Ever had a student break their arm? It’s heartbreaking when they get sad because they think they can’t play piano.
One particularly gorgeous student of mine managed to injure her arm twice. The first time she got really worried, until I advised her Mother “It’s okay, I can write music for her until her arm heals”.
So this time wasn’t as sad. This song was written with this particular student in mind, which captures her beautiful, whimsical nature perfectly.
Bronte s Ballad RH Song
It’s not a difficult song, but it does have some hand rolls that are required to prevent injury.
I wrote out this arrangement in September 2013 for my String Group. It sounded great with the three parts!
I haven’t included any fingering, but the top part does require some position work.
When You Wish Upon a Star
I love this piece by Edward Elgar. There is something so soothing about it, so moving. It was also one of the last pieces the Athens Symphony Orchestra played after it was asked to shut down by their Government So sad!
I wrote out an arrangement for my String Group, for 4 violins.
It’s not an easy song to play in a group. The timing is tricky, and the first violin part does go up to 5th position but it was lovely to play. Here are the parts:-
Nimrod from the Enigma Variations Violin 1
Nimrod from the Enigma Variations Violin 2
Nimrod from the Enigma Variations Violin 3
Nimrod from the Enigma Variations Violin 4
Nimrod from the Enigma Variations score
Another String Group song: All Through the Night for 4 violins.
A very simple but pretty arrangement:- All Through The Night 4 violins
The melody is shared between violin 1 and violin2.
A very simple round for students to play – the A Natural Minor scale as a round/violin trio.
I love the harmonies created by the natural minor scales, and as the AMEB don’t have string players play them (only as the melodic minor scale descending), it is up to teachers to explain them and have their students play them. This is how my students learn to love them.
A Natural Minor Scale Trio
*Giggles with this post* This is the most absurd thing I have ever written! Honestly! I came up with this little number on the Friday night directly after the May String Group session. For some unknown reason, once the girls had all left, I had a Take That song in my head, quickly followed by One Direction. Goodness only knows why, but I couldn’t get the songs out of my head until they were written down. So here it is, and I send you my apologies if you get these songs stuck in your head too. I hope I have redeemed myself by the last song in this medley (I love Josh Groban, but didn’t know Westlife sang that one as well) ;D
So that the melody could be in everyone’s heads (because I’m kind like that ;D), it is shared around evenly in this medley. There is a surprise key signature in the last section though, but my second grade students were able to play it without too much trouble. An odd note here and there, but they did okay with it. Hope you enjoy!
Boy Band Medley Score
Boy Band Medley Vln 1
Boy Band Medley Vln 2
Boy Band Medley Vln 3
Boy Band Medley Vln 4
This one is definitely a favourite. By popular request, I spent a lot of time arranging this little number. It is one of the harder ones to keep everyone together, but so much fun!
The fourth violin part is tricky – in that it is so easy to lose where you’re up to, but it’s the most important part, because it keeps everyone together! You need someone with a really good sense of rhythm to do that bit! (it’s much like the cello part in Pachelbel’s canon – very repetitive but oh so necessary!)
VIVA LA VIDA for Four Violins (Score)
Viva La Vida Violin 1
Viva La Vida Violin 2
Viva La Vida Violin 3
Viva La Vida Violin 4
What am I getting out of my String Group? I get to try out a whole heap of cool ideas on my very willing and able subjects ;D I’m also able to teach them different styles of music. But most importantly, I get to let my hair down and just have fun with my students. We enjoy this time together, and we love sharing our talents to create enjoyable music.
I wrote out a ‘Shindig’ for them to do which has fast finger accuracy happening, harmonics and double stopping. The double stopping can be ‘shared’ for earlier grade students but 4th grade and over should be able to cover the first acciaccatura in half position.
Denley Shindig Score
Denley Shindig Violin 1
Denley Shindig Violin 2
Denley Shindig Violin 3
I have been surprising the students in my String Group with sight reading each Friday that they’re here. It’s not particularly difficult sight reading, but does have some techniques that they may have just learned in their lessons (for the second grade students anyway), or it’s good revision for the higher grade students. We only have an hour for our String Group, so I try and make their sight reading pretty sounding but fairly basic so they can concentrate on their intonation and getting ‘together’ with the other members of the group.
Here are some sight reading pieces I wrote out for them:-
Scale Fun for Four June 2013 (a quartet, or two violinists per part if you have enough students).
SERENE SOUNDS (a really pretty, relaxing song with lots of tremolo revision)
Friday Fun Round
On our first String Group get together, I did my arrangement of the Irish Washerwoman trio (found in this post here: http://denleymusic.com/wordpress/2011/01/21/holiday-music-camp-beginner-and-first-grade-violin-1-hour/) which they all enjoyed.
One of the things I teach my violin students is how to do natural minor scales. The AMEB don’t have them in their syllabus, but they sure sound pretty when you play them as a round! I also teach the natural minor scales to my piano students so they can know/understand the melodic minor scale on the way down.
My violin students learn the natural minors from second grade onwards, but I have written out the G Major Scale and G Natural Minor scale for them to do as a warm up in our String Group.
G Major Scale Round
G Natural Minor Scale Round
When I played in String Ensemble at the Performing Arts High School I attended, we always warmed up with a scale or two played as a round. We would be asked which scale we’d like to play, and sometimes we were experimental. Melodic Minor scales always sound wrong, because you’re going to have some doing the raised 6th and 7th, and then others doing the natural minor on the way down. Harmonic minor scales are pretty and so are major scales, but I really like natural minor scales in 3 groups.
I will post more scale rounds up as I write them out for my students. Keep your eyes peeled!