Read Part 1.
Creating an Ensemble
- Determine how you will select students for the ensemble. Do you want to hold auditions and keep the ensemble limited? Emphasize to students that being in the group requires extra rehearsals, home practice, and more performance time.
- Decide at what level of expertise and maturity you want your group to perform. Strolling groups may be formed with students at any level of instruction, from elementary though high school.
- Give special encouragement to students before their first strolling performance. It may be intimidating if they have never performed from memory, while moving, and face to face with the audience.
- New strolling students may need to start off playing music from a stand by the piano. As they memorize the music and feel more confident performing, they can progress to strolling in the show.
- Short, upbeat pieces with a clear melody work best for strolling ensembles.
- Strolling music should have a strong pulse and even phrasing (four-bar phrases are the easiest for students to memorize and move to).
- Select music that your students will be able to play well.
- For your first strolling performances, choose music with the violins in unison and with the violas at the same pitch level or an octave lower. This will help your group sound fuller and stay together rhythmically.
Next Week: Strolling Strings, Part 3. Information on conducting rehearsals, planning movements, and holding performances.
Getting Started with Strolling Strings, by Robert Gillespie, Beth Gilbert, and Mary Lou Jones. © 1995 MENC.
— Nicole Springer. March 4, 2009. © National Association for Music Education.