Westwood Middle School's sizzling strings
Cheney School District's orchestra program starts first year at middle schools after introduction in 2012-13 at elementary schools
It starts with a sizzle.
Ssst-sst-sssss, Ssst-sst-sssss, Ssst-sst-sssss, Ssst-sst-sssss.
It's a technique Westwood Middle School music instructor Liz Stringham uses to quiet her excited 18-student strings class and get them focused on the coming 40 minutes of practice. It establishes a beat, rhythm - initiating a call and response.
"There's no percussion in the ensemble so the beat can get lost," Stringham said. "I admit it's a little wishy-washy."
But it seems to work. The Westwood students emulate Stringham in perfect synchronization with violins, violas and cellos at the ready.