Repertoire Spotlight: Middle School Orchestra

Repertoire Spotlight: Middle School Orchestra

This month 22 ensemble titles were added to the SmartMusic Repertoire Library. In addition to  new pieces for concert band we’ve added a dozen pieces for middle school string orchestra. 

Among the new orchestra titles is “Not Enough Cowbell (Cha Cha),” by Lynne Latham and Clarence Barber. First published in 2016, this piece is already very popular, in part due to its light-hearted spirit and infectious cha-cha-cha feel.

Follow this link to listen to the fun at Stanton’s Listening Library.

Are you considering playing Not Enough Cowbell? If so, here are some tips for what to listen to and work on in the piece.


Check out the transitions between arco and pizzicato. These will likely be an area of concentration.

Specifically, students need to make the transition from bow hold to pizz early during the rests. They can’t wait until they see the word pizz, or it will be too late. One helpful strategy is to write the words pizz and arco over the rest, before the note, so the students know to make the transition as quickly as they can.  

Violin and viola students shouldn’t get out of the bow hold. Instead, they should turn the palm of the hand slightly towards themselves while they use their index finger to pluck the strings.

Cellists should quickly release the thumb and wrap their fingers around the bow to bring it to the palm of the hand. Then they can use the thumb to anchor against the fingerboard and pluck with their index finger.

Bassists should practice going from measure 12 to 13 repeatedly. They need to keep their bow hold intact, as they will be plucking the G with the left hand.


Students will also want to focus on counting rhythm patterns. Subdivision of the beat is more important with rests than many students realize. It’s often helpful to reiterate that they must continue subdividing the beat even when they are not playing.

A complete list of all the added titles appears below.

Title Comp/Arr Publisher Music Type Pepper Level
Amazing Grace Traditional; O’Loughlin, Sean Carl Fischer Concert Band E
Carpathian Castle Story, Michael Alfred Concert Band VE
Fall of Empires, The Lee, Robert L. Carl Fischer Concert Band B
Machu Picchu Loest, Timothy FJH Music Company Concert Band B
Meet and Greet MacDonald’s Band Sebesky, Gerald LudwigMasters Concert Band VE
Moon Song and Tribal Dance Chambers, Carol Brittin Carl Fischer Concert Band VE
Noble Procession Chambers, Carol Brittin Carl Fischer Concert Band VE
Olympians Foster, Robert E. LudwigMasters Concert Band VE
One Giant Leap Morales, Erik FJH Music Company Concert Band ME
Seven Hills Overture Fannin, John Alfred Concert Band M
Adamant Clark, Larry Carl Fischer String Orchestra VE
Ancient Legends Fagan, Gary Highland/Etling Publishing String Orchestra ME
Ethos Clark, Larry Carl Fischer String Orchestra VE
Explorers, The Sharp, Keith Belwin String Orchestra ME
Fingerboard Frolic Compello, Joseph Carl Fischer String Orchestra VE
Irish Farewell, An (Sheebeg and Sheemore) O’Carolan, Turlough; Monday, Deborah Baker Highland/Etling Publishing String Orchestra E
Lucky Seven Turner, Matt Carl Fischer String Orchestra M
Miller’s Fiddler, The Gazda, Doris Carl Fischer String Orchestra E
Not Enough Cowbell (Cha Cha) Latham, Lynne; Barber, Clarence E. LudwigMasters String Orchestra VE
Old Rocking Chair, The Woolstenhulme, Jeremy Kjos String Orchestra ME
Sinfonia Song Mosier, Kirt N. Wingert-Jones String Orchestra E
Suo Gan Traditional; Clark, Larry Carl Fischer String Orchestra E

If you have a suggestion of repertoire you’d like included in future versions of SmartMusic, please let us know

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