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Pass the Baton

By Steven Griffin

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Violin, Viola, Cello, Double Bass, String Orchestra, Multi-level String Orchestra (beginners to ABRSM grade 5) - Early Intermediate
Composed by Steven Griffin. Repertoire, General Instructional, Children's Music. Score, Set of Parts. 70 pages. Published by Griffmusic (S0.54273).

Item Number: S0.54273

(This pack contains a full score, instructions and all parts)This piece was written for children taking part in the Caritas Strings Summer School in Edinburgh in 2014. This five day course was aimed at young string players from absolute beginners who have never played and instrument to those who were working towards ABRSM grade 5. I was asked to compose something as a ‘finale’ to the concert that ended the course. The theme of the course was the Commonwealth Games so I looked for a link between music and sport and came up with the idea of the baton being passed in a relay race. I then decided to incorporate this into the performance. There are three opportunities for the conductor to literally ‘pass the baton’ to one of the performers and to ask them to conduct for a short time. The repeat bars should be played as many times as necessary for the new conductor to get to the front and get used to holding the baton and moving correctly. The main conductor should then take over again before passing the baton again. To keep everyone alert don’t inform the new conductors until you are giving them the baton in the performance. Some brief observations in rehearsals will help you choose the best people for this role.Passing the baton like this is not just a bit of fun for the participants (and the audience - you could even get one of them involved!) but helps the youngsters to understand the relationship between the movements a conductor makes and the way in which this influences the music.Orchestra 1 is for absolute beginners and uses only open strings. The youngest performers in the first performance were only 5 years old!Orchestra 2 is for intermediate young players who are maybe around ABRSM grade 2/3.Orchestra 3 is for more advanced performers who are working at around ABRSM grade 4/5 level.The piano accompaniments should be used to keep the whole performance together. The percussion parts are optional and may be best played by teachers or older pupils who have maybe been helping the younger string players.Following the success of the first performance, I was asked to prepare a new version for a school symphony orchestra. This can be viewed at

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