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Learning to play

Parents and staff members form orchestra

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Any student in band or orchestra can tell you that learning their instrument has been a long and often tedious process but now, some staff members and parents are learning how to play orchestra instruments under the leadership of assistant director Victoria Lien as part of the parent teacher orchestra.

“[A parent/teacher orchestra] came up originally with my high school director who teaches at Plano Senior High,” Lien said. “They started about three or four years ago and it was just something I was always interested in, but I never had the resources until I started grad school.”

It looks a lot easier than it is. you’ll think ‘oh, I’ll learn this quickly’ or ‘I don’t need to practice a lot’, ”

— parent Nolan Sertao said.

The orchestra meets every Wednesday after school from 6:30 to 7:30 where a typical rehearsal may include learning a new major scale, counting and clapping rhythms, and sight reading a short tune.

“The ultimate goal for the parent teacher orchestra is to have a final performance with the kids and the parents performing alongside each other,” Lien said. “But it’s also to hopefully build a community amongst the parents and the directors so that we have our little place to be as well and kind of change the student to parent relationship at home.”

It may surprise an orchestra student to know that their mom or dad has pulled a violin from the case for the first time and set their sights on someday becoming a skilled musician, but for freshman Keenan Sertao, this narrative has become a reality.

“I was a little surprised because I talked to my friends about the parent teacher orchestra and none of them really said anything about their parents doing it, and then my dad said he was signed up for it and I was like, ‘oh, okay.’”, Sertao said. “When I practiced at home, my parents would make comments about how I played, so I feel like now they know the struggle of practicing at home and making a song perfect.”

Keenan’s dad, Nolan, seemed to learn this lesson quickly.

“It looks a lot easier than it is. you’ll think ‘oh, I’ll learn this quickly’ or ‘I don’t need to practice a lot’, but if you don’t practice during the week and come back [for rehearsal] the next week and you’ll realize, ‘oh I don’t remember so much of what happened in the class last time’,” parent Nolan Sertao said. “I think that has been the thing that you learn as you continue to take part, that, ‘this needs practice and I need to do this more often’.”

Not only does the orchestra shape the parent to child dynamic, but it has also given faculty on campus the chance to ignite their passion for music.

We’ve only been together for a few weeks and [the orchestra] is really sounding pretty good for people who really didn’t know what they were doing to begin with,”

— campus aide Ken Budz

“The violin not only expresses emotion, but it shows passion through melodies that you can convey on a violin,” campus aide Ken Budz said. “For example, the quiet moods of Pachelbel’s Canon in D or the real sounds of Mozart’s Ode to Joy; these are just a few things that, to experience, [are] phenomenal. just to play a few bars of what these master composers were able to do is exhilarating to me, both exhilarating and exciting.”

For every member of this new ensemble, the lessons learned seem to extend beyond the bar lines of the music.

“What surprises me the most is how people can come together so quickly,” Budz said. “We’ve only been together for a few weeks and [the orchestra] is really sounding pretty good for people who really didn’t know what they were doing to begin with, and I’m really surprised by that.”

About the Writer
Kennedy Williams, WTV Staff Reporter

Kennedy is a senior who's starting her final year of broadcast journalism. She plans to become an anesthesiologist and continue to drum as a side hustle....

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Learning to play