Electronic String Quartet Performance for Recruitment

Electronic String Quartet Performance for Recruitment

Bonnie Myers
[email protected]
South Butler County Schools – Knoch H.S.

TI:ME Technology Areas Addressed:

Electronic Musical Instruments
Music Production


High School




We will use the electronic stringed instruments that we currently have. We will use the Roland synthesizer that we currently have. We own the piece that we are going to play entitled, “Fantasia on a Dulcimer” by Spring.


200 Minutes

Prior Knowledge and Skills:

All of the students chosen to play will be excellent musicians and dependable performers under the stress of an audience. The first violinist must be mature enough to properly lead a string quartet and the other students must be mature enough to follow this person. The ensemble must be able to act like a team and be able to play their own part well enough to put it with others parts successfully. The first violinist must be able to play up in to the fourth position.

MENC Standards Addressed:

MENC 2: Performing on instruments, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music.
MENC 5: Reading and notating music.
MENC 6: Listening to, analyzing and describing music.
MENC 7: Evaluating music and music performances.


For this to be an electronic presentation, all of the string quartet instruments needs to be electronic. I may reinforce the bass part by putting a 5th player on the Roland synthesizer playing the bass part with long deep tones. The music does come first, so the music will at first be learned on the student’s acoustic instruments, then transferred to the electric. We are going to be using the string ensemble piece, “Fantasia on a Dulcimer” by Spring. This beautiful piece has a very haunting, slow melody that goes up into the upper positions. The piece ends very quietly and slowly. Furthermore, since this piece is going to be used at a school performance to entice elementary students to learn a stringed instrument, we are going to use special effects with this performance. Before the students are announced on the stage, the curtains will be closed, the quartet behind the curtains. The stage area will fill up with dry fog (provided by our fog machine) and the front of the stage will be lit only by some ‘fake fire’ cauldron lights. (The musicians will have lights clipped to their music stands). We have done this in the past and it is very effective with the audience!!


At the end of this lesson, the students in the string quartet will be able to play their part for the piece, antasia on a Dulcimerä alone and with the others correctly on an electronic instrument. (“Correctly” means that the studentsâ notes will be in tune and in time and that the piece will be played with feeling. Proper bowings will apply and the four performers will be able to play as a proper string quartet following the first violinist). The student will be able to successfully perform the piece as a string quartet at the recruitment concert in September.


Tell the students exactly what our end result will be and what will happen onstage. They will have one week to learn this piece. (Day One)
Give the students the parts to learn. (Practice at home is expected) Day One
Have the students work together in class using the acoustic instruments Day Two
I coach the students on the musicianship of their piece Day Three and Four
The students rehearse in class on the electronic instruments and then perform this for the full orchestra.
The students perform this piece onstage at the elementary school.
The quartet watches the tape and evaluates their performance.


I will create a checklist for each student much like is used to evaluate the students who audition at our annual district, regional and state orchestra festivals. There are several categories of music listed across the top of the page (such as intonation, bowings, etc.) and a total of ten points for each category. I will fill this out for the students to evaluate them individually. The class can then rate them as a quartet using the same form while they watch the video of the performance. Also important to comment on would be the audienceâs reaction and enthusiasm. Did we succeed in playing a beautiful piece of music? Did we have the audience’s complete attention? Were the students who played proud and confident in their work?

Follow Up:

Using special effects for performance is a great way to add and retain to your string students. I do believe, though, that it is important not to do this too much!! Don’t get away from the music. Carefully plan each special effect piece and decide at which concerts they will be performed. Otherwise, the “specialness” isn’t that special!!

Items to Purchase:

Since we already owned what we needed, this was not an issue.

When budget should be submitted:

Our budgets are due in late November for the next school year.

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