Transposing the Warmup Scale

Transposing the warmup scale

Dana Sylvander
[email protected]
Tenafly (NJ) School District

TI:ME Technology Areas Addressed:







Sibelius & computer


10-15 Minutes

Prior Knowledge and Skills:

4th. grade students have completed at least half of the first year method book and are ready to join the full orchestra for the first time. For 5th. graders, this is review.

NAfME Standards of 1994 Addressed:

NAfME Standards of 1994: Performing on instruments, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music.

NAfME 2014: Performing

NAfME Standards of 1994: Reading and notating music.

NAfME 2014: Creating


Standard of Excellence – book one. Scale sheets that were made with Sibelius.


Students will discover that notes don’t sound the same pitch on all instruments. This is called transposition.


5 minutes at the begining of the early morning rehearsal: In the rehearsal, all students warm up with a scale that is used in one of our compositions. The conductor briefly explains that some instruments have to play a different scale than the (e.g. violins) do. Transposition is explained. For those instruments that transpose, a more detailed explanation will take place at the beginning of their group lesson. 10-15 minutes: In that lesson we use Sibelius. The C Instrument sheet is loaded on the screen. “This is what the violins, flutes & oboes use.” “Look at your scale sheet.” “The notes are different because you are not a ‘C’ instrument.” A brief history of the evolution of the instrument may be explored, trying to explain why it transposes. A demonstration shows how Sibelius automatically can transpose.


Question-answer. Listening: “Even though you are playing the D scale, does it sound like the flutes C Scale?”

Follow Up:

Eventually students may learn each other’s transpositions.

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