Spotlight: Robert D. McCashin

Robert McCashinIn addition to an extensive list of publications, Dr. Robert McCashin is a Professor Emeritus, having completed 43 years teaching at the university level. His former position was as Director of Orchestras and Professor of Conducting and Violin at James Madison University. During Dr. McCashin’s final 24 years (at JMU), he served as the music director and conductor for the Symphony, Opera Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra, and Camerata Strings. In addition, he taught Graduate Applied Conducting, MM, and DMA academic courses for conductors and applied violin & viola. Dr. McCashin is a string educator and an active writer/arranger in the string education field. He maintained a busy conference presentation schedule throughout his career, making presentations on conducting technique, string pedagogy, and the math-science-physics & physiology of string playing. His works can be found through FJH Music Co. in Fort Lauderdale, FL, Tempo Press/Luck’s Music in Madison Heights, MI, and Wingert-Jones/JW Pepper in PA. He is the Founder and Past President of the International College Orchestra Directors Association.

Arrangements by Robert D. McCashin

Original Works by Robert D. McCashin

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New Music Friday: The Picnic: Watch Out for the B’s

This piece tells the story of a picnic being interrupted by pesky bees. As time goes on, more and more bees can be heard, and every section gets a turn. Listen for the sounds of the bees as they travel around the orchestra. Most of the “buzzes” include the musical note B in the dissonant cluster of notes. This piece gives your students a chance to tell a story with their music. Invite the students to engage in the drama, looking nervously around or occasionally swatting an imaginary bee in front of their faces. The orchestra creates the narrative of happy picnic-goers having their beautiful day interrupted by pesky bees.

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New Music Friday

New Music Friday: Renegade Showdown

In Renegade Showdown, the violins battle the low strings in an epic clash. Hear the twists and turns each side takes as they vie for the win. This piece was composed to teach students to understand regular vs. low first finger. Bass students will benefit from identifying sections that will work well in half position.

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New Music Friday

New Music Friday: Aurora’s March

Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s three masterpiece ballet scores, including Sleeping Beauty, are known for their timeless music. Only three years before the composer’s death, the ballet was first performed in 1890. The storyline for the Sleeping Beauty ballet was inspired by the Brothers Grimm adaptation of the folk tale first published in 1330. This arrangement for string orchestra captures the enduring melodies and great depth of Tchaikovsky’s geniu. Because much of Tchaikovsky’s style is not written with articulations, students will need assistance with the bow stroke in order to perform this incredible piece. This march, which follows the overture in the ballet, was renamed Aurora’s March for this arrangement.

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