Thurman Francis Arts Academy

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Thurman Francis Arts Academy  String Orchestra

Directed by Jay Eric Swaim

We have 130 fantastic students in our String Orchestra Program


Important Date(s)

March 22..................Solo & Ensemble Concert starting at 6:00 p.m. in cafeteria

April 10..........................................................Spring Concert starting at 6:30 p.m.

April 30................................................................Rock Band Concert 1:00 in Gym



All concerts will start at 6:30 p.m. and your child should arrive at the school by 6:00 p.m.


History of the Program


Presently we are the only Elementary/Middle school in Rutherford County that offers string orchestra, Smyrna High School is the only High School that offers strings. Students start violin or cello in the 3rd grade and in the fourth grade have the opportunity to switch to viola and or bass. The Program was established in 2000 and started with just 21 students. In the 2007-08 school year we had as many as 150 when strings was offered to third grade. Today we have 120 students from grades 4-8 involved in the program. We have a large number of 7th & 8th graders make Mid-State Orchestra each year.


We Are Working On The Following



7th & 8 th Grade = original compositions  and concert music

6th Grade = original compositions  and concert music

5th grade= original compositions and concert music

4th Grade = concert music


Books and Grading

I use the following books for my classes:

4th Grade = Essential Elements for Strings Book 1

5th Grade = Essential Elements for Strings Book 2 and Sound Innovation "Sound Development" (later in the year)

6th Grade = Essential Technique for Strings, Suzuki book 2 for solo's

7th & 8th Grade = Sound Innovation "Sound Development"



Performance Test = are test the students have to perform a prepared piece .

Written Test = these test will be matching, fill in the blank and or multiple guess.

Sight Reading = the student is responsible for practicing with a metronome daily. This will help them be comfortable with reading music to an exact tempo. Sight reading also involves being able to recognize key signatures and play the music with reasonable intonation and tempo, musicianship (advanced players= style & technique)..

Weekly Grade = will come from attending class prepared with instrument, music, pencil. behaving in class and participating.


 Primary Rules of the Classroom
I)                 The first 5 minutes is dedicated to tuning, no talking, playing or making noises during this time, especially when Mr. Swaim is tuning.
II)                No Talking when Mr. Swaim is teaching, or talking and playing between musical selections
III)             Have your instrument, music book, concert music and a pencil everyday for class, no excuses.
                                             IV) NO FOOD of any sort in the classroom unless Mr. Swaim or your doctor approves it, bottled water is fine.



Concert Attire

Students are required to wear black and white for all formal performances. 

The breakdown is as follows:


Boys= solid black pants, dark shoes (no tennis type shoes unless they are all black) solid white button up shirt and a dark tie

    Girls= solid black skirt, solid white blouse or top, dark shoes, solid black pants or gouchos may be worn or an all solid black dress.


**No student will be allowed to perform who is not in concert attire**

If a student is unable to afford the concert attire they need to let Mr. Swaim know 24 hours prior to any concert so he can try and find resources to provide proper attire for that student.





Rock Band

Rehearsal every Tuesday from 4:00- 5:30



 If you have any questions feel free to contact me at the following email addresses  or

Important music or instrument contact information:

Yang's Violin in Brentwood (615-309-9285)

The Music Stop in Murfreesboro (615-217-6165)




*This Page is presently being updated.  More information will be posted soon*