News & Views Saturday, August 02, 2014

Classical Selections for Middle School Orchestra! Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Last week, Stanton’s Dan Clark organized some reading sessions for the OSU String Teacher Workshop. If you weren’t able to attend the workshop yourself, here are some of Dan’s classical suggestions for your developing ensembles:

BRAHMS INTERLUDE, J. Brahms/Deborah Baker Monday, Gr. 2+
A beautiful interlude from Brahms's Rhapsody in B Minor Op. 79, #1 (for piano) passes melodies around generously, wandering through the keys of F, Bb and Eb before settling in the printed key of G.  The perfect piece to play to reinforce the “flat keys” lessons in your method book, it also provides teaching opportunities on repeated eighth note syncopation and playing expressively with balance, blend and vibrato.  Not as hard as it appears and when worked up, it will be absolutely gorgeous.

INTERMEZZO from String Quartet #2 Op 13, Felix Mendelssohn/Deborah Baker Monday, Gr. 2.5
Elegance and lightness are the key elements in this wonderful offering from Mendelssohn, with the technical difficulty toned down so it is accessible for school level strings.  Ms. Monday did a masterful job of capturing this quartet movement, passing the melody generously around (have your first violins practice their newly learned third position if you like!) and allowing the violas and cellos to actually play on their C strings!  The middle section calls for spiccato eighth notes, so it is a good right hand lesson as well.  A Mendelssohn bicentennial delightful celebration.

MINUETTO from Symphony #35 “Haffner”, Mozart/Robert D. McCashin, Gr. 2.5
What a delightful and approachable way to introduce Mozart to a young string orchestra!  A bright, cheerful example of Mozart's stylish writing, it contrasts a very diatonic Minuet in G with a more chromatic Trio in D.  Primary teaching elements include the ABA/ABA traditional Minuet/Trio form with its many repeats and the light style of Mozart with it's staccato quarter notes and longer (and often slurred) eighth notes.  Play your students a good recording of the Haffner Symphony to get them aurally aware of the style toward which they can strive and so they can hear the amazing contrast between this and the second movement as well.

For more excellent recommendations for your string program, contact Dan at 1-800-42-MUSIC, ext 2.

< Previous|Next >