The continuous seach for music to play…

Typical cello and/or violin lessons generally begin with Suzuki (or an approximate likeness of it), scales and some introductory music theory.  Once you’ve got a handle on playing, the question becomes:  What do I want to play?   Maybe you already know, maybe you knew from birth!  But maybe you have to go on a search to find songs that make all those scales and etudes worth while.  Where to look?

On-line is a great resource for sometimes free sheet music.  I’ve found a few sites I really like, but I could always like more.  Here’s what I’ve found for free: IMSLP, a huge mega site for classical players, a feast of music! has some music for combinations of instruments, for example if you play the cello but your friend plays violin and you really want to play a duet, here’s a good place to start.  There’s also All about Mozart, another free classical site that has simplified versions for those of us who are not in the NY Philharmonic.  Not only is Mozart there, but Beethoven and a few others as well, all for free.  Those 2 sites should get the classical types going, but what about other music?

I recently went to the West Cascades Fiddle camp (Oregon Oldtime Fiddlers’ Association), and learned a bunch of old-time fiddle tunes…by ear and a bit of tab.  Not the classical way to learn a violin tune, but it works!  The goal of most of the people at the camp was to leave with as many new songs recorded as possible so they would have plenty of new tunes to work on over the long winter.   Fiddle tunes are traditionally passed on from teacher to student, but there are some decent books out there, and who knew, Portland has it’s own collection of tunes called – The Portland Collection.  And not just one, but 3 tomes of Contra fiddling madness!

There are a few great Irish books, The Irish Cello Book by Liz Maxfield is just plain awesome.  The play along CD is lightning fast!!  Don’t be discouraged, just keep playing.  For violins there’s The Irish Fiddle Book by Matt Cranitch.  Again, a really great book with very authentic tunes and techniques.

If you have an inside track on some other sites, or great books please drop me a line and share them with me.  I’m forever on a quest for the next great song!

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