Future Students

Future Students and Parents:

About Mr. Garcia:

Our orchestra director here at Brandeis is Mr. Kevin Garcia-Hettinger, but everyone just calls him Mr. Garcia. Besides the fact that he graduated with honors from UT at Austin with a Bachelor’s degree in performance, served as the principal concertmaster of the UT Symphony, completed his teacher certification requirements, got married, spent nine years building a successful orchestra program at Connally Middle School, and had two kids, we all know him as so much more than the successful teacher and violinist that he definitely is. He has many interesting attempts at a great sense of humor – just kidding, he’s hilarious! – and can brighten our day with his unique smile and laugh. Every single day, he teaches us in such a way that we are always encouraged to try harder because he believes in us and knows we can do better. (In fact, he tries to have a temper but he doesn’t; he never calls anyone out or makes them feel bad). Our Mr. Garcia has turned all of us into better musicians with his broad knowledge of music and technique – and of course, his inspiring style of teaching. In other words: WE LOVE MR. GARCIA!!!

Mr. G Plays Bach ChaconneBach

The Orchestras:

The Varsity A & B Orchestras are composed primarily of students who are experienced musicians who have achieved and will work to solidify their instrumental technique and prepare them for more advanced technique and repertoire.

The Varsity B & Prelude Orchestras are composed of students who continue to work at mastering instrumental technique, work toward a higher level of proficiency, demonstrate their commitment to the organization and to learning, and consistently model proper orchestral etiquette and behavior. Concert Orchestra students are required to have passing semester grades in all courses. Students who do not maintain these standards may be transferred to a different orchestra the next year.

The Brandeis Symphony Orchestra is the Brandeis full orchestra, consisting of string students from the Varsity orchestras and a selection of wind, brass, and percussion students. This orchestra does not have its own class, making it the students’ responsibility to attend rehearsals before or after school, at a time given by the directors.

Some of the things we do (other than practice, of course):

Hold social events such as taking trips to the symphony, or having dinner together after a special performance.

Every year we have an orchestra banquet where parents come to enjoy the food and learn about their student’s year in orchestra, and the students attend to look back on all of the fun times that were involved in making the year happen.

What is High School like in general? (Answered from the perspective of an orchestra student):

“It’s fun, but it can be a LOT of work depending on what classes you take.”

“It will be a totally new experience, but one that will change your life.”

“The four years you will spend in high school will be the best years of your life so far.”

“It’s not always fun and games. You have to work hard if you want to do well.”

“Try your best all of the time because you get out only what you put in.”

“You will be much busier in high school with homework, rehearsals, and performances, so make sure you don’t get too involved or put too much pressure on yourself by taking all of the hardest classes possible.”

“Get involved with as many organizations that you can, just don’t do too much because you will have schedule conflicts, and you want to try and avoid as much stress as possible.”

“It’s okay to be in sports AND orchestra, you just have to be willing to work with your coaches and directors to work out any schedule conflicts.”

“Friends are one of the most crucial aspects of high school, and once you find the group you belong to, you’ll do everything you can with them. Friends are what make high school so much fun.”

“High school is one of the times in your life you will always remember.”

“There will be times when you make a wrong choice, but usually those are minor, and you’ll forget them within a few weeks. Just try your hardest not to make the wrong choice when you have an important decision; you will be effected by those forever.”

“High school is so much fun. If you try your best to forget about upsetting moments, and focus on the good moments, high school will be the best time of your life so far.”

“Orchestra in high school is totally different from orchestra in middle school. You do so much more, and learn so much more, and you’re always with people who are like you. You won’t be with kids who ‘just need elective credits,’ most people in orchestra are serious about it and truly enjoy it.”

“You will learn so much without even realizing it while in high school. Not only will you learn academically, but you will also learn a lot about yourself in the four years you spend in high school. It is an invaluable experience that everyone should enjoy.”

“In some ways, high school is a microcosm of what your life will be like when you are employed. Granted, you won’t have all the classes or homework (unless you’re a teacher), but high school is where you truly learn to work with others, do everything with all effort, and learn to love what you do.”

“Don’t overdo it. You should push yourself, but know how much is too much.”

“I can almost guarantee that high school is nothing like you’re expecting it to be. It will be even better than you can possible imagine!”

“It’s definitely something to be excited about. High school will be some of the best four years of your life.”

What to expect in orchestra, and what you will have to include in your schedule:

-There will be sectionals, probably more frequently than in middle school.
-There will be extra rehearsals, particularly for full orchestra.
-At home practice is crucial, especially for the higher level pieces.
-Private lessons are highly recommended because they greatly improve your playing, but they do take some time out of your schedule.
-Orchestra is only fun if everyone contributes and does their part (i.e. Practicing!!).
-“You should expect to create many fun memories and have fun working with other people who enjoy the same things as you.”


General Overview:

Orchestra is fun! It’s true – so many of the kids in orchestra enjoy it regardless of the fact that they participate in numerous other teams and clubs. We have many fun concerts, and social events, too! Around Halloween, we have a costume concert where all of us dress up in costumes, even the middle school kids that come along. We  have also had fun holiday concert, played at our school’s dedication, and we have played holiday songs for our local FOX station in the past. Yes, our orchestra was on TV early Christmas morning. As for social events, we have had get-togethers at an orchestra member’s house, complete with Wii, a bonfire, and LOTS of food. We also look forward to an annual spring banquet, and orchestra trips such as this past year’s trip to Italy. Everyone is really excited! Other events that we orchestra members participate in include the Solo and Ensemble contest and the UIL orchestra competition. We also have a group of officers who meet almost every week and have fun hanging out and planning many of these events together.

Just some facts…

-It has been proven that orchestra students average higher scores on their SATs and have higher grade averages than students in other organizations.
-Teachers have been known to say that their students in orchestra are some of the most well behaved and easiest to teach because they actually study and try in their classes.


The freshman representative:

We do have one officer position that is always held by a freshman, and that is our freshman representative. This person expresses the views of their fellow freshmen in officer meetings, so that events planned do not exclude the  ideas of our youngest members. (As juniors and seniors we do not always remember what it was like as freshmen, and we certainly do not know what changes have occurred in what you guys “are into” now).