SmartPicks – Üsküdar arr. Robert W. Smith & Michael Story

smartpicks Üsküdar

smartpicks Üsküdar coverÜsküdar arr. Robert W. Smith & Michael Story

Ensemble type: Concert Band
Difficulty: Grade 1
Recommended by: Ryan Laney, Publications Database Specialist

“Üsküdar is great piece that never fell flat with ANY of my ensembles. Audiences like it, kids like it, the director likes it, what more can you ask for?”

Why did you choose this piece to perform with your group?

Üsküdar features two very strong and singable melodies that both the students and myself always really enjoyed. Woodwinds are featured in the melody most times while Brass get to focus on gorgeous, full tone in various ranges without having a boring part. Percussion has plenty of room for improvisation for a more authentic performance, but can also be well-covered by only 1-2 percussionists.

What skills does it address or what lessons does it teach?

Simple Clarinet break-crossing, dynamic contrast for the full Band in small satisfying chunks, one extended technique (shifting sand sound, “sshhhhhhh…”) that can be amplified with a rainstick or ocean drum, and ensemble awareness.

What are some teaching strategies you would recommend to teachers who are rehearsing this piece?

The Tuba part can be easily transposed up an octave and given to Trombones/Baritones if your band is missing Tuba, Bass Clarinet, and/or Baritone Saxophone. I always loved using this piece to teach great dynamic control with my 7th grade Band.

Why would you recommend this piece to someone else

Solid melodies, great compact size, utilizes Middle-Eastern modes uncommon in most Western music, every Band member feels like they have a cool part to contribute, easy to transfer parts to other instruments as needed (e.g., having a Trumpet player cover a Clarinet part).

What memorable experiences did you have while rehearsing or performing this piece?

Seeing my low brass section realize just how BIG of a sound they can make while still sounding good!

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Ryan works on Alfred Music’s Digital Production team, and previously taught 5-12th grade Band classes in the Boulder Valley School District for 10 years, affording him a wealth of experience working with young musicians and ensembles.

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