BOTSO - Teaching a song

The leaders of BOTSO have taken a sabatical and left the orchestra to support themselves for a few months.

The members organised a committee to handle what Strat and Lyndal do automatically.

I offered to teach the orchestra a new song. The committee was happy to accept my offer and I was allocated the second half of the fortnightly session, right after supper.

This is a big deal for me as I have never tried to teach an orchestra a song. Grab those opportunities young man!

I set about creating a score for the orchestra to follow with the melody and prominent chord names. The song I chose was composed by Edgar Myer and is titled: The Years Between.
The song features a double bass solo, so I naturally thought of our cello players would be a natural fit. The song also required me to play slide guitar.

As the session came about I made sure I had forty copies of the score. I handed one copy to each member and sat down and explained the process of learning the song. Usually Start/Lyndal songs are Celtic in nature and consequentaly there is no guitar part and something has to be invented.
This song is different as the guitars carry the song. The melody, in parts, is required to wait a bar or two before continuing, which will be quite strange for the fiddle players. In Celtic melodies they never stop. Also quite different will be the guitar part, as they will not be strumming but playing an arpegio for the whole song. That being the case I first set about teaching the guitarists what I wanted them to play. The rhythm is "one and two and three and four and" , eighth notes. I wanted the one to be the root note of the chord and I wanted the three to be highest note in the chord. So over a bar you start at the lowest note go to the highest note and then back again. It took a little bit of work as timing became an issue for a short time until they locked into the required timing. This is the first time they have been given a written part to play and they seemed to enjoy being given a task to follow that was consistent.

The fiddle players had been playing around with the melody while I was teaching the guitarists and it took a little while for them to understand that a certain points in the song they will not be playing anything and have to cue off the guitarists rhythm pattern. The fiddlers quickly learnt the part and off we went. By the end of the hour everyone knew what to do and the song sounded wonderful.

The song has other counter melodies which I hadn't scored as it would have been too much. Maybe later in another session.

Sue, one of the BOTSO cello players was very interested in the song and really wanted to get into those other parts. That's a good sign. I gave Sue details on where to find the song on the Internet.

I pretty sure we all had a good time learning something new and I enjoyed my first teaching experience.