top of page

Distance Duets

Violin over Sheet Music

I wrote these Distance Duets at the request of my awesome band director husband who was looking for material to use during distance learning. 

The idea is to let students make music, even "ensemble" based music, when live ensembles aren't really possible. They can record and play along with their own recording or share with a friend. 

Each duet gets progressively more advanced, so the set is meant to be used for teachers who teach a variety of levels. They range from grade 1 to grade 4. 

Have the students play them for playing sake, or use them to teach new skills. Each duet is in a different form and uses different rhythmic components and keys.

The Big IDEA

The Big IDEA method (Identify, Decide, Execute & Analyze) was designed by Katie O’Hara LaBrie, a Middle School Orchestra Director, and Tracy Magwire, a Middle School Band Director, with the goal of teaching their students how to practice efficiently and effectively; to get away from simple time based practice records and give students a path to becoming self-motivated, independent, life-long learners. 


We have designed quality based practice journals where the students set goals based on musical principles, use a variety of strategies that effectively help them meet those goals, assess their skills and analyze what to do next.  


Since implementing The Big IDEA into our classes we have seen an upswing in student practice, musical knowledge, rehearsal interaction, and performance. We hope that these resources will prove useful for you and your students!

Are you interested in sharing the Big IDEA with your colleagues? Request a clinic with Katie!

Sheet Music Over Piano

Creative Canon

As a cellist, I was always bored during Pachelbel's Canon in D.  As an educator, I found myself needing to differentiate in my ensembles, so very early on in my career I wrote Creative Canon. In this arrangement each student or group can make up their own version of the song. Each instrument is supplied with all of the important melodies from this famous tune (even the cellos and basses get to play the melody!) Some students might stick to the basic lines, where advanced students might jump to a more challenging line. 

In addition to the string parts, I have created a variety of back beats using iReal Pro that students can practice with in various tempi and styles to keep steady and inspire their creativity. 

Interviews & Podcasts

Distance Trios


As an extension to the distance duets I wrote a third part. This part is slightly more advanced and more independent that the original  duet parts. It follows the same educational model of each duet, but with an expanded range. 

You can use these trios as an individual recording project, small ensemble, or even a flex band or flex strings arrangement. Enjoy!

Blogs & Articles

Power Up! Visual Rhythms

      MakeMusic: October 18, 2022

Power Up! The LAWS of Tone and Dynamics

      MakeMusic: October 6, 2022

Power Up! Fingerboard Geography for the Intermediate and Advanced String Musician 

      MakeMusic: September 30, 2022

Practicing at Home: What's the Big I.D.E.A? 

      Alfred Music: April 7, 2020

Consider Context: Make the Invisible Visible

      Yamaha Music Educator's Suite: April 26, 2022

 The Orchestra Teacher PodcastEpisode 55


Pass the Baton Podcast  - Episode 41

5 Questions with Katie O'Hara LaBrie (Interviewed by Bob Phillips)

Violin Shop


bottom of page