Our Spring Concert is right around the corner on May 17th in the Crockett PAC at 7pm. It is a very busy time of year, so instead of having extra rehearsals to combine orchestras, I decided to keep the classes separate and not take too much time outside of class to learn the music.
We will be performing three pieces. The first, Moonlight Tango by Richard Meyer, is one you might remember from middle school. I chose this piece purposefully because so many students already know the tune. We will be performing this piece entirely in 3rd position (and 4th for cello/bass). Knowing the piece helps with intonation and position fluency.
The second piece, Night Shift also by Meyer, has many position changes on each instrument of the orchestra. This will help students practice smooth shifting. The last piece is Pony Polka.
The Recital orchestra students are playing Black and White Rag, Float On, and Concerto Barocco for Guitar and string quartet.
Next Thursday and Friday all students will have to play a scale test on either a C, G or D Major two octave scale, arpeggio, and thirds. Students will be graded on intonation, tone, posture and position.
As you can see, working on scales develops many skills for playing an instrument that will improve performance. Prof. William Fitzpatrick from Chapman University talks about the importance of scales and brings up excellent points in the following video. This is the first part of three.
Shifting will be performed by all instruments in these scales. To achieve a smooth and soundless shift, students must move the entire hand as one unit while releasing tension from the hand and especially the thumb. Practicing this motion very slowly and smoothly at first establishes the motion pattern that can be sped up later to shift more quickly. If this slow practice is skipped, jerky and inaccurate shifting can result.
These are just a couple of the hundreds of great videos available on youtube. If you search and find a video that really helps you, please share it with me!! Keep in mind that for all the great videos, there are also videos that demonstrate incorrect information. If you have questions about anything you find, please ask me or a private teacher. Good luck on the scale tests and happy practicing!!!