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Top Piano Methods

There are so many different piano methods that as a new student or piano teacher starting out, it can be hard to know which to choose.  We shed some light by providing a summary of each of our top ten selling piano method series.

1. Basic Piano Adventures

Basic_Piano_Adventures

Husband and wife team Randall and Nancy Faber have combined forces to develop piano methods and supplemental materials popular for all ages. Basic Piano Adventures progresses gradually and logically through middle C and multi-key approaches. One of the hallmarks of Piano Adventures is that students begin learning a limited set of notes in the middle C position, but play these notes with varied fingerings. This prevents students from associating a particular note with a particular finger. In addition to the Lesson book, each level includes Theory, Performance, Technique & Artistry, Popular Repertoire and Christmas books. The Piano Adventures series also includes My First Piano Adventures, Accelerated Piano Adventures and Adult Piano Adventures. To learn more, watch our interview with Randall Faber.

Continue reading ‘Top Piano Methods’

How to Read a Fake Book

By Kevin Harper

History of Fake Books and Lead Sheets

Imagine this: you’re a famous jazz player; you’re busy on the road going from gig to gig. One day you come up with a great tune and want to write it down and orchestrate it for your ensemble, but orchestration takes a long time. So instead, you write down the melody and then write out the general chords and any potential rhythms. When you read it during the gig (for the first time no doubt!) you and your bandmates have a general outline of what needs to happen – everything else is improvised. Because improvisations are different everytime, writing down the “correct” way of playing any tune in the old days was impossible.

As jazz grew in popularity, everyone wanted to hear all the popular songs, but the problem was that many of these tunes were hard to find or unpublished. Eventually, lead sheets were circulated from band to band and that became the standard way of notating tunes.

The original fake book, known as The Real Book, contained illegally reproduced, copyrighted songs. It was meant to be used as a textbook of standard jazz tunes. The publishers wanted to pawn off the tunes in the book as “real” versions of the songs. However, legal battles ensued, so any other future books had to have a different name. Thus, the term fake book was born from The Real Book. It also has a double-meaning in that the performer is “faking” his way through the song because the arrangement is not the same as the original version.

Continue reading ‘How to Read a Fake Book’

Digital Print Publishing: Interview with Arranger John Gibson

John Gibson - Digital Print Publisher, arranger, and clarinetist

John Gibson – Digital Print Publisher, arranger, and clarinetist

John Gibson was born in Dallas, Texas, where he began taking clarinet lessons with Oakley Pittman, director of bands at Southern Methodist University and principal clarinetist with the Dallas Symphony. After John and his family moved to Denver, Colorado, he studied with the retired principal clarinetist of the Denver Symphony, Val (Tiny) Henrich. He continued his studies with David Etheridge, Jerry Neil Smith, and John McGrosso at the University of Colorado, from where he received a degree in music education and a masters of music performance.  While in college, John discovered his interest in arranging, taking classes in that topic whenever possible. 

Although not always working in the music business, John never stopped playing. While clarinet has been his principal instrument, he also played oboe in orchestras for about eight years, as well as flute and saxophone in other venues.

John has been supplying woodwind players with interesting, well-crafted arrangements since 1998 and has arranged hundreds of pieces ranging from solos to duets to large woodwind ensembles, which have been performed all over the world and reviewed in international woodwind magazines. Continue reading ‘Digital Print Publishing: Interview with Arranger John Gibson’

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’

Digital Print Publishing: Interview with Composer Kate Agioritis

Katie Agioritis - Digital Print Publisher, composer, arranger and music educator

Katie Agioritis – Digital Print Publisher, composer, arranger and music educator

Kate Agioritis is an Australian composer, arranger and music educator. She primarily writes educational resources for use with her own students including various orchestral and band works, and her small ensemble arrangements have proven popular with student and adult performers worldwide.

Kate holds a Master of Music Education, as well as an AMusA in Saxophone and has most recently studied arranging through Berklee College of Music in Boston. She is currently the Head of the Creative Arts Faculty at Whitsunday Anglican School in Queensland.

Kate is the top earner in Sheet Music Plus’ Digital Print Publishing, with over 400 titles uploaded and nearly $10,000 in royalties since joining in late 2012.  In a recent interview with our very own Ryan Brown, she provides some helpful suggestions for composers and arrangers hoping to achieve success through self-publishing.

Continue reading ‘Digital Print Publishing: Interview with Composer Kate Agioritis’

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’

Announcing Our First Digital Print Publishing Contest

Did you know you can sell digital copies of your arrangements and original scores through Sheet Music Plus? Our Digital Print Publishing program allows you to upload PDFs and audio samples, input important marketing information, and set your own price (min. $1.99). Visitors can easily find your music using our advanced search engine, which receives over 3 million visits a year.  It’s quick, easy, and FREE!

 

Start uploading today and you’ll automatically be entered in our first Digital Print Publishing Contest, happening July 1-31, 2014, with three categories of winners:

1. Best-selling new upload ($300 award and promotional highlight).

2. Highest cumulative sales for new uploads ($100 award).

3. Editor’s pick for best new upload ($100 award).

Titles must be NEW UPLOADS, submitted after 9:00am PST, June 11, 2014. All titles must be submitted by June 22, 2014, 11:59pm PST, in order to be live by July 1. Titles uploaded after this time will not be included in the contest.

Sign in to Digital Print Publishing

Good luck!

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’

Musical Characteristics and Performance Practice of the Classical Period

By Jacy Burroughs

The Classical period of music had its advent in Italian music of the early eighteenth century and extended into the early nineteenth century. Some musicologists mark the end of the Classical period around 1815, at the end of Beethoven’s compositional middle period. However, the Classical period truly overlaps with both the Baroque and Romantic periods. Characteristics of and performance considerations for Classical period music are outlined below.

Continue reading ‘Musical Characteristics and Performance Practice of the Classical Period’

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’


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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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