Nov 112010
 

Away In a Manger Video ThumbnailDownload your copy of 'A Season of Strings' for violin, viola, or cello and come practice with me in these videos.  I'll discuss the challenges of each song and show you how to overcome those challenges as you learn to play the Christmas songs in this collection.

For Violin and Viola:

  1. Jolly Old St Nicholas
  2. Good King Wenceslas
  3. Away In a Manger
  4. The First Noel
  5. Up On The Housetop
  6. We Three Kings
  7. Angels We Have Heard On High
  8. Deck The Halls
  9. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
  10. Frosty The Snow Man
  11. Adeste Fideles (O Come All Ye Faithful)
  12. Hark!  The Herald Angels Sing
  13. Jingle Bells
  14. Joy To The World!
  15. We Wish You A Merry Christmas!

#1 ~ Jolly Old St Nicholas

 

Practice Tips:

  • Begin playing after the 4-measure introduction.
  • Remember to count 2 for half notes and 4 for whole notes.

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#2 ~ Good King Wenceslas

 

Practice Tips:

  • Key of G major:  F's are sharp, C's are natural.  This means violins must use a low 2nd finger (marked with L2 in the music as a reminder) on the A string to play C naturals, but a normal 2nd finger (close to the 3) on the D string to play F# sharps.
  • A few up-bow slurs.

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#3 ~ Away In a Manger

 

Practice Tips:

  • Key of G major:  F's are sharp, C's are natural.  This means violins and violas must use a low 2nd finger (marked with L2 in the music as a reminder) on the A string to play C naturals, but a normal 2nd finger (close to the 3) on the D string to play F# sharps.
  • Tricky slurs
  • Dotted-quarter/eighth note rhythm with slurs and quick up bows.

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#4 ~ The First Noel

 

Practice Tips:

  • Starts on 3rd beat pick-up, with an Up-bow slur
  • Dotted-quarter/eighth note rhythm with slurs and quick up bows.
  • Repeats in the middle of the song – basically, each section happens 2 times.

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#5 ~ Up On The Housetop

 

Practice Tips:

  • Quick eighth-note rhythms are not always as expected.
  • 4th finger is used more frequently than in previous songs.
  • The fermata (the "birds-eye" symbol – hold sign) 3 measures from the end is not observed in the practice video.  It's good to use in performances for building suspense.

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#6 ~ We Three Kings

 

Practice Tips:

  • Long, smooth bow strokes to last each whole measure.  Lots of slurs!
  • Count carefully in 3/4 time.  Keep a steady "1-2-3, 1-2-3, 1-2-3 …" throughout the song.
  • Key of E minor and G Major:  F's are sharp, C's are natural.  This means violin and violas must use a low 2nd finger (marked with L2 in the music as a reminder) on the A string to play C naturals, but a normal 2nd finger (close to the 3) on the D string to play F# sharps.
  • The fermata (the "birds-eye" symbol – hold sign) in the middle is not observed in the practice video.  It's good to use in performances for building suspense.

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#7 ~ Angels We Have Heard On High

 

Practice Tips:

  • Key G Major:  F's are sharp, C's are natural.  This means violin and violas must use a low 2nd finger (marked with L2 in the music as a reminder) on the A string to play C naturals, but a normal 2nd finger (close to the 3) on the D string to play F# sharps.
  • Quick eighth notes – 4 to a slur, some with a string crossing followed by a 4th finger – tricky! 

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#8 ~ Deck The Halls

 

Practice Tips:

  •  Key G Major:  F's are sharp, C's are natural.  This means violin and violas must use a low 2nd finger (marked with L2 in the music as a reminder) on the A string to play C naturals, but a normal 2nd finger (close to the 3) on the D string to play F# sharps.
  • This one goes up onto the E string, so you must use a low 2nd finger (L2) to play G natural.
  • Hooked bows
  • Quick Bow Lifts
  • Quick eighth notes

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#9 ~ God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

 

Practice Tips:

  •  Key E minor (relative to key of G Major – they have the same key signature):  F's are sharp, C's are natural.  This means violin and violas must use a low 2nd finger (marked with L2 in the music as a reminder) on the A string to play C naturals, but a normal 2nd finger (close to the 3) on the D string to play F# sharps.
  • Begins with an up-bow pick-up note.
  • Has "accidental D#'s" to be played by sliding your 1st finger back (see video for better help).

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#10 ~ Frosty The Snow Man

 

Practice Tips:

  • Key of C Major:  Low 2nd finger on both the D string (for F naturals and the A string (for C naturals).
  • Repeats:  The first section repeats after playing the 1st ending.  Then skip the first ending, play the 2nd ending and go on to the rest of the song.
  • "Thumpety – thump, thump….!" section at the end is tricky rhythm.

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#11 ~ Adeste Fideles (O Come, All Ye Faithful)

 

Practice Tips:

  • Key G Major:  F's are sharp, C's are natural.  This means violin and violas must use a low 2nd finger (marked with L2 in the music as a reminder) on the A string to play C naturals, but a normal 2nd finger (close to the 3) on the D string to play F# sharps.
  • Begins with an up-bow pick-up note.
  • Careful Slurs!
  • Count carefully!

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#12 ~ Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

 

Practice Tips:

  • Key G Major:  F's are sharp, C's are natural.  This means violin and violas must use a low 2nd finger (marked with L2 in the music as a reminder) on the A string to play C naturals, but a normal 2nd finger (close to the 3) on the D string to play F# sharps.
  • Careful Rhythms and Slurs!
  • Accented 4th finger E's played on A string.

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#13 ~ Jingle Bells

 

Practice Tips:

  • Key G Major:  F's are sharp, C's are natural.  Low 2nd finger on A String
  • Repeats in the middle of the song – basically, each section happens 2 times.  Careful to play the 2nd ending the last time.
  • Count long notes carefully.
  • Careful hooked bows.
  • Tricky rhythms – singing along helps!

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#14 ~ Joy To The World!

 

Practice Tips:

  • Key of D Major
  • Count carefully – the beginning will seem VERY slow, but that's because it's pretty tricky later in the song.
  • Careful hooked bows.
  • Careful slurred eighth notes.

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#15 ~ We Wish You A Merry Christmas!

 

Practice Tips:

  • Key G Major:  F's are sharp, C's are natural.  Low 2nd finger on A String
  • 3/4 Time Signature – count 1-2-3, 1-2-3… for each measure.
  • Begins with an up-bow pick-up note.
  • Be ready for fast rhythms!
  • Middle repeats – each section is played twice, playing 2nd ending last time.
  • No Slurs!

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  6 Responses to “‘A Season of Strings’ Play-Along Videos”

  1. So good job

  2. Good work! Bravo

  3. So good

  4. Great, great

  5. Magnifique

  6. We like it a lot

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