Archive for September, 2012

A Few Favorite Tools for Studying Jazz Improvisation

By Carolyn Walter

Like many musicians, I consider myself to be a lifelong student of jazz improvisation. Every goal I reach leads me to brand new challenges; most of us could spend a lifetime just on sheer technical mastery of our instrument, let alone the pursuit of a truly original, authentic improvisational voice. That said, I feel lucky to live in such an information-rich an age, with such a wealth of practice tools and educational resources so easily available.

A perfect example would be obtaining a copy of The Real Book, which used to be a bit of a fly-by-night affair due to copyright restrictions, has been made easy these days: this ubiquitous collection of “standards” and other very commonly played jazz tunes is now published legally by Hal Leonard.  Their edition contains almost all of the songs contained in the original bootleg volumes, and has the advantage of being far more accurate and legible than its predecessor.  As it happens, this music school and jam-session staple is on sale at Sheet Music Plus for a few more days (along with lots of other useful fakebooks), so there’s no need to sneak around any longer!

The Real Book

First and foremost, Continue reading ‘A Few Favorite Tools for Studying Jazz Improvisation’

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”’

Music in Community – Voice Studio Sommer Garner

By Brendan Lai-Tong

Welcome back to the Music in Community Series! For those of you who just started following along, this series focuses on music teachers and groups  who are doing great things for their community.  If you haven’t already done so, please read our previous entries where we featured Candace Love, a music teacher who started a FREE music school, and the KICS and Appachianote Bands from Egypt and Italy.

Today we are featuring an outstanding voice teacher; Sommer Garner. Her wonderful group of students went above and beyond what was asked of them; putting forth a tremendous effort to help their community and those in need. Sommer and her students continue to strive for perfection as you will see in her story below.

Sommer and Student

Sommer Garner with a student 

I am always looking for new opportunities to give my students a chance to perform in public. I believe that the more they get out there in front of people, and the more they can experience different venues and audiences, the more comfortable they will become in their performances, and the more they will grow as artists. As they are doing this, they are also learning how much they have to give by sharing their talents, and how much of an impact they can make by doing so. Continue reading ‘Music in Community – Voice Studio Sommer Garner’

Tips for Woodwind Doublers

By Carolyn Walter
Woodwind “doubling,” or performing on multiple members of the single reed, flute or double reed family, is a fairly common practice.  From an arranger’s standpoint, utilizing players who can double on multiple woodwinds vastly expands the available stylistic and timbral palette available, especially when there can only be a finite number of players in an ensemble.  It may seem a bit unfair, but doubling is even expected in certain musical subcultures.  For example, a member of the sax section in a jazz big band is often expected to pick up a clarinet or flute for portions of a number. In some cases they may be asked to cover a whole song on the alternate instrument.  When a woodwind specialist works in a musical theater pit orchestra situation, their music will sometimes call for the use of not only clarinets, flutes and saxes but oboe, english horn or bassoon as well. If an artist is already skilled at one woodwind, it is often the case that Continue reading ‘Tips for Woodwind Doublers’


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