Expressive Programmatic Pieces for Strings – Grade 1.5-2.5

recommended by Dan C., Orchestra Music Specialist

Get your young string players performing with maturity beyond their years!

Smaster-50250102-faluda River Waltz by Andrew Balent
Waltzes are always gentle crowd pleasers and teaching moments abound in this one as you float gently downstream. Work on subdividing for dotted quarter/eighth rhythms and getting C naturals in tune. As with many waltzes, the violins get most of the melodic action while the other parts drive the important 3/4 waltz lilt.

Adoration by Bud Woodruff
Bud Woodruff has come into his own this year with several wonderful compositions from Grade 1½ to Grade 3. As a retired teacher in Deerpark, Texas, he has taken his years of experience “in the trenches” and offered up pieces that really work for young players. Here he gives an uplifting, aural depiction of the feelings of infatuation with generously shared melodic material and harmonic twists. Lessons in rhythm are included with offbeats and accents and he keeps students on their toes by including the notes Bb, D#, and F. Plus the work has audience appeal aplenty. An all-around winner.

cfn-yas150-fHeartstrings by Larry Clark
Give your unsung second violins the spotlight at the beginning as they introduce the melody. Beautiful harmonies are emotionally enhanced with Bb, Eb, C# and F natural accidentals in the key of G. Heartstrings is dedicated to the memory of a young man who died tragically in a climbing accident as well as any loved ones we have all lost. By bringing to mind the love that we have for our close friends and family members, it will pull on your heartstrings – love with a touch of sadness. Certain harmonic choices and dissonances in the melody to the harmonies were used to bring about this emotional feeling. In the hope of stretching young people’s musicianship you can ask them to put their emotions into the music by stretching the phrasing, pushing lines, and giving things shape; make the music more than what is on the page. Bring it to life and make the audience feel something with their performance. Inspire your students to do so and expand their musical horizons.

wj-3035501-fA Million Miles Away by Francis J. Caravella
What better than the Lydian mode to depict the vast reaches of outer space? You can not only teach your students about modes, but can also talk about dissonance, bow control, and dynamics. Everyone’s part is necessary and propulsive, so no boredom here! A Million Miles Away is very “grown-up” sounding, but certainly accessible. You might even say it’s out of this world!

Farewell to a Friend by Susan H. Day
You can count on Susan Day to use her expressive and extensive talents to pull emotion out of your players and your listeners while providing a teaching vehicle with which to do it. Composed in memory of a beloved orchestra conductor, she offers legato bowing, arpeggios, expression, syncopation, sweet countermelodies and accompaniments as ways to not only bring tears to the eyes of the audience, but also to teach these concepts to add to your students’ musicality.

Find more programmatic pieces for strings on our website, or contact us for more information. 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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