Hungarian Dance No. 5

arr. Paul Jennings

Johannes Brahms was one of the greatest German pianists and composers, and was a bright light in the 19th century. Many historians in talking about great composers speak of the "Three B's – Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms." He lived from 1833 to 1897, and was an active musician from his early years until almost the time of his death.

The Hungarian Dance we have arranged for your students is one of a set of 21 Hungarian dances that Brahms composed in the 1860s. This was early in Brahms' time of great success, and it shows the excitement that he could create even in shorter pieces. This made it ideal for this arrangement for rhythm sticks, Boomwhackers®, recorder, bucket band, and/or hand percussion.

- Use lots of instruments... or not - If you used our new collection Rhythm Sticks & Bucket Bands For The Holidays, and many of you did (Thanks!!!), you will recognize this type of orchestration. Actually, for this arrangement, we expanded a bit. But the bottom line is that you can choose to use all of the instruments, just a few of them, just the buckets, or any single instrument, like the rhythm sticks. The arrangement with the orchestral recorded track is going to sound good with any of them. And, of course, the full recording shows you how it can sound with all of the instruments.

- A bucket band? - Many of you will be familiar with bucket bands whether you have tried to form one with your students or not. Put simply, a bucket band is a percussion ensemble that uses buckets for their drums. At its most basic, a fun bucket group can be just a bunch of five gallon plastic buckets upside down with sticks. (These are our "Tenor Buckets.") We could rattle on here about the ins and outs of bucket bands, but instead, we have prepared a special downloadable resource that we call Bucket Band Basics. It is one of the many online resources available for this issue, including PDFs of a vertical version of the piano/percussion score and individual parts for each section of your band. Additionally, we have created a percussion-only audio track so that your players can not only hear their parts more distinctly, but also enjoy the sheer cool factor.

- Adapt as you like, but stay musical. - One of the most important things to instill in your students for an ensemble like this is that they are playing musical instruments, and that they should play musically. This work is PERFECT for that in that there are sections where they play forte, immediately contrasted with quiet and building sections. When in doubt, exaggerate.

One last thought... If you use all of the instruments available to you, try to keep the numbers in proportion. If you have 25 kids, use at least half on the buckets, with more soprano and tenor buckets than bass. By the same token, one of each bucket and 20 rhythm sticks won't give you very good balance either. But if that is the group you have, it will work with the tracks. Just use dynamics accordingly.

Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.