Archive for the 'Artist Interviews' Category



Artist Interview – Phyllis Thomas – Interactive Now! series

By Brendan Lai-Tong

Phyllis Thomas

Phyllis Thomas

Today we had the opportunity to interview Phyllis Thomas, co-author of the Interactive Now! series published by Heritage Music Press.

Phyllis, born and raised in Colorado, has had an extensive career in music as a performer and music educator. She graduated with a M.M. degree from the University of North Texas with a major in vocal performance. Phyllis has sung in productions with the Dallas Opera, Fort Worth Opera and other regional opera companies. Her years of experience as an elementary music teacher in Texas is what eventually led her to co-author the Interactive Now! series with Debbie Anderson, music teacher friend and colleague.

Each volume of the Interactive Now! series, previously known as SMARTBoardNow, is Continue reading ‘Artist Interview – Phyllis Thomas – Interactive Now! series’

Artist Interview – John Kreitler (Christopher Kazoo and Bongo Boo)

By Brendan Lai-Tong

Today we will be looking at the Christopher Kazoo and Bongo Boo series by John Kreitler!

John Kreitler

John Kreitler

John Kreiter is a film & T.V. composer, songwriter, music producer & classical music composer residing in Los Angeles, CA. He holds a B.A. in Composition from Lewis and Clark College, Portland, OR where he studied violin, composition and conducting, before continuing his studies towards an MM in Composition from the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati.

Kreitler began his professional career composing film scores for Avco Films and for independent filmmakers in the Midwestern United States as well as scores and songs for commercials before moving to Los Angeles. His composing credits include the award-winning films “To Beat the Devil” (Avco Films) and “6344” (Butterfly Films); songs for Material Girls (MGM/Sony) numerous television films & documentaries; numerous daytime television series, including As the World Turns, Guiding Light, Another World, All My Children; the European series Riviera,and the NBC drama Passions. He has also contributed underscoring, songs and source music for numerous prime-time series such as Law and Order, Friends, Homicide, Melrose Place, 90210, Lois & Clark, Saturday Night Live, and many others. He has won ten EMMYs since 1991 and been awarded the prestigious BMI/TV Film Award ten times.

In addition to his busy composition schedule, Kreitler is Continue reading ‘Artist Interview – John Kreitler (Christopher Kazoo and Bongo Boo)’

Happy 15th Birthday Sheet Music Plus!

Today we’re celebrating Sheet Music Plus’ 15th birthday! First and foremost, we would like to thank all of the parents, teachers and musicians that have made the last 15 years exceptionally great.

We thought it would be fun to give everyone the inside scoop about Sheet Music Plus by interviewing the founder of the company, Nick Babchuck.

Nick Babchuck and Brendan Lai-Tong

Nick Babchuck and Brendan Lai-Tong

Nick was always fascinated with the way mail order business worked due to the fact that it was conceptually, statistically and mathematically intriguing. By the age of 15, he had already read an entire book on the subject! The mid to late 90’s marked the beginning of the dotcom boom. At this point in time, Amazon.com had been around for roughly a year. It was Amazon’s melding of mail order and online catalog which sparked the idea of creating Sheet Music Plus! In late 1996, the idea of starting Sheet Music Plus was beginning to  become a reality.

Many people don’t know this, but Continue reading ‘Happy 15th Birthday Sheet Music Plus!’

Kicking Kickstarter Up A Notch

By Brendan Lai-Tong

Crowd sourced funding seems to be all the rage recently! By turning to this method of fundraising, amazingly creative individuals are able to enlist the help of the community to make their dreams come true. Musicians, in particular, have been following suit in order to fund musical projects that wouldn’t have become a reality otherwise.

One example of this is film director and cellist Ty Kim. Ty is a Los Angeles-based filmmaker and award-winning television producer.  Some of his accolades include six Los Angeles area Emmys, the National Edward R. Murrow Award, nine Golden Mikes, and the Associated Press Award for California.

Director Ty Kim with childhood idol, Muhammad Ali

Director Ty Kim with childhood idol, Muhammad Ali

Ty has played the cello since the age of four and was a student of Francesca Church.  At Stanford University, Ty continued his cello studies with Stephen Harrison and later formed a piano forte trio with two fellow students that were coached by Andor Toth.  More recently, Ty played two Continue reading ‘Kicking Kickstarter Up A Notch’

Publish Your Compositions Easily With Digital Print Publishing

By Brendan Lai-Tong

Do you compose music? If so, we’re sure that you have considered the idea of selling your compositions. Deborah Keily Hanson, a member of the Music Teachers Association of California, recently signed up for Sheet Music Plus Digital Print Publishing and found out how easy it is to get one of her pieces listed on our site!

Deborah Keily Hanson

Deborah Keily Hanson

Deborah has a diverse musical background as an accomplished musician, teacher, and performer. She has performed solo recitals, accompanied soloists from the New York Philharmonic and the Metropolitan Opera, performed at the Ocho Rios International Jazz Festival in Jamaica, accompanied musical theater groups locally and with the Los Angeles Opera Musical Theater Company.

Her compositions Palawan and Sunrise at Yushan recently won 1st place in the 2012 MTAC composers competition. Palawan, along with some of Deborah’s other compositions, are available for purchase right now on our site.

We wanted to make it easy for composers to sell their compositions. All compositions are added directly into our searchable catalog online and composers earn 45% royalties right away. The best part is that it is absolutely FREE! Continue reading ‘Publish Your Compositions Easily With Digital Print Publishing’

Artist Interview – Brody McDonald “A Cappella Pop”

By Brendan Lai-Tong

A Cappella Pop - Brody McDonald

A Cappella Pop – Brody McDonald

Today we had the opportunity to interview Brody McDonald author of the wonderfully informative guide for choir: A Cappella Pop – A Contemporary Guide to A Cappella Singing. The book  provides insightful  information about forming your ensemble, music selection, rehearsal techniques, sound reinforcement, vocal percussion, and much more!

Brody received his Bachelor’s degree in Music Education at Bowling Green State University in Ohio and went on to complete his Master’s degree in choral conducting. While at BGSU, Brody was the president of the Men’s Chorus and Collegiate Chorale, had several roles in operas, played in the marching and pep bands, and went on two 6-week summer tours of the USA. He Continue reading ‘Artist Interview – Brody McDonald “A Cappella Pop”’

Dennis Alexander – Artist Interview

By Brendan Lai-Tong

Dennis Alexander

Today we had the opportunity to interview Professor Dennis Alexander, a prolific composer on staff at Alfred Music Publishing. In addition to his compositional duties at Alfred, Dennis is also an active soloist, accompanist, chamber musician and clinician.  Keep reading to learn more about Dennis and how he approaches his compositional process.

You may know his compositions from some of the books below:

What inspired you to start a career in music? 

 I grew up in Continue reading ‘Dennis Alexander – Artist Interview’

Sharon Burch – Artist Interview

By Brendan Lai-Tong

We recently had the opportunity to interview Sharon Burch, music teacher, clinician and author of the Freddie the Frog series.

Sharon Burch - Freddie the Frog

Sharon is a National Board Certified Teacher in Music, 
holds a Bachelor of Music Education Degree from Truman University in
 Kirksville, Missouri and a Masters’ Degree as a Professional Educator from
 Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa. In addition, she also holds a certification in 
piano instruction from the International Piano Teaching Foundation developed 
by Dr. Robert Pace. She has served as a vocal and piano instructor, taught preschool through 8th grade general music and directed junior high
and high school choirs. Sharon currently specializes in K-3 music.

Sharon found that the use of games, storytelling and puppetry in teaching was a highly effective way to communicate the concepts of music to her students. As a result, the Freddie the Frog series became a reality in 1995.

Sharon authored Continue reading ‘Sharon Burch – Artist Interview’

Mario Guarneri – Artist Interview

Mario Guarneri

Mario Guarneri

By Brendan Lai-Tong

We recently had the opportunity to interview Mario Guarneri, an active performer and teacher in the San Francisco Bay Area. Mario has had an impressive variety of musical experiences throughout his career as a trumpet player and as a result he is familiar with many different circles of the music community.

Mario’s career has encompassed everything from playing with Louis Armstrong at the age of 13 to fifteen seasons with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He has recorded solo albums on the Crystal and Nonesuch labels, played principal trumpet with the L.A. Chamber Orchestra for ten seasons, and appeared on over 300 T.V. and motion picture soundtracks, most notably as soloist on Godfather III. In addition, he has performed with a diverse list of creative musicians including Earl “Fatha” Hines, Frank Zappa, Sarah Vaughn, Cleo Lane, and Roger Kellaway.

Since his return to the Bay Area, where he was born and raised, he Continue reading ‘Mario Guarneri – Artist Interview’

Composer Spotlight: Carol Matz

Photo: Carol Matz

Carol Matz

By Nicole Elliot

Carol Matz is a well-known composer and arranger of piano music. With over 25 years of piano teaching experience, she currently serves as a Keyboard Editor for Alfred Music Publishing. Carol works from her home studio in South Florida and has a real passion for Continue reading ‘Composer Spotlight: Carol Matz’


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Thought-provoking articles by musicians for musicians, music lovers or those that want to learn more about it!

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