Incoming 6th Grade Orchestra Instrument Selection

Hello future orchestra parents and students! We are so excited that you’re interested in learning to play an instrument in orchestra next year at Cockrill. We can’t wait to meet you!

There are 4 instruments you can choose to play: violin, viola, cello, and bass. Don’t let the size of the instrument deter you from what you choose. They all come in sizes to fit YOU! Short kids can play bass, and tall kids can play violin. Whatever you want to play, we can teach you how to be an awesome musician.

Once you have your elective choice sheet, please put a “1” next to orchestra. Then, start thinking about what kinds of sounds you like. Do you like high sounds? Then the violin or viola might be for you. Do you like low sounds? Then the cello or bass is what you want to play.

**Please do not buy any instrument at this time!** There’s so much information you need to know, and we’ll share that with you when we meet with you. In the meantime, after you’ve selected orchestra on your choice sheet, please sign up for one of our instrument selection dates. You’ll come to Cockrill, meet the directors, and get a chance to try all 4 instruments. Once you’re done, you’ll make a choice as to what you want to play!

Our selection dates are Friday April 8 from 4:30-7:30, and Saturday April 9 from 9:00-1:00. Please sign up below:

Thank you so much for your interest! Please feel free to contact us with any questions. We can be reached at and In the meantime, if you want to see our most recent concert, please visit our Youtube channel below.

Instrument Selection Signups

Welcome! We can’t wait to meet you and help you select your instrument. Please click the link below to sign up for a 15 minute block to come to CMS and try out our instruments. There are 2 dates to choose from: Saturday April 10th and Friday April 16th. Times are listed in the signup.

Please try to limit the number of people who come to the selection appointment to one parent/guardian and the future orchestra student. Your student will try all of the instruments available to play in orchestra: Violin, Viola, Cello, and Bass. Don’t let the size intimidate you – there are sizes to fit all students, no matter how big or small you are! The student will be guided through the 4 instruments they can choose to play, and at the end of the appointment they’ll make a choice! We will have instrument rental information at your appointment, so please hold off on acquiring an instrument until after you meet with us.

Questions? Email Mr. Powelson

Incoming 6th Grade Orchestra Instrument Selection

Welcome! We can’t wait to meet you and help you select your instrument. Please save the following dates:

Saturday April 10th 9am-1pm

Friday April 16th 4:30pm-7:30pm

We will have links where you will make an appointment to come to Cockrill so you can choose your instrument. Masks will be required, and other safety precautions will be in place. You only need to come one time. Your student will try all of the instruments available to play in orchestra: Violin, Viola, Cello, and Bass. Don’t let the size intimidate you – there are sizes to fit all students, no matter how big or small you are!

Please check back in about a week. Questions? Email Mr. Powelson

Orchestra updates

Here is a copy of the latest email we sent out via HAC and Charms. Keeping our fingers crossed that every parent has received this. If not, please contact Mr. Powelson right away and we’ll get it fixed!

Hello orchestra families!  In an effort to be sure EVERYONE gets our latest information, we are sending our updates through HAC and Charms.  If you get this email twice, then CONGRATULATIONS you’re all set!!  Many of you have already updated your student’s Charms account, but several have not and it’s crucial that we get those accounts updated so we only need to send updates through one platform.  If you did not get the email with instructions on how to login to your student’s Charms account, those instructions are at the end of this email.  There’s also a video demonstration.  

Our updates for today are on video!  Please visit the link below to see and learn more about what we need from you at this time:

There’s a lot going on!  Please let us know if you have any questions.  Charms login instructions are right here:

Hello orchestra parents! 

Due to the unique situation we’re in for starting this year, we are going to be utilizing our Charms student management system much more than in previous years.  Usually we use Charms for mass communication and that’s about it, since it’s much easier to use than HAC or Canvas.  Canvas is great, but emailing parents and students is a rather time consuming process and we really want to have student and parents receiving our weekly orchestra info.   

EVERY PARENT NEEDS TO LOGIN TO THEIR STUDENT’S CHARMS ACCOUNT.  I am attaching documents that explain more in detail how to do this, but here’s the nuts and bolts of what you need:

Go to

Click “login” in the upper right corner

Click “parents/students/members”

For school code, enter COCKRILLMSORCH

Enter your student’s 6 digit MISD student ID number (all earlier passwords have been reset!)

After that, it will prompt you to enter a new password.  PLEASE KEEP TRACK OF THE PASSWORD as we will not have access to it. 

After you’re logged in, click UPDATE INFO

On that page, that is only STUDENT INFO.  Please fill out ADDRESS, STUDENT CELL PHONE, and STUDENT EMAIL.  Would prefer the student email address to be their MISD student email address.  Also, please fill out the T-SHIRT SIZE

After ANY update, click the green “UPDATE” button in the upper right corner.  Otherwise it will not save!

Next, click ADD NEW ADULT.  I don’t need address info, but I do need at least EMAIL 1 filled out.  Don’t forget to click the GREEN UPDATE button or it will not save. 

Add any adults who need to receive regular orchestra updates.  We send weekly emails to remind you about upcoming events or for news updates. 

Once you’ve added all the student and parent info, you’re done!  I have found it’s easier to do all this on a computer or tablet; doing these updates on a phone can be a challenge. 

I made a short video showing how to get logged into Charms – you can view it here:

More information will be coming about beginner instrument pickup along with supply and binder pickups.  In the meantime, please let us know if you have any questions!

Mr. Powelson and Mr. Salazar

Want to join orchestra? Here’s how!

Hello and Welcome to Cockrill!

We have 4 instruments for you to choose from: Violin, Viola, Cello, and Bass. Each year we have 2 events where we meet you, help your child select an instrument, and then size them. All of the instruments come in sizes to fit any child!

Our sizing events for students are Friday April 17th and Saturday April 18th. To join orchestra, you need to do the following:

On your course selection sheet put a 1 next to orchestra as your first elective choice.

Next, click on the links below to choose a night to select your instrument.

Friday 4/17 – times available from 4:15PM-7:30PM

Saturday 4/18 – times available from 9:00AM-1:00PM

Finally, you will want to set up your instrument rental with a local rental company. Please do not purchase an instrument online. There are a myriad of reasons not to buy online; the main reason being your student will grow significantly during middle school! You can read more here about online instrument purchasing.

We recommend Dallas Strings for your instrument rental needs. They have the best service and an on-site repair technician (luthier) who can fix any repairs needed.

Please don’t hesitate to contact Mr. Powelson with any questions!

Orchestra updates 1/17/2020

Happy Friday, Orchestra Family! Lots of news! 


Due to the Hotmail/Live/MSN email blocking issue we are going to continue putting our weekly updates on Facebook, our website and also emailing through Canvas in addition to HAC.  This means that anyone who emails us through those domains will not receive a reply from us because the problem is apparently on Microsoft’s end. We reply, but the message bounces back to us as undeliverable.  MISD is still working to resolve the problem, but we have no idea when it will be fixed.  


Information about the Play-A-Thon came home this week.  This is our annual fundraiser that benefits our Booster Club scholarship fund.  This fund is used by several of our CMS students, and also MNHS as well. You can find the flyer HERE or ask your student to give your their hard copy from their binder.  Older students are performing in their ensembles, and those performance times were given in class this week.  Beginners are playing their solo material as large groups as well, and those performance times were given in class.  This is a summative grade and all students are required to attend.  


The beginner solo and upper level ensemble contest is on Saturday, February 1st at Faubion Middle School.  A schedule should hopefully be done by late next week, as this is a district-wide event.  


Earlier this week information regarding the Mark Wood DVD went home.  All orders are due 1/31 there will be no late orders accepted. The beginner winter concert information is available HERE.  The beginner videos are only available through next week, so if you want to buy one don’t wait!  

That’s all for now.  Have a great 3 day weekend!

Ms. Brown and Mr. Powelson

Orchestra updates 1/15/2020

Hello Orchestra Family! Lots of important information for you today- please read carefully and let us know if you have questions.

  1. HOTMAIL email: right now McKinney ISD is unable to send any mail to Hotmail accounts (and we’ve had the problem in the past with Yahoo as well). We can receive email from you, you just won’t see a response from us. Our district techies have done all they can, and the problem is on Hotmail’s side. Please add an alternate email into your HAC and CHARMS accounts so that you can continue receiving communication from us and all of your child’s teachers. We are crossing fingers that those of you with Hotmail accounts will get the message to check our website for this information because we do not have time to look you all up and call you individually! J
  • PANCAKE PLAY-A-THON performance at the MOBC fundraiser breakfast is next Saturday 9-12. This performance is a summative grade. Details on THIS SHEET are coming home today and individual time slots will be ready by next week. This is an event where students may leave after their individual performance, but we encourage you to buy some pancakes and stay to enjoy others’ music!
  • SOLO & ENSEMBLE CONTEST is the following Saturday Feb. 1 at Faubion between 8-3. This is also a summative grade. Tons of details are coming home next week, but the short story is that everyone will receive a specific 5 minute time slot to play for a judge, and will leave once they’re done. If you have another obligation that day, we can request a time slot that will not conflict. If you need to request a particular time to avoid another mandatory activity, please submit the following to Ms. Brown no later than this Friday Jan. 17 at noon:
  • Name of student
  • Type and location of conflicting activity
  • TIME of conflicting activity 
  • (For example: Suzy Smith has a church Confirmation Class in Frisco starting at 2:00 PM.)

Ms. Brown will submit this information to the contest organizers and they will do their best to accommodate your request.

  • EYS CONCERT VIDEO– Order forms are now available! This is a one-time offer so if you want a DVD of our awesome concert with Mark Wood back in December, now is your ONLY chance to get one! We are sending the hard copy order forms home today, and it is HERE for your convenience. Note that Evans Orchestra is the one collecting payment since they are the ones coordinating the DVD printing. Any proceeds will come back to CMS. J Send all order forms and money to school with your child or drop at the CMS front office.

Join our Remind text list

REMIND TEXTS: If you haven’t already joined the remind group for your child’s class, here’s how to join:

Send a text message to the number 81010
In the body of the text, type the following for the class you need to join:

@CMSO6th (Beginner Orchestra)
@CMSOPHIL (Philharmonic Orchestra)
@CMSOSINF (SInfonietta Orchestra)
@CMSOHONORS (Honors Orchestra)

Once you’ve joined, it will prompt you to put in your name. First name last initial is fine. Next it will prompt you to indicate if you are a student, parent, or teacher. If a student signs up, they are asked to tell their age. Follow the format and it will most likely notify the parent their child is signing up for Remind. We have disabled all internal messaging so please don’t try to message us from within Remind!

Once you’re signed up, it may prompt you to download the app. It’s free, and easy to use if you are on multiple Remind lists.

We will use Remind for reminders about rehearsals, social events, special events, and we also use them for traffic updates when we are travelling. It’s especially useful when we take our NRH2O trip!

Let us know if you have any questions!

Welcome Back To School!

We are super excited to see you all in a few weeks! In the meantime, we wanted to share some information for our new and returning CMS orchestra members:

  • Please visit the calendar page to see the events we currently have scheduled for the year. The NRH2O event dates may change, and we will make those changes known as soon as the calendar is finalized.
  • Each student in Philharmonic, Sinfonietta, and Honors will need a method book for use in class. Dallas Strings has these in stock, and Amazon may have them as well, but be careful when ordering online – be sure to read the description and order for the correct instrument.
  • Philharmonic: Essential Elements Book 2 for your instrument.
  • Sinfonietta: String Basics Book 2 for your instrument.
  • Honors: Muller-Rusch Book 3 for your instrument.

Also, be sure that your student has their next level Suzuki book for their instrument (EXCEPT BASS!)

Students in BEGINNER ORCHESTRA need to be sure their instrument rental is secured through Dallas Strings as soon as possible. Dallas Strings is able to deliver both the instrument and supply kit to Cockrill, provided you order it soon. Please click this link to visit their website to set up your rental. If you did not come to our instrument selection nights and did not get sized, go ahead and order a 3/4 size violin and we will have the correct size swapped out if it turns out that 3/4 is incorrect.

See you soon! Please email either of us if you have any questions!