Orchestra Book I from the O'Connor Method series is designed for beginning string students between the ages of 5 and 10. Orchestra Book I is appropriate for elementary school programs (not for Junior High orchestra programs and above). The sequence of string orchestra arrangements Mark O'Connor composed for this book gives very young children the opportunity to learn stringed instruments in a classroom setting, and to learn how to play as a part of a string ensemble by performing simple, beautiful harmonies, basic counterpoint and engaging rhythms.
This beautifully arranged music by Mark O'Connor, consisting of professional level tunes and songs both classic and newly created, contain wonderfully attractive themes with irresistible rhythms that are both extremely accessible to children as well as pedagogical. All string parts in Orchestra Book I are scored using no high or extended 3rd and 4th fingers.
The O'Connor orchestral arrangements of American repertoire for beginners, have a wonderfully artistic and finished quality to them that adult listeners can appreciate, elevating these
materials beyond what is typically thought of as children's music. O'Connor's arrangements of American classics and originals resonate with children, inspiring them towards deeper appreciation and heightened participation in the classroom.
The materials in Orchestra Book I correlates precisely with the sequential framework of the solo violin, viola and cello book I method materials making the O'Connor Method the only one that creates a bridge from the private studio to the orchestra and band room at school. By bridging the gap between home and school, the O'Connor Method brings more relevance to the materials, increasing the child's ability to make music successful in their lives. Accompanying histories of the music, theory and visual diagrams as well as tips from the "Fiddle Boy" throughout the book are both instructive and endearing the children and parents alike.
A standard orchestration is typically constructed of five separate string parts, a quintet. In Orchestra Book I, designed for children of elementary school age, the orchestration comprises of three distinct but equal parts throughout the book (violin, viola cello with an optionally piano accompaniment part for the teacher). Children of tender years, and beginning students will be able to better identify specific instrument groups as they learn to play in a large ensemble with scoring for three parts. The assimilation of a 3-part beginning orchestration will aid in acquiring musical understanding, sonic relationships and technical development because the materials are more quickly analyzed and enjoyed.
While a young beginner in an ensemble setting attempts to learn and perform their own part of the orchestration, being able to distinguish a harmony played by another section of the orchestra more easily, or a counterpoint line by yet another section is crucial to the development of a well rounded young musician in the ensemble. Therefore 3-part string writing for the ages 5 through 10, one part per violin, viola and cello section, was employed for Book I.
Muddy and problematic intonation in the lower registers can reduce the whole ensemble to the point of everyone underachieving because it is nearly impossible to find the proper intonation on higher instruments amongst a "swimming" and likely out of tune bass section from instruments that prove clumsy in the small hands of elementary school aged children. It is the approach of the O'Connor Method that 1st year string students take on higher registered instruments, (cello being the lowest) and not the doublebass, waiting to expand to full orchestra sections by book II (or 2nd year). Starting in Orchestra Book II, the orchestration will expand to a standard quintet arrangement scheme and will be suitable for Junior High orchestra and above. If there is a need for 2nd violin to reinforce the violas because of a potentially weaker section, or for bass to be added to the ensemble, this can be accommodated easily by doubling. (2nd violin doubling viola parts are offered in Book I, and bass doubling cello, or the left hand of the piano are consistent with the integrity of the orchestrations).
Orchestra Book I comes with a CD recording affixed to the teacher's score of all pieces featuring a world class string orchestra from New York City. There are two recordings of each selection, one with the piano accompanying the strings, and on with strings alone. Students will be able to hear the professional players perform their materials in the classroom as a model to aspire to.
School Orchestra Method Book I
School Orchestra Directors: Turbocharge your orchestra with the O'Connor Method! Complete teacher/orchestra score includes everything you need to apply Mark O'Connor's winning techniques to your program. CD includes outstanding performances by Mark O'Connor and professional New York-based classical orchestral players. With individual section parts, the score is carefully integrated with the individual parts and will allow you to prepare yourself to teach the O'Connor Method to your ensemble.
Mark O'Connor Orchestra Method Book I
Score & CD MO500 - $29.95 Musical Sample, page 10 more info
School Orchestra Directors: Turbocharge your orchestra with the O'Connor Method! Complete teacher/orchestra score includes everything you need to keep applyling Mark O'Connor's winning techniques to your program. CD includes outstanding performances by Mark O'Connor and professional New York-based classical orchestral players. With individual section parts, the score is carefully integrated with the individual parts and will allow you to teach the O'Connor Method to your ensemble.
Mark O'Connor Orchestra Method Book II
Score & CD MO1500 - $34.95 Musical Sample, page 8 more info