Beginning Band Chamber Music
August 12, 2012 at 11:07 am #10806
I would like to break students into groups of 2-3 for part of their lesson time to work on easy chamber music (students in grades 5-6, 2nd and 3rd year playing). Does anyone know a flexible instrumentation book that has a lot of good songs that are easy to play and would be fun for the middle school age? I might also be able to use instrument specific books for different lessons (e.g. flute duets, or flexible woodwinds). I plan on getting the Amsden practice duets for brass players to start with, they are melodic, progressive, and easy, but they are more of exercises than songs.August 14, 2012 at 3:40 pm #10922
David Newell has done some great arrangements for just the reason you are talking about. His “Bach and Before” book is great. I use it for my advanced 5th graders and is appropriate all the way up to college. He also has a Holiday book out, but the title escapes me right now. For what you are talking about I would definitely look into. The great thing about them is that it can be used for solo through quartet and everybody can play all the parts and it sounds good. So that poor tuba doesn’t always have to play the bass line.October 10, 2012 at 7:53 pm #13463
I am so happy to hear that you are implementing chamber groups! I think it’s an excellent idea that encourages students to take responsibility in their parts, learn to listen, and learn to blend with different timbres.
I’m not sure if you would want to use websites – but they are really convenient. My students lose their music every other rehearsal, so if it is online, they can just reprint it. Also, they are free – which fits into everyone’s budget! I really enjoy using online resources for chamber groups or duets/quartets – because they are ranked by difficulty, they can be adapted to the experience and readiness of the musician(s).
Though sometimes, your options are slim – you just may come across just what you’re looking for!
Good luck!October 11, 2012 at 9:39 am #13477
I agree with jkeider- it is fantastic that you are implementing chamber music into your program! Chamber music allows students the chance to shine as a the only person on their part, without the anxiety of being an individual soloist. It is a stepping stone for students, allowing them to go from playing in a large ensemble to becoming an individual soloist. I would encourage students to play at Solo and Ensemble, at school concerts, and within the community.
I would also recommend online music, as it is free and convenient to get. Another website I use for sheet music for ensemble is http://www.freegigmusic.com/. You could also encourage your older students to arrange their own music! Have music theory students arrange chamber music and have younger students perform. Your older students can compose/arrange music on the site http://www.noteflight.com for free. There are also several arrangements and compositions already available on this website.
Best of luck with your chamber groups!
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