As some of you may know, Music Theory (the explanations and meanings about how music works, and the science and notations that explain it) really interests me. In college, music theory was somewhat of a challenge to me. Because it was such a challenge to me, I ended up taking more of an interest in it after college. I see now how vital this knowledge is for young musicians. I have grown passionate about incorporating music theory into every lesson I teach. No matter what age or level of my students, I try to include theory. To be a fully engaged and educated musician, it is important to understand the language of music. Understanding theory helps one relate to other instrumentalists in any genre or style. It can be so easy to fall into the trap of ‘I’m learning the violin’, and then only think about playing the instrument. In reality, being an instrumentalist is just one part of being a musician. Yes, you need to learn the intricacies of your instrument. But what about rhythm, scales, intervals, harmonies, chords, vocabulary, ear training and notation?
Recently I have found some more great resources to use during lessons. If you have questions about them, please let me know.
For me, there will always be more to learn. This is somewhat intimidating, but also exciting!
Happy Thursday everyone!!
For students in high school and/or working on scales, the above two-octave D Major Scale showcases a specific rhythm of quarter notes and eighth notes. The quarter notes are used on the tonic note of the scale each time it returns, D in this case. This rhythm will help with anchoring the player within the key of the scale especially when shifting from 1st to 3rd position. You may either slur the notes or play them separately.
This is just one example of how to play a D Major two octave scale. But, this is how the MSBOA (Michigan School Band & Orchestra Association) has Solo & Ensemble proficiency examinations notated. Please visit their website for more information if you plan to perform in Solo & Ensemble this year. This is a link to the Solo and Ensemble Proficiency Scales Guide. http://www.smso.org/Education/Proficiency%20Scales%20Strings.pdf
Along with different variations in rhythms there are different variations in how you can finger a passage. I have notated two different ways of playing this scale. The top option shifts into 3rd position on the A string note D with a shift back in measure 4 to 1st position. The bottom fingering has the entire passage performed in 3rd position with no shifting. You have the ability to choose your fingering based on your preference and skill. Shifting can create different tone qualities. The bottom option can cut down on unwanted interruptions in sound that could result from shifting. If you wish to download and print this specific example I have attached the PDF I created below.
Ultimately, check with your school orchestra directors for their input if you have any questions on these guidelines. :)
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