The Easy Arrangements for Adult Beginners String Quartet

February 5, 2020, 10:18 AM · Over 40 years ago, when I began my journey with the violin, I've dreamed of forming a String Quartet. Life, in general, has made it a non-starter and it may well still be a non-starter.

I'm sure there are late starting adults who might be interested but I do have the problem of being a day-person so I'd like sessions to be on weekends in the daytime, not planning to "perform" and the focus would be on simplified arrangements that can be easy to play.

My question is: Does this sound like a non-starter to you or do you think there might be a way of making it happen?

Replies (6)

Edited: February 5, 2020, 10:42 AM · Last Resort Music Publishing has fairly easy arrangements of music for string duets, trios and quartets - at least it's a reasonable place to start - if you must.

I think that to form a string quartet you need the proper human resources including at least one patient player who is good enough to keep a tempo and play with others who play at a lower level.

I have played quite regularly (mostly weekly) in chamber music groups since 1963. My actual start in chamber music and community orchestra playing actually started 14 years before that.

As a basis for finding other players for chamber music I have joined community orchestras wherever I lived. In fact I checked into the availability of "community music" before committing to move - even when the incentive for the move was for a new job and the final one - to live closer to our grown children. It has worked!

In my dotage, I have now found other retired people who are happy to play music in the morning - the best time for us old folks.

Edited: February 5, 2020, 4:12 PM · George, you forget to tell us how easy is "easy". I am certain you will find other players interested, if you live in or near a reasonably large community.

But, strong (well-informed and quite developed playing skills, and good interpersonal skills) leadership is required, and a bit of searching to put the ensemble together. I say ensemble, because it might be best to be a bit flexible about how many people play in your "quartet". If balance really becomes a problem, you have done very well indeed.

Have a go, I say.

As for music, when you all find your level, several sites offer all manner of string quartet music.

February 6, 2020, 12:51 AM · It looks, from your bio, that you live very close to New York City, in a densely populated part of New Jersey. There are probably tons of excellent amateurs in your area; certainly it looks like there are multiple community orchestras. You should have no problem finding people of your own level; you don't need to resort to beginners who need to play arrangements designed for little kids. I assume, since you feel confident enough in your own technical abilities to be teaching the violin, that you have no problem handling standard quartet literature yourself. (While some of the literature is pretty brutal, much of it was written for amateurs to play at home, and has fairly modest technical demands.)

Edited: February 6, 2020, 4:42 AM · If you go to jwpepper.com and search for "string quartet" you'll find many listings. Some are the standard quartet literature which would most likely be more difficult than it sounds like you're aiming for, but there are also many which are aimed at middle school and high school students, as well as some which are aimed at church ensembles. Also Luck's has a lot listed, some of which would fit your criteria.
And check out IMSLP -- you may find some good pieces there.
Edited: February 6, 2020, 8:42 AM · Everyone,

I really appreciate the responses.

Andrew: There are many "Senior Communities" near where I live so perhaps there may well be potential musicians residing there who want someone to make music with.

Lydia: Thanks for the encouragement. The Youth Orchestra that Linda and I are librarians for is a Pre-K through 12 program so we have over 60 years of music at a broad variety of levels. Of course there is the Standard-Rep and a lot of that was written for amateurs. That being said the orchestra's catalog contains a lot of just fun music from Bach to Beatles arranged for four part string playing. FWIW: the senior orchestra is playing original standard rep. music as well.

Graeme: Thanks. Organizing groups is one of my skills that I have used during my day-job career. As I mentioned to Andrew, I have this idea of making music with (as opposed to for) fellow musicians who live in and/or are part of the senior community (as I am, but still live in a single family house). The lure of the senior community is that they all have space available for activities where we can setup music stands and make music.

February 7, 2020, 1:04 AM · Should be a breeze, then, George. Just do it.


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