The Restful March is aptly named because it is a march full of rests! It is a fun and educational piece for beginners who can play the notes of the D major scale. It combines patterns that follow the scale and some that jump along the arpeggio. Rests occur strategically on strong and weak beats forcing musicians to count and pay attention. The very idea of a march full or rests is funny and should add to the enjoyment of playing this piece.
Porcui the Porcupine is an unusual yet fulfilling piece that creates modernistic soundscapes. The strangeness of the rhythmical sounds creates the somewhat unnerving impression of a porcupine flexing his quills. The notes are relatively easy but there are some octave jumps and spots where students must count multiple measures of rests and come in in the middle of a measure (bar). Intonation practice will be crucial. The piece provides a taste of modern music in a way that is fun.
The High Low Waltz addresses the fundamental issue of moving between F and F#, which entails using the high and low 1st finger on violin and the high and low 2nd finger on violin and viola, the 2nd and 3rd fingers on cello, and the 2nd and 4th fingers and high and low 1st finger on bass. It explores these dry technical issues, yet by being in the form of a waltz, it is fun to play.
Child's Play contains children's games and is relatively easy (as in the expression "child's play"), yet it explores various rhythms, as well as playing on offbeats and coming in mid measure (bar). Using only open strings, it nonetheless requires playing on all the strings. It also uses every type of note from whole notes to sixteenth notes reinforcing note values. Then there is the fun factor: the incorporation of the clapping game, Miss Mary Mack, and various foot stamps, claps, slaps and snaps. A real crowd (and student) pleaser!
Birds in Flight musically imitates the flapping wings of a flocks of birds. As the basses play an ostinato, reminiscent of though easier than the Pachelbel Cannon, the other instruments play a pattern based on thirds. First the cellos play it, then the violas join, then the 2nd violins and the firsts. Finally the basses join in and the whole orchestra takes flight. In the following whole note section the birds gently glide. They start to land during the final section made up of arpeggios shared by all instruments. By the end of the final whole note fermata chord they have come to a complete rest.
A Walk in the Park is ..."a walk in the park" (easy)! But it is also a virtual walk in the park! With all instruments in 1st position, we hear a strolling theme built on the pentatonic scale, interspersed with episodes of 8th notes using the mixolydian mode (lowered 7th) portraying the happenings in a park. I suggest these scales be practiced in warm up exercises. The melody and all the challenges are shared by all instruments. Make sure to observe good intonation and dynamics