Ferling Quartet Arrangements
In December of 2017 I took on a challenge of learning and recording the first 12 of Ferling's 48 Famous Studies for Oboe or Saxophone along with the Saxophone Etude of the Week Facebook group. After recording several of these, I was looking for a way to have a little fun with the challenge and brush up on my arranging/composition skills.
For years, I have been using the piano accompaniments to the Ferling etudes by John Walker and published by Carl Fischer in lessons and in my own practice. These accompaniments not only make the performance of the etudes feel like a more authentic music-making experience, but they help inform the ear and allow you to effortlessly hear the deeper harmonic implications of the single-line melody.
Unfortunately, my piano skills are limited, so the only way I have been able to pass along this practice approach to my students is to use the CD recorded accompaniments in lessons and encourage them to purchase the book for their own practice. What if there was a way that students could begin to hear these implied harmonies within their own instrument group? What if students could learn valuable chamber music skills through the learning and practice of etudes for their All-Region and All-State Band auditions? What if practicing these pieces became a fun social experience as opposed to lonely drudgery?
The resulting quartet arrangements have been a project that has been quite fun and challenging to work on, but something that I feel has great pedagogical value for our students. Currently, these arrangements are for quartets of the same instrument (four alto saxophones, four tenor saxophones, four oboes) or a combination of instruments in the same key (two altos and two bari saxes).
I hope to complete this project over the next several months with the goal of publication by the end of Summer 2019. Watch this space, as I will be posting free downloadable samples and video demonstrations periodically.
If you have any comments or feedback, I would love to hear from you!