Symphony Orchestra - Syllabus

Music 103, Section 01, 1 credit



    Conductor: Dr. Henry E. Duitman, (616) 331-2581,
    Office hours: Before or after rehearsal or by appointment


    Rehearsals take place on MONDAY, WEDNESDAY and FRIDAY, from 1:00 to 2:20
    Be sure to have all CALENDAR dates cleared on your personal schedule. 


    All students are required to audition at the start of each school year and all strings audition again for chair placement at the start of the Winter  Semester.  New members may be added before Winter Semester through a private audition.  AUDITION materials will be published online.



    The mission of the Grand Valley State University Symphony Orchestra is to provide exemplary musical experiences that enable orchestra players and audience members to be engaged, actively and reflectively, with the finest  examples of symphonic orchestra literature.


  1. To develop the aesthetic sensitivity, musical knowledge and ensemble performance skills of each orchestra member.
  2. To provide music majors with a level of performance expectation and skill in playing standard literature that will prepare them for future auditions and orchestra positions.
  3. To create, among orchestra members, a communal attitude that fosters hard work in the practice room and during rehearsals, encouragement of each other, and joy that we can share the gift of music with others during performances.


Upon successful completion of the course, a student will be able to:

  1. perform independently and in groups, a variety of full orchestra repertoire.
  2. perform with appropriate musicality, musical knowledge and ensemble performance skills.
  3. demonstrate and utilize correct rehearsal skills.
  4. demonstrate appropriate musicality, musical knowledge and 
  5. ensemble performance skills.


  1. Members will practice their music diligently before each rehearsal, taking particular note of any problem passages that have been pointed out by the conductor.  Since orchestra is a cooperative venture, it is expected that each player will also practice with his/her stand partner to clear up technical passages, rhythms, and especially intonation problems.
  2. Members are required to attend all rehearsals, sectionals, and performances as listed on the Calendar and Current pages of this website. 
  3. All players must be in their seats, ready to play before tuning begins. 
  4. Members will show evidence of cooperation with and encouragement of other members of the ensemble.
  5. Members will discuss any problems directly with the conductor. 


    The director must receive a request for an excused absence by email well in advance of the requested date.  These requests will be granted in the following cases:

  • sickness that causes absence from all classes.  A doctor or nurse's excuse will be required for any more than 3 absences per semester.
  • funerals or weddings in the immediate family.
  • other class conflicts that have been preceded by a written or emailed request from the professor.
  • If players are suffering physical pain, such as tendonitis, and wish to     not play in a rehearsal, they must give the director a note from their studio teacher with this request.  They must then remain in the entire rehearsal in their chair, taking notes about the music, fingering along, etc.
  • If players have outside professional gigs, any absence must be cleared well in advance.  Under no circumstances can a professional gig take precedence over a dress rehearsal or performance of the GVSU Orchestra or Chamber Orchestra.


The Department of Music, Theatre, and Dance at Grand Valley State University is committed to supporting the overall wellness of all of our students.  For general wellness information, please consult the Recreation & Wellness/Student Wellness website:  Music Students face unique wellness issues, including hearing wellness, neuromusculoskeletal wellness, and vocal wellness.  For information on these areas, please click consult the Department website:


The Grade of A will be lowered in the following cases:

  • evidence of lack of adequate preparation of the music, as determined though individual and small group playing during sectional rehearsals and regular rehearsals.
  • unexcused absence or tardiness
  • a non-professional attitude displayed during rehearsals or towards other members of the ensemble


  • Concert Wear: WOMEN: black dress or skirt (longer than knee length), black blouse (with sleeves below the elbow), black hose, black dress shoes. The only jewelry allowed will be very small earrings. MEN: black tux (or black coat and black slacks), white dress shirt, black bow tie, black dress shoes, black socks.  
  • Important: The music used in the class is under copyright and may not be copied for any reason.
  • University instruments may be borrowed on an "as available" basis. 
  • All folders and music are the property of the university and must be returned at the end of each final performance of the music in that folder and left on the stand. FAILURE TO DO THIS OR A LOST FOLDER WILL RESULT IN A FINE COVERING REPLACEMENT COSTS.
  • No hats are to be worn in rehearsals.  We are in training to sound and look professional.
  • No gum chewing in rehearsals, please.
  • No cell phones, pagers, tablets, or PDAs are permitted in rehearsal.  Leave them in your lockers.
  • You must have a pencil, your music, and all necessary equipment (mutes, reeds, rosin etc.) with you at the beginning of each rehearsal.
  • This class involves the making of archival recordings and web-broadcasts of performances.
  • If you are a student with special needs because of a learning, physical or other disability, please contact me or the Office of Academic Support (OAS) at 331-2490.


This course is subject to the GVSU policies listed at

Page last modified October 9, 2021