By Catherine Hua
The Royal Theater in Turin
The Baroque period, which took place between approximately 1600 and 1750, contrasted with the restraint and rationality of the Renaissance. It is unsurprising that the art and music of that era, most of which were commissioned by the Catholic Church and by royalty, were marked by their emotional intensity, grandiosity, and ornate beauty.
The piano’s predecessor, the Continue reading ‘Introduction to the Baroque Period’
By Zachariah Friesen
Behold, the school year approaches! If you haven’t already picked your music here are some suggestions that should help you find the right mixes of challenging and fun music, as well as old and new music, to fill out your concert programs for the upcoming school year and strengthen your library. To help guide you through the suggestions, publisher names are in parenthesis and the “(y)“ signifies titles appropriate for young bands.
An American Elegy – Frank Ticheli
Michael Colgrass – Winds of Nagual
Michael Daugherty – Lost Vegas
Astor Piazolla – Oblivion
Persichetti – Symphony for Band
Hunsberger – Tocatta & Fugue in D Minor
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Onward with The Ultimate Guide to Concert Band Repertoire 1.0!
Here are our recommendations of composers/arrangers you should know. All of the recommendations below present a wide range of material that is very suitable for any band:
Frank Ticheli (Manhattan Beach Music) Frank Ticheli has been at the top of his game for a long time now. There’s always a good story behind his pieces and playing his music is just really fun. SMP recommends: Continue reading ‘The Ultimate Guide to Concert Band Repertoire 1.0′
By Judy Pringle
You and your choir have worked tirelessly on uniform vowel formation, well-tuned singing, focusing the tone, singing correct notes, beautiful phrase lines. You’re feeling good. But step back and give a listen and you’ll often find there isn’t a consonant to be heard. It is our task as singers to articulate so the listeners can share in the delicious words and message.
We want clear, well-defined consonants in our singing and it’s a challenge to achieve. When our listeners know the text as in a well-known hymn or carol, we are understood because the context is known. This is far from the case when the text is unknown.
The topic of consonants is Continue reading ‘Singing With Clarity’
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’
By Brendan Lai-Tong
Here are some interesting facts about the violin that you may not have known:
- The modern violin has been around for roughly 500 years. It was said to have been designed in the 1500′s by Andrea Amati.
- Playing the violin burns approximately 170 calories per hour. Forget about your workout and start practicing harder!
- Violins are typically comprised Continue reading ’10 Interesting Facts About the Violin’
By Judy Pringle
Sing Better As You Age
A music retailer is asked every day for assistance with repertoire. It can be both challenging and amusing. For example: I need a thrilling SATB anthem for Easter Sunday with brass accompaniment, and the sopranos can’t sing above an ‘e.’ Can you make a suggestion?
We smile at this request, but it can be a reality for a choral director. Those of us who conduct adult church and community choirs deal with the aging voice constantly. It is a fact that with age, our singing mechanism does not improve. Yet, it is my experience that senior singers are some of the most devoted choristers, and the joy of singing is integral to their lives.
If we, as directors, Continue reading ‘Sing Better as You Age’
By Zachariah Friesen
1. Franz Joseph Haydn was an Austrian born composer who spent his life as a court musician somewhat secluded from the rest of the musical world, but nonetheless was one of the most celebrated composers of his time and is equally revered today.
2. That other Haydn, Michael Haydn also a prolific composer, was indeed related to Franz Joseph Haydn. They were brothers.
3. Haydn was famous for his pranks. While Continue reading ’10 Facts About Franz Joseph Haydn’
By Carolyn Walter
You may find it strange to see a sheet music-related blog advocating playing music by ear. However, many experienced musicians – including those in our office – would agree that musical proficiency isn’t some stark dichotomy, with “good readers” in one camp entirely separate from people who “just play by ear.” To become a complete, balanced musician, and fully enjoy all that the art form has to offer, a performer must possess sound aural skills right along with a high level of musical literacy.
Like a lot of things, playing by ear comes most naturally when a young musician is introduced to the concept from the very beginning. For those lucky enough to be starting off on their musical journey, many beginning method books now feature added emphasis on playing by ear and improvising. The ever-popular Alfred’s Basic Piano Library series includes a corresponding set of books focusing solely on ear training:
Alfred’s Basic Piano Library – Ear Training Book
As for those of us who have been playing for many years without Continue reading ‘Improve Your Ear!’