Archive for the 'General' Category



Ten Facts About Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach

Happy 302nd Birthday, C.P.E. Bach!

Take Note

by Jacy Burroughs

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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, 1714.

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…

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Learn How to Read Sheet Music: Rhythms

Rhythm is one of the most important elements of the musical language, arguably even more so than melody and harmony. Try this: without singing, clap the rhythm of “Happy Birthday.” I bet you could ask someone what you are clapping and they would be able to guess “Happy Birthday.” Now try singing “Happy Birthday” without rhythm. I don’t mean with the wrong rhythm; I mean completely without any duration or strong and weak beats. You can’t do it. That is why rhythm is so essential to the musical language.

Continue reading ‘Learn How to Read Sheet Music: Rhythms’

How to Read a Fake Book

Do you want to learn how to play hundreds of your favorite songs? Try Fake Books! They are compilations of hundreds of songs in lead sheet notation. Lead sheet notation provides the melody, lyrics and chords for each song. Learn more about Fake Books with this great resource, “How to Read a Fake Book.”

Save 20% on Fake Books at Sheet Music Plus through March 8, 2016.

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Source: How to Read a Fake Book

Sheet Music Plus Interviews Morty Manus, co-author of Alfred’s Basic Piano Library

by Jacy Burroughs

Piano teachers, have you ever wondered about the creative process that goes into developing a piano method? In September 2015, I had the privilege of interviewing Morty Manus, former president of Alfred Music Publishing and co-author of the popular piano method series Alfred’s Basic Piano Library. He and his wife, Iris, shared with me the story of how the popular piano method series Alfred’s Basic Piano Library was born.

I was deeply saddened to hear of Morty’s passing early in 2016. He was so charming and full of life just a few short months earlier. How lucky I was to have participated in this interview and, with the support of Alfred Music’s fine recording studio staff, publish these videos in honor of him. The interview is separated into thirteen chapters, each of which is summarized below.

In memoriam: Morty Manus (1926-2016)

Continue reading ‘Sheet Music Plus Interviews Morty Manus, co-author of Alfred’s Basic Piano Library’

10 Interesting Facts About Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Happy 260th Birthday, Mozart!

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Take Note

by Jacy Burroughs

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
(27 January 1756 – 5 December 1791)

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1. Mozart was baptized as Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart. (Imagine trying to learn to write that name!) His first two names, Johannes Chrysostomus, represent his saint’s name, following the tradition of the Catholic Church. This saint’s name was in all likelihood chosen because Mozart’s birthday, January 27th, was the feast day of Saint John Chrysostom. Wolfgangus, or Wolfgang in German, means

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Learn How to Read Sheet Music: Notes

Sheet music, the written form of music notes, may appear very complex to the untrained eye. While reading music is like learning a whole new language, it is actually much less complicated than you may think. This article will discuss how to read music notes. Check out our article “Learn How to Read Sheet Music: Rhythms” for information on music note values, time signatures, counting rhythm and more. Continue reading ‘Learn How to Read Sheet Music: Notes’

Learn How to Read Sheet Music: List of Basic Musical Symbols

Being sheet music enthusiasts, we wanted to provide some help to those music enthusiasts who are just learning how to play or have played by ear for years and would like to learn how to read sheet music notation. We’ve created this tutorial for you, starting with the basic listing of music symbols. Topics covered include the musical staff, clefs, position of notes on the staff, key signatures, time signatures, basic note lengths, and bar lines. A future article will include stylistic markings, like accents, dynamics and tempo markings. For a more in depth discussion on reading music notation, check out our blog posts “Learn How to Read Sheet Music: Notes” and “Learn How to Read Sheet Music: Rhythms“.

Continue reading ‘Learn How to Read Sheet Music: List of Basic Musical Symbols’

Teaching Pianists to Sight-Read Successfully.

This is a great article on learning how to sight-read from our friends at Alfred Music Publishing. Written with the pianist in mind, it does have implications for all instrumentalists. You can buy Alfred’s Premier Piano Course discussed here as well as many of your favorite piano method series.

 

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Victoria McArthur“He can sight-read anything perfectly without practicing.” “She was born with sight-reading talent.”

Have you overheard these comments? Do you believe either statement can be true? Are some students born with special gifts making sight-reading easier for them? Can students sight-read without practice?

The answer is no.  All pianists start at the same place, with the same tools. Sight-reading skills must be developed over time and with the right kind of practice.

Music research has also demonstrated that sight-reading is a learned skill, not an inborn talent (Lehmann & McArthur, 2002).

To learn to sight-read, the following must be present:

  • Some time each day to specifically practice sight-reading (not performance, which is a different process)
  • A reasonable practice environmentquiet, well-lit and without distractions, (ideally) using an 88-key acoustic or digital keyboard
  • Sight-reading music materials chosen for their systematic progression in difficulty and their motivating qualities

Sight Reading 1A“Sight-reading is…

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10 Facts About Franz Joseph Haydn

Haydn isn’t always the most celebrated composer. He’s often overshadowed by his Classical era counterparts, Mozart and Beethoven. However, he was an interesting guy and had a great sense of humor. Here are some fun facts, some of which are hopefully new to you.

Take Note

By Zachariah Friesen

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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

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10 Facts about Mahler

This year we celebrate the 155th anniversary of Mahler’s birth.

Take Note

By Zachariah Friesen

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As a young aspiring trombone player, exploring the world of Gustav Mahler, I listened to his 5th Symphony at least 20 times before I understood any of it. One night, after returning from an audition in Los Angeles, I listened to his 5th Symphony on repeat all the way back to San Francisco. At about 2am, and the 3rd repeat of the symphony I was finally able to wrap my head around it. The next hour listening to that symphony was truly one of the most enjoyable moments of my life. Here are some things that I’ve learned about Mahler that you may not have known:

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