Orchestra’s Need For A Second Period


Aaron Ton

Violist Jenny Luu (JR) writes notes in her music.

Aaron Ton (he/him) 10th Grade, Section Editor (Sports)

Mariner High School has one class period for the orchestra program. With a class period consisting of two periods worth of students of a wide range of skill levels, it has been difficult for those who attend class.

Robin Enders, the head of Mariner’s orchestra program, wishes for an additional period for Mariner’s advanced orchestra. She, the concert orchestra, and the advanced orchestra would benefit from this; Enders can work more personally and individually with each orchestra, the concert orchestra can develop and learn, and the advanced orchestra can grow and challenge themselves.

“When I first came to Mariner to teach orchestra, we had two class periods, but about five years ago, it got changed to one,” Enders said. “I want to get that second period back, but it’s going to take some work.”

This may be difficult for Enders, as she teaches at Explorer Middle School after her first period at Mariner. However, the time between then and her afternoon classes is long enough to accommodate for a second class period at Mariner.

“I’d rather have two periods where I can work with individual students and individual orchestras so I can bring out the best in them,” Enders said.

Jana Le and Vivian Trenh are two juniors in Mariner’s advanced orchestra who both play the violin. After starting a petition for another class period for the orchestra program, they are preparing to submit it to Principal Nate DuChesne.

“We’ve been collecting signatures and we are looking to present it to the principal,” Trenh said.

This also needs to be discussed with Enders, and with an abundance of substitutes filling in for her throughout the year due to personal reasons and other events she has to attend, it becomes difficult to find the time to work things out.

“We’re looking to talk with her about it soon,” Le said. “It’s hard with her being gone regularly, but the next time we get an opportunity to discuss it, we’ll try to make progress.”

Yair Saucedo, a sophomore in the advanced orchestra who plays cello, sees a lot of benefits to having two periods.

“We could have separate groups and pieces, which would help concert orchestra develop by getting them more personalized attention from Ms. Enders,” Saucedo said. “We are always on a time crunch; instead of having time to go into specific pieces and focusing on certain parts, we usually get rushed through the music, and there’s not enough time.”

Cellists Carolina Heredia Rodriguez (SO), Yair Saucedo (SO), and Augustine Guevara (FR), as well as bassists Dennis Pham (JR) and Aurora Albright (JR). (Photo by Aaron Ton)

Students feel that getting an enjoyable piece to play can be difficult because Enders has to choose pieces that are playable for all the students, and although they get somewhat of a say with voting, it’s difficult to satisfy everyone.

Students are also very aware of the frustration Enders feels about not having the space and time to fully develop and teach them within the one period that she is given.

“She’s even said it herself,” Saucedo said. “A 50-minute period to effectively teach two orchestras that have nearly 40 students each is hard to do.”

Having one period for the concert orchestra will have a positive impact on them because they will receive more focus on their development from Enders, as well as form a bond between one another.

“It’ll teach them to want to be leaders in their sections,” Saucedo said. “They’ll be prepared to take initiative and not just listen when they get to the advanced orchestra.”

Senior Katrina McIntosh, a viola section leader, hopes that future students who participate in Mariner’s orchestra can have two periods.

“The year before I came to Mariner was the last year there were two orchestra periods,” McIntosh said. “I think it’ll be great to get that second period back; even though I won’t be here next year, orchestra students, later on, will benefit from it.”