Easy Classics for Orchestra

recommended by Dan C., Orchestra Music Specialist

Introduce your younger groups to a variety of excellent serious literature for string orchestra – here are some of the best for this year!

Medieval Dance by Thibaut deBlason/arr. Michael Story, Grade 0.5
Offering a surprisingly mature sound for very beginners, this super simple, secular sample of mixolydian modal music circa 1200 AD will help teach simple rhythms in 3/4, bow lifts and the 1st/2nd ending concept. Add tambourine and triangle for authenticity.

Theme and Variations from the “Trout” Quintet by Franz Schubert/arr. Andrew Dabczynski, Grade 1.5
Introduce Schubert’s glorious melody as everyone gets to play the famous theme – even basses! There are scattered solos for principal players too. Concentrate on dynamics and keeping pizzicato steady while teaching detaché & brushed strokes to your young players.

French Dance (Jouissance vous donnerai) arr. Deborah Baker Monday, Grade 2
A Renaissance dance (jouissance) where the dancers’ feet stay on the ground, this concert/contest piece in E natural minor with modal harmonies and optional percussion will help train the ears and teach double upbows plus two note slurs followed by two separate notes.

A Nordic Lullaby by Edvard Grieg/arr. Pierre LaPlante, Grade 2.5
Celebrate Grieg’s true genius with this stunning transcription of his “Lyric Piece Op 68, #5.” The melodies & harmonies generously intertwine among the sections of the orchestra as you stress musicality and expression with delicate harmony and accidental Bb and F.

Canarios (from Suite Española) by Gaspar Sanz/arr. Robert Longfield, Grade 2.5
Enjoy this vigorous but flowing movement from “Suite Española,” which juxtaposes 6/8 & 3/4. Written for guitar in 1674, it will allow your students to feel the difference between the time signatures and keep an eye out for accidentals. In emulating the guitar style, upper strings carry the melody, while the lower strings keep the harmonic and rhythmic flow going. Classic, but different!

You can find more classical options for developing strings on our website, or contact us for even more ideas! Shop Stanton’s for all your sheet music needs!

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.


Categories: New Publications, Orchestra, Staff Picks

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