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Three Easy String Pieces You’ll Love

Lesley Schultz • February 2023String Section • February 19, 2023

SBO+: Lesley Schulz usually writes a regular column about orchestra and string teaching for us. Here, she shares some of her go-to easier pieces for orchestra. 

First up is Dragonhunter by Richard Meyer and published by Alfred. This piece features notes of the D Major scale but has a minor modality to it. It has driving rhythms but doesn’t have sixteenth notes; the tension is created more by tempo. Congruent cello/bass parts and 2nd violin/viola parts divides your orchestra into thirds, allowing for safety in numbers while performing. This work only has one slur in the 1st violin part, offering a teachable moment for your go-getter violin players. Everyone has something to do, which makes this a solid performance option for your youngest orchestras.

Next, is The Red Lion by Jeremy Woolstenhume, published by Kjos, offers a good reinforcement of both C and F naturals as it centers around Dorian mode. I like this piece because it only has one violin part, again creating the safety in numbers. Learning opportunities include articulations with introductions of accents, many bow lifts reinforcing an important technique, and the introduction of open string double stops. This well scored work again gives plenty for everyone to do, making it a good performance option for young orchestras.

Last for this music review is Into the Sky! by Brian Balmages, published by FJH. This soaring work in D major also features a G major section without an official key change, allowing students to experience accidentals. Learning opportunities include slurs and open string double stops. The only drawback to this selection is the piano accompaniment provides a significant portion of the rhythmic drive, but it could be done without piano. Don’t let the piano stop you from performing this work, as it is a great upbeat piece for your beginners.

Lesley Schultz currently teaches secondary general music and orchestra at Princeton City Schools (Cincinnati, OH). She earned her Bachelor of Music Education degree from West Virginia University and her Master of Music Education degree from Ohio University. 

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