When your beginners deserve a treat and are ready to play “real” music, instead of the lessons in their method book, consider these easy winners that are new for Fall, 2012.
by Lauren Bernofsky
Grade 1/2…yes, that’s one half!
Holy guacamole! How can a piece so technically simple be so much fun and sound so good? Using nothing but open string pizzicato, the only challenge is counting and playing the notes in the right place while keeping good hand position. The rhythm patterns change so your students will need to stay focused. What glues it all together is an essential, syncopated and infectiously jazzy piano part that provides a Latin feel and color with a solid pulse and great groove while your beginner string students drop their notes in at the right time – and everybody is having fun making music. This tune is one of the reasons why Ms. Bernofsky has become a real favorite of Stanton’s string staff. Super!
by Mitchell S. Bender
In a folksong style that almost begs for lyrics, here is a nice, solid Grade 1 selection that provides just enough teaching material to keep it from being sightread too easily by intermediate beginners. Great to introduce or reinforce some accidentals such as F natural, G# and A# in the comfortable string key of D. You can work on playing octaves in tune with open strings as well as counting dotted-quarter/eighth note rhythms while enjoying the tuneful melody often presented in a call and response setting, so every part has something interesting going on.
by Frank M. Rodgers
Leave it to Frank Rodgers to pull in students with a little bit of humor – although you may have to clue them in to the joke! The corny title will give you an opportunity to play a recording of the real Scheherazade by Rimsky-Korsakov so the students can hear the melody that Frank “borrowed” for this programmatic journey across the desert, with its contrasts of tranquility and sandstorms. Your students will get lots of imaginative adventure as well as the opportunity to emphasize syncopated rhythms, the importance of dynamics and bowing techiniques such as accents, staccato and portamento. You can count on Frank Rodgers, who was “in the trenches” as an inner city string teacher for 35 years, to sneak in great pedagogy while your students are having fun with other elements of his pieces.