These following melodies are some of my favorites to teach beginners, and the order you see might be a good progression to work through. Click the thumbnails to view, print, or download the scores.
GO TELL AUNT RHODY
A folk melody returns to its roots in this arrangement, which will help students become familiar with a strong offbeat groove. In fact, you might try clapping the offbeat before anything else. The melody can be played simply, but I have also included some optional fiddle variations. One recording I like is Woody Guthrie’s version of this tune, with wailing harmonicas and the traditional dead goose lyrics.
BRITCHES FULL OF STITCHES/BILL SULLIVAN'S
A set of Irish polkas, with a dotted rhythm punch. The melody introduces what I would call semi-staccato stopped bow (which helps the rhythmic feel) and also the use of grace notes. Polkas have nice danceable feel, without getting into fast 8th notes.
DAWNING OF THE DAY
A beautiful Irish melody that can be played as a march or a waltz. Here it is in march time. It seems that there are quite a few other melodies with the same name, but from what I can tell, this is one of the most well known. There is also a famous Irish poem called Raglan Road that is sung to the melody in its waltz form.
For this one, I kept the arrangement short, and have added a short intro/outtro for this sweet-sounding waltz. Students sometimes like to play swing 8th notes, but I like the sound of it with very little swing...pure and simple.
Don't forget, I would love to hear your experiences with this music. Really, I will be quite excited to get your note. Click the contact link below to correspond!