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Marching strings?


Elfrida
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I've been asked to arrange a weekend workshop for a bunch of violin playing children who participated in a youth music festival where they saw the wind orchestras marching -- they became VERY jealous, and now they want to start marching themselves!

I guess there are violin groups in the US and elsewhere who do this. How would you start? Repertoire (military style or something entirely different)? Would you copy the ideas from a marching wind band or do you think strings need their very own "choreography"? Would you add some kind of a bass section to get a better sound, and then how would you do that?

Any ideas will be appreciated!

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When my daughter was in grade 8, her school orchestra did a nice routine with stuff like "Gold and Silver Waltz" - not marching exactly, but lots of movement (including kneeling down in parts). I think simple tunes, on the andante side rather than the allegro, would probably be best to try out.

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I was in a marching strings group as a child. Actually, we were strolling strings. We didn't march in a regimented way. We played tunes that were easily memorized and easy to play while walking: some of the catchier stuff from our beginner books, fiddle tunes, etc. It was fun. We played in a couple of parades. When we were in between sets and simply walking, we held our instruments guitar style and did something involving plucking -- the G string? open fifths? I can't quite remember.

I know we had some violists. I don't remember whether we had any young cellists. However, a cello could be tied onto a strolling cellist with a scarf or a neck or shoulder strap of some kind -- I've seen adult players do it.

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Walking with a cello could be tragic... for posture if nothing else (and having just a scarf between an instrument and the pavement scares me). Could you put the cellos and basses on a float, or have them stay in the middle and let the others move around them if you're not in a parade?

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