Spotlight on “Train Heading West and Other Outdoor Scenes”

"Train Heading West and Other Outdoor Scenes" by Timothy Broege

This week we are featuring Train Heading West and Other Outdoor Scenes by Timothy Broege, which was added to SmartMusic earlier this month. This is a grade one piece in three movements, suitable for elementary and middle school bands. It has a great “American” flavor, which for some listeners will bring to mind the music of Aaron Copland.

Click the play button below to hear a recording and click on the cover to follow along in the score. (Note that under the score Mr. Broege offers some background and performance tips.

Link to MP3 file “Train Heading West and Other Outdoor Scenes”:

Background from Composer Timothy Broege

“Begun in the mid-1970’s as a set of three sketches for beginning band, the present work was expanded, rescored, and revised in early 1997. Although the difficulty level is somewhat higher in the revised score, the work still represents an opportunity for entry-level bands to become engaged in the concept of programmatic-descriptive music in a setting that makes limited technical demands upon the players.

The expressive demands are considerable, however, and conductor and players will profit from careful study of the work’s language and its compositional procedures.”

Rehearsal Tips from the Composer

  1. Identify principal rhythms in each movement.
  2. Identify principal intervals (5th, minor 3rd) and their uses in each movement.
  3. Isolate and identify principal melodies; rehearse melodies without accompanying material.
  4. Rehearse rhythmic accompaniments without any melodic material.
  5. Discuss and rehearse legato style, “molto sostenuto” for 2nd movement.
  6. Discuss and rehearse “accelerando” for use in 3rd movement.
  7. Write and/or discuss poetic responses to the individual movements. Extend discussion by examining the concept of program music and listen to other musical examples. Read and discuss poems dealing with the outdoors, railroads, rain, etc.
  8. Experiment with extending the conclusion of the 3rd movement with additional “train sounds” made vocally by the band members (“choo-choo” effects, “whee!” sounds, etc.). Keep in mind that measure 43 can be greatly extended through repetition, always with the sound fading away into the distance.
  9. Enjoy!

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