My favorite musician to teach is the beginner. There is nothing better than inspiring a young mind to love and experience music!
While there are many wonderful beginner method books available, what I find lacking is "fun" music for the beginner. Come holiday season or even mid-year, trying to find beginner solos or duets to supplement method book learning can be a real challenge. Often times the rhythms are too hard or the melodies extend past the beginner range, which is especially a problem for clarinetists who often find playing above the break too challenging until their second or third year of instruction. Tired of having nothing to offer my students, I am attempting to fill this gap by offering a series of supplemental solo/duet/trio versions of seasonal and pop tunes written specifically for beginners.
Below is an explanation of how these tunes are designed and how to best use them followed by a list of links to free downloadable and reproducible PDFs. All tunes are either original compositions or arrangements of public domain tunes. Feedback, both critical and complimentary, is greatly appreciated and can be left in either the comments section at the end of this post or in a private email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
BOTTOMLESS CUP ] MUSIC
The Beginner's Book of Easy Solo/Duet/Trio Music
These tunes are the perfect supplement to the rigors of private music instruction and band class. Easy to sight-read and playable alone or with others, these tunes are a great way to fill out the last 5 minutes of instruction or fill an entire "free period."
Here's how they work:
Above you'll see the first system of "Jingle Bells." This song follows a format that will remain consistent throughout the entire line of solo/duet/trio beginner music:
- Part 1 is for a student in their 1st year of instruction.
- Part 2 is for a student in their 2nd year of instruction.
- Part 3 is for a student in their 3rd year of instruction.
All parts take into consideration range and rhythmic ability. Part 3 may occasionally offer a challenge, either through rhythm or note range.
The music can be played a number of ways:
- Part 1 alone as a solo
- Parts 1 & 2 as a duet
- Parts 1 & 3 as a duet
- Parts 1, 2 & 3 as a trio
All instruments (with the exception of Violin & Recorder) are in the same concert key, so small ensembles can be created with any combination of instruments. It must be noted that some Part 2s & 3s vary slightly from instrument to instrument in order to accommodate range; however, they can still be played together.
These tunes can be a real help for private teachers who teach long hours and several different instruments:
- With two different parts to chose from, teachers will not get as bored playing the same duets in every back to back lesson.
- Teachers can also take just one instrument in for the day and still be able to play with each student without having to sight-transpose.
- They are a great way to end a lesson on an easy note or use several of the tunes to take a break from the normal lesson format and create a "fun" day.
- Students who remain with you for several years can advance from Part 1 to 2 to 3 and feel a tangible sense of progress.
- Small ensembles can be formed from your students for recitals that will be easy to prepare and present.
These tunes can be useful in a number of ways:
- They can be used as small ensemble pieces for concerts or school events.
- They are perfect for filling up classes after a recital and before break.
- If a teacher has the space (and trusts the kids!) they can break up the band into little ensembles to practice independently during class, possibly putting on a performance at the end of class for the rest of the band (this could even be given to a sub, if you have a good sub who can handle kids playing!).
- They are also playable together where the teacher can either assign each part to different sections or allow the students to choose their own parts.
- They offer a great opportunity for student conductors to come up and assign parts and conduct tunes that don't rely on strong conducting skills.
- They can be given to parents who have several children playing instruments and want them to play together for family functions despite their differences in ability.
- They can be passed out for students to take home over breaks.
Below are links to all of the tunes being offered at this time. Help yourself to them and feel free to share and pass them along.