Sometimes a friend or relative will ask if you can play their favorite song - and that favorite song is seldom a movement from your most recent concerto, or an orchestral excerpt...
Do you see where I'm going with this?
If someone wants to hear "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" or "All of Me" or "Amazing Grace" or even "Happy Birthday" - it's nice to be able to grant their wish.
Is that something you are able to do?
When I was about 10 years old I felt really confident about my ability to do this. I'd "take requests" at family gatherings and stumble my way through various tunes from musicals, etc. I was happily oblivious to the quality of the results!
I'm now considerably older and a little wiser. I'm better at playing by ear, but also I've learned the value of a good arrangement. Arrangements can be very helpful in getting through weddings, funerals and other events where people request particular songs. Sometimes those songs are so personally meaningful - it feels really bad to say, "No, we have our book of tunes, we don't take requests."
After years of chasing down such arrangements, though, I've come to the conclusion that it sure would be nice to be able to do that myself.
So now I am finally dipping my toe into this "arranging thing." Over the last few months I've been taking some teacher enrichment classes in arranging and composing as a part of a Creative Music Literacy series. The classes are designed especially for Suzuki teachers, and they are taught by LA-based violin/viola teachers Carrie Salisbury and Michael McLean (who you may know for his many arrangements for violin - fun stuff like tango duets!).
Carrie and Michael have shown us some great ways to introduce theory concepts, and in learning how to teach this stuff to my students, I'm learning a lot for myself!
At this point, I can say I am beginning to be comfortable doing a small-scale arrangement. This made me curious, do most people feel comfortable making arrangements, or is it an area where violinists could use a little help?
Do you transcribe music for yourself (or others) to play? Do you arrange it for several instruments? For violin and piano? For orchestra? How often do you write transcriptions? Or is it something you simply haven't done very much? Please participate in the vote and then share your thoughts and experiences in regard to transcriptions.
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