining seven (7) rehearsals!  We thank our sectional coaches for their great work and sharing with us!


  • Please work on sustaining your sound for the full length of the notes, being careful not to change dynamic levels unintentionally.
  • Practice slowly, focusing on fingering and intonation.
  • Use a metronome EVERY TIME you practice, but especially during the pizzicato section at the beginning of "Romeo and Juliet".  Rhythmic consistency and steadiness will not be acquired overnight but will develop slowly over time if you are diligent about your relationship with your metronome.


I asked students to sign up with me if they were interested in "souping up" our traditional arrangement of this classic piece.  Specifically, we hope to create a unique arrangement of our own, using the version as recorded by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra as a model for electrifying our performance.  To that end, students who play electric guitar, electric bass, synthesizer and drumset have been asked to listen critically to that group's recording of "Carol of the Bells" as a model.  Students should bring these instruments and amplifiers on Oct. 6 (along with their folded luminarias).  I hope to have a lead sheet for the rhythm section to use as a guide, but knowing the style well will give us the start we need.


Transitions are the key for us to perform this well.  Listen to this recording as a guide:


Lots of musical work to be done here, but quality of sound is very, very important.  When practicing this (and do practice it, even though rhythmically it seems "easy" at a glance), make sure you have beautiful tone!


These are our most confident pieces right now, but continue to work on your own individual spots and with a metronome (ALL, not just strings).  Know that we will be working individual sections of this, be prepared to play your part alone and in sections, but more focus will be put on other material in the next few weeks.

Keep up the terrific work, everyone!  I look forward to our rehearsal on Saturday!

Mr. Corbin and Ms. Brasher


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Albuquerque Youth Symphony Program
4407 Menaul Blvd. NE
Albuquerque, NM 87110

PO Box 30961
Albuquerque, NM 87190