Uplifting Programmatic Pieces for Strings – Grade 2-2.5

recommended by Dan C., Orchestra Music Specialist

The best energetic program pieces of the year for younger string players!

Wave Dancer by Alan Lee Silva, Grade 2.5
Another wonderfully syncopated and sparkling “theme without a movie” from Alan Lee Silva. A jubilant F-Lydian introduction ushers in Wave Dancer. The harmonized, lyrical violin melody and the accented, syncopated phrases create a joyful and celebratory atmosphere from the opening measure. The driving C pedal point in the cellos propel the lilting violin phrases on toward the main theme. Syncopated rhythms are played precisely and accented, as well as lyrically and smoothly. The violins play expressively and passionately with precise 3, 3, 2, eighth-note syncopated accents. The mid- and low strings are expansive and play their sustains strongly with a beautiful, full sound. An abrupt key change up one step from C to D major gives the piece a boost in energy. It closes heroically with fortissimo unison sixteenth notes, leading to the final robust downbeat. Joyous!

Fire in the Bow by Brian Balmages, Grade 2
Conceived as an energetic and musically rewarding work, this piece also happens to be an excellent vehicle for teaching and reinforcing low 1 fingerings (violin/viola), “backward” extensions (cello), and half position (bass). The piece avoids augmented seconds and focuses on simple finger patterns while exploring dynamic harmonies that create wonderful tension and release throughout. A fantastic opener or closer, it keeps everyone busy and propels the music right up to the end!

Lost Horizon by Thom Sharp, Grade 2.5
This original work by Thom Sharp is an energetic adventure-themed rondo in which every section takes the lead heading off into the horizon looking for adventure. The rhythm of the A theme is used for new melodies in the contrasting sections, either in its original form or starting on a different beat to create a new, yet familiar, rhythm. The last iteration of the A melody employs augmentation. All of these devices provide ample opportunity for instructing students in form and structure and provide for efficient rehearsal time!

You can find more programmatic pieces for Grade 2-2.5 strings on our website! Or, give us a call – 1.800.42.MUSIC – and we’ll be happy to help! 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.

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Categories: New Publications, Orchestra, Staff Picks

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