Choosing the Right Music for Your Orchestra

Bob Phillips

As a string teacher for many years, I always enjoy looking at new music.  It’s a bit like opening a present!  As an editor at Alfred, I see the music about a year before it is released. Right now we have just released the new 2013 music and have much of the music for 2014 selected.

Things have changed from the days when we all spent a lovely summer day in an air-conditioned music store looking for just the right pieces to play that year. Now we depend on the Internet and all the great websites to browse the new music or look for great classics.  A classic can be a piece that just works so well that teachers play it year after year.  It can also mean enduring music.  This month we are featuring several types of classic music – great rock and roll and timeless serious music. 

No matter what you are looking for, be sure it fits the skill level of your group. I would generally choose to play a slightly easier piece and play it with excellence than play a more difficult piece poorly.  Of course, there are times that a challenge is called for!  Keep your curriculum in mind as well and find tunes that provide the opportunity to teach the appropriate skills. Enjoy!

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