Archive for the 'Top 10 Tips & Facts' Category

Organ Fun Facts

By Jacy Burroughs

1. The concept of the organ dates back to an instrument called the hydraulis, invented in Ancient Greece in the 3rd Century BCE. A hydraulis was a mechanical instrument in which the wind pressure is regulated by water pressure. By the 7th Century AD, bellows replaced water pressure to supply the organ with wind.

Ancient Greek Hydraulis

Ancient Greek Hydraulis

Continue reading ‘Organ Fun Facts’

10 tips for staying in shape (on your instrument) over the summer

By Jacy Burroughs

 1. Practice in the morning. If you are on break from school, designate a time in the morning for practicing. That way, you can make sure you at least get some practicing in at the beginning of your day. We all know that if we wait to practice later in the day, we may end up making plans, going out, being too tired and making other excuses not to practice.

2. Set a goal. Whether you are a beginner, a high school student preparing for seating auditions or a college student getting ready for a fall recital, the list of goals you can set for yourself is endless! Maybe you want to get better at sight-reading, learn a new song, work through a particular etude book, memorize a piece – make a goal to achieve by the end of the summer. Set interim goals for yourself along the way so you can check in and make sure you’re on track. Continue reading ’10 tips for staying in shape (on your instrument) over the summer’

10 Fun Facts About the Saxophone

By Carolyn Walter

A relatively new-kid-on-the block as instruments go, the saxophone was invented less than 200 years ago! Here is a short sampling of facts about this versatile instrument:

1. While typically constructed of brass, the saxophone is actually a member of the woodwind family.  The sax earns this classification because of the way sound is produced: a player’s embouchure creates an airtight seal over the mouthpiece, vibrating a single reed in the manner of a clarinet.  Brass instruments, by contrast, are played by buzzing one’s lips on the rim of the mouthpiece.

2.  Despite the previous statement that saxes are usually made of brass, there are exceptions. Continue reading ’10 Fun Facts About the Saxophone’

Ten Interesting Cello Facts

By Jacy Burroughs

Cello_front_side

1. Cello comes from the Italian term violoncello, which actually means “little violone.” (No, I didn’t spell violin wrong.) The violone is the lowest-pitched instrument in the viol family, a group of stringed instruments that were used primarily before the eighteenth century. During the twentieth century, it became customary to abbreviate violoncello as “cello.”

2. The cello is actually part of the violin family, which came into prominent use in the eighteenth century. There are several differences between instruments in the viol family and violin family. Continue reading ‘Ten Interesting Cello Facts’

10 Need-to-Know Facts About the Clarinet

By Carolyn Walter

1. The clarinet has unique acoustics.

Among the canon of typical modern orchestral woodwinds, clarinets are the only reed instruments with cylindrical bores; meaning that the empty space inside the instrument remains the same diameter through the whole length of the tube.  Related reed instruments including saxophones, oboes, English horns and bassoons are all conical-bored; they are  narrow at the top end, widening out to a much larger bell opening.  The sound of a conical instrument, like a sax or bassoon is composed, of both odd and even harmonics, which is why normal fingerings overblow one octave higher for these instruments. As the clarinet is basically a cylindrical pipe closed on only one end (the mouthpiece as it is being played), the wavelength produced changes, and the even-numbered harmonics will not be present in the sound.  This means that lowest notes on your clarinet will overblow at the twelfth – a low E becomes a middle-register B natural when the register key is applied, etc.

2. Each register of the clarinet’s range has its own name.

Continue reading ’10 Need-to-Know Facts About the Clarinet’

Ten Facts You Should Know About the (French) Horn

By Jacy Burroughs

1.  Why is it called the French horn? There is some confusion over the correct name of this instrument.   Most non-English speaking countries do not use the nationalistic adjective. Even in France it is simply called cor.  In 1971, the International Horn Society recommended that “horn” be the recognized name for the instrument in the English language. Unfortunately, this hasn’t caught on, especially in the United States. From my experience as a horn player, the instrument is referred to as the French horn throughout primary and secondary education. It was not until college that I learned “horn” was the more accepted term among professionals. The “French” adjective is very misleading because the instrument isn’t even French, which leads me to my second fact.

Continue reading ‘Ten Facts You Should Know About the (French) Horn’

Ten Facts About Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach

by Jacy Burroughs

Bach_Carl_Philipp_Emanuel_(small)


1. Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach was the second surviving son of Johann Sebastian and Maria Barbara Bach (Sebastian’s first wife). This year we celebrate the 300th anniversary of his birth. He was born on March 8, 2014.

2. Emanuel never had any music teacher besides his father. There is no evidence that he studied any instrument other than keyboard.

3. Between 1731 and 1738, Emanuel studied law, first at the University of Leipzig and then at the University of Frankfurt an der Oder. At this time, law was a very typical subject of study for university students. Unlike today, the study of law was considered to be more of a general education than a vocational course of study. Sebastian Bach was determined to give all his sons the university education that he lacked to defend them against society’s prejudices that musicians were simple servants.

While enrolled in school at the University of Frankfurt an der Oder, Emanuel supported himself by teaching keyboard lessons, and composing for or directing public concerts and ceremonies. It was during his years at university that Emanuel’s compositional career accelerated. Continue reading ‘Ten Facts About Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach’

Top 10 Songs written by John Lennon

By Zachariah Friesen

John Lennon

John Lennon

Today is John Lennon’s Birthday. The founder of The Beatles would be 73 if he were still alive today. We salute him with 10 of our favorite John Lennon compositions and some fun facts along the way. Thank you for the music and the incredible influence you had and still have on millions of people.

  1. “Imagine” – Lennon best describes his composition as: “Anti-religious, anti-nationalistic, anti-conventional, anti-capitalistic, but Continue reading ‘Top 10 Songs written by John Lennon’

10 Performance Etiquette Tips For Musicians

By Zachariah Friesen

1. Dress Appropriately

Generally if you are on a stage and the audience is in a seat, their eye level view is of your shoes and socks. White sox or tennis shoes during a concert are a floggable offense to any conductor. It looks bad and distracts from the performance. Whatever the concert dress code is, follow it. If you can’t dress together how are you expected to play together? If you can’t follow rules, how can you follow music?

2. The Warm Up
It’s bad form to practice things you’re about to perform on stage right before the concert. And really, if you’re practicing it on stage 30 seconds before the concert starts your fate is already sealed. Practicing it on stage before the concert could give the audience the impression you aren’t prepared. And when Continue reading ’10 Performance Etiquette Tips For Musicians’

10 Facts about Clara Schumann

By Zachariah Friesen

Clara Schumann

Clara Schumann

  1. Clara Wieck was a child prodigy virtuoso pianist and composer in Leipzig in the early 1800s.
  2. Clara Wieck and Robert Schumann met at a concert Clara was playing a concert for a mental institute more specifically Colditz Castle. She was just 9 years old at the time and a decade later, they married.
  3. At the age of 13, she was one of the first to perform from memory, which is now standard practice for all pianists.
  4. In one of the greatest pairings of the greatest virtuosos, Niccolo Paganini agreed to play a concert with Clara while both were on tour in Paris. It was also the greatest pairing of virtuosos that no one heard, as thousands fled Paris because of a cholera outbreak. Continue reading ’10 Facts about Clara Schumann’

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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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