making music in a classroom with a wide range of abilities

I’m excited to announce a new series of scores, intended for school music teachers.

When I ran music activities at Bordeaux International School, I was often faced with a class where some students had experience with instruments, others none; some read music, others read chords; and some played by ear, others used TAB. One thing they had in common – they all wanted to make music!

It is a challenge to keep every child stimulated according to their level of experience and learning style. To address this, I’m creating a series of super-flexible arrangements for use in the classroom. Here’s an example – ‘Sakura’ from Japan.

Although this score looks complex, it is in fact, quite simple. There is a main melody which is written in 2 octaves (the higher octave would suit more-experienced players). There is also a countermelody which is very easy, and would suit players with just a few weeks of learning. These two parts are also presented for Bb and Eb instruments.

Next you will find an unpitched percussion part. This can introduce young musicians to concepts of music reading. An easy piano part (grade 2-3) could be played by a teacher or more advanced pupil. Guitar and ukulele parts are presented in TAB, notes and chords, thus keeping a classical guitarist and a teenage rocker occupied. Finally, the bass line is presented in notes (perhaps to be played by a cellist) and bass guitar TAB.

The idea is that a teacher can find themselves presented with a class which might have a grade 2 Bb trumpeter, a beginner flautist, three guitarists who use TAB, a ukulele player who reads chords and two pianists. They will all be challenged and occupied.


Pupils can also refer to the YouTube score video at any time as a visual and aural learning aid.

You can download the score and parts in one simple step at Sheetmusicplus here.

If you have any comments, or ideas for arrangements, I’d love to know about them!

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