Posts Tagged 'music education'

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everyone wanted to hear all the popular songs, but the problem was that many of these tunes were hard to find or unpublished.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’

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’

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’

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’

A Brief Guide to Baroque Performance Practice

By Jacy Burroughs

The Baroque period is defined as the advent of opera to the death of Bach, which was roughly 1600-1750. Each period of classical music is characterized by its own styles, techniques, and musical characteristics. While most people do not have the option to play on historically accurate instruments, it is still important to work toward historically informed performance by studying the musical style of that time. Several important characteristics of Baroque music are outlined below.

Continue reading ‘A Brief Guide to Baroque Performance Practice’

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’

Sheet Music Plus – Randall Faber Interview (Faber Piano Adventures)

PIANO ADVENTURES – RANDALL AND NANCY FABER INTERVIEW

 

Hi again, Sheet Music Plus fans! We just wanted to give you a heads up that about our Faber Piano Adventures series sale.

Save 20% off of the entire series, including the Faber Studio Collection that is mentioned in this interview.

Sheet Music Plus attended the Music Teacher’s Association of California Convention this year. After his keynote address and masterclass, we had the opportunity to interview Randall Faber, co-author of the Faber Piano Adventures Series. In the video, Randall provides his expert advice to teachers and answers some questions sent in from members of our Easy Rebates Program for Music Teachers. Please enjoy, you can read a transcript of the interview below:

Continue reading ‘Sheet Music Plus – Randall Faber Interview (Faber Piano Adventures)’


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