Adapting music of diverse composers – repertoire for music educators

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced schools to change rapidly. Many performing arts programs are facing massive budget cuts for the upcoming academic year, and many large ensembles like bands, wind ensembles, orchestras, and choirs will not be meeting in full force.

In addition, the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and many other African-American men and women have brought a spotlight on the Black Lives Matter movement and sparked world-wide protests to fight against police brutality and racial injustices. One of those injustices still exists in the Art Music world: the vast majority of repertoire performed is largely by the same group of white cis-gendered male composers.

As a socially-active composer and arranger, here is how I am addressing both of these issues:

Below is a list of arrangements by several diverse composers of the past. With these arrangements, I specifically seek out the music of under-represented groups in the arts (i.e., black composers, latino/a composers, LGBTQIA+ composers, differently-abled composers, etc.) so that their voices may reach a wider audience, especially young music students. I treat this music with the utmost respect, only modifying it slightly if needed to make the music approachable for a school ensemble setting.

Each piece comes in two versions: string orchestra and flex band.

Each piece is written in four or five parts. For flex band, each part is able to covered by a wide array of instruments.

Each piece, no matter which version, can be played with as few as four or five players.

As I continue with this project, I will also periodically include educational resources for each of these pieces and composers.

These resources are FREE to use. If you’re interested in getting scores and parts for any of the pieces below, click the Contact link above and send me a message.

Lastly, if you are in a position to donate monetarily, please consider giving a donation here. Any contribution will be immensely helpful for me to continue providing these resources to musicians and music educators for free. In addition, I will also be using a portion of the donations to go towards a specific charitable organizations that sends aid to marginalized communities.

This month’s charity is:

Center for Black Equity

As the Global leader of the Black LGBTQ+ Pride movement, CBE is breaking barriers to accessing employment and opportunity through equipping community leaders with the tools, experiences, and knowledge that enable them to unlock the leadership and problem-solving potential of themselves and others.

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General Performance Notes:

  • Octave placement may be adjusted as needed. In fact, many parts include optional 8va or 8vb depending on the instrument.
  • All repeats are optional.
  • Tempo markings are rough guidelines and don’t necessarily need to be adhered to strictly. Use whatever tempo is an appropriate balance for both the piece and your students.

Convidando Esta La Noche (Zéspedes)

Juan García de Zéspedes (1619 – 1678)

String Orchestra

Recording with Full Score

Flex Band

Recording with Full Score
  • Difficulty: Beginner/Intermediate
  • Duration: 3:32
  • NOTE: In the recordings above, the “Duet” sections feature an example of instrument combinations possible. You may choose to use a different combination based on your specific instrumentation.

Danse Negre – from African Suite, Op. 35 (Coleridge-Taylor)

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875 – 1912)

String Orchestra

Coming Soon!

Flex Band

Coming Soon!

  • Difficulty: Advanced
  • Duration: 6:58″
  • Optional cut available

The March Of The Women (Smyth)

Ethel Smyth (1858 – 1944)

String Orchestra

Recording with full score.

Flex Band

Recording with full score.
  • Difficulty: Beginner/Intermediate
  • Duration: 1:17

Symphony No. 2, I. Allegro Presto (Saint-Georges)

Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges (1745 – 1799)

String Orchestra

Recording with Full Score

Flex Band

Recording with Full Score

  • Difficulty: Advanced
  • Duration: 3:46
  • Optional trills and grace notes

Water In The Moonlight (Wiggins)

Thomas “Blind Tom” Wiggins (1849 – 1908)

String Orchestra

Recording with Full Score

Flex Band

Recording with Full Score
  • Difficulty: Intermediate
  • Duration: 3:07