News & Views Friday, December 06, 2019

Take a Trip With Your Young String Players Wednesday, March 06, 2019

recommended by Dan C., Orchestra Specialist

Not only can you teach new musical concepts to your young players, you can give them some geographical references along the way. Stanton’s always looks for pieces that give everyone interesting parts to play along with many learning opportunities, and these are no exception. Travel to Mexico, England and Ireland with these three winners at the grade 1 to 1½ level and bring the audience along for the ride. You could even add a social studies lesson if you’d like.

cfn-bas77-fSound the Trumpets arr. Deborah Baker Monday, Grade 1
Reminiscent of “Simple Gifts,” another Shaker tune, this one was originally called “Mother’s Golden Trumpet” and appeared in a collection for Christmas. It could be used on a holiday concert, but would easily fit in any musical presentation. It could also be used within a cross-cultural curriculum. There is some part-independence, with cascading entrances plus always-solid, veteran arranger Ms. Monday scored it especially for equal playing among sections. There are some quirky, odd-measure phrases typical of this “old-timey” music which adds to the charm. Perfect for starting out your second year players at the beginning of the school year.

kendor-8301-fHuevos Rancheros by George T. Brueh, Grade 1+
Here’s a catchy tune inspired by a popular Mexican breakfast! Your first and/or second year players will have a blast with this little Latin loop-de-loop. There are suggestions on the score to help teach the syncopated Latin rhythms. Cellos and basses keep a groove going, but sometimes join the others in rhythmic unisons, and everybody gets to remember where to lay in the C naturals. Buen Apetito!

fjh-st6458-fWhere the River Shannon Flows arr. Brian Balmages, Grade 1.5
Young players often like to play loud and fast, but every now and then they need to play sweet and slow to build maturity and musicality plus develop their listening skills and their sense of ensemble. Here is the perfect Grade 1.5 piece to that end. Starting with the eponymous, beautiful Irish love song, Brian Balmages uses his unique orchestrating skills and lush harmonic sense to weave the melody through an increasingly complex series of textures and colors without using any rhythms more involved than quarter notes or any notes out of first position, except for basses. Fourth fingers are recommended in the violins and violas to avoid open strings for a less strident tone. The piece has a natural flow at almost any tempo, but you won’t want to take it too fast. The melody in cellos and basses adds some subtle moments of tension as the piece moves toward its glorious climax. Don’t let this one slip your attention. It is absolutely stunning.

About the Author:
Dan C. has worked at Stanton’s since 1979, primarily with orchestra music and print promotions. A “working” musician, he’s a classical cellist, a rock & jazz bassist and a folk & country guitarist/singer. His free time is spent with family or reading, gardening, cycling and working puzzles. His series of musical puzzles (RP3 Rebus Puzzle Picture People) can be found on the Stanton’s Facebook page each Sunday. He also has a reputation as a pretty good joke teller. Seriously.

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