Saturday, October 3, 2015

Supplements: Extra Music for Orchestra Expressions Method Book

Orchestra Expressions supplement sample

I really like the Orchestra Expressions method book for beginning orchestra.  It was designed with the National Standards for the Arts in Music in mind, includes music from many different parts of the world, includes pictures of children demonstrating proper playing position, begins with the fourth finger and works down to promote good LH position, and connects to other disciplines and history through timelines and art connections.  It encourages improvisation, conducting, listening, movement, composition, as well as proper technique from the start.  I especially like the authentic, varied recordings on the CD that accompany each piece in the book.  They are performed on real instruments, and there are so many different genres of music represented on the recordings.  I could go on and on about why I chose to use this method book with my beginning students.

But, as with any method book, there are a few weaknesses.  Instead of introducing all four open strings at once, the book begins with just the three that all the string instruments share (A, D, G) and leaves E and C until much later in the book.  The 3/4 time signature also isn't introduced until much later in the book.

To address these issues, I wrote a short supplement packet that corresponds to the beginning of the book but includes the C/E strings and the 3/4 time signature.  I also added some harmony parts to familiar tunes that students can sing along to while they're playing.  Feel free to use with your students!

Orchestra Expressions Supplement:

Once students have learned their D string notes, I give them a packet of familiar melodies they are ready to play, including a few with B on the A string.  Students enjoy playing these familiar tunes, and they are a bit more rhythmically varied than their books at this point.

D String Notes Supplement:


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