Archive for the 'Teacher Resources' Category



The Ultimate Guide to Concert Band Repertoire 1.0

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

An American Elegy – Frank Ticheli

Michael Colgrass - Winds of Nagual

Michael Colgrass – Winds of Nagual

Michael Daugherty - Lost Vegas

Michael Daugherty – Lost Vegas

Astor Piazolla - Oblivion

Astor Piazolla – Oblivion

Persichetti - Symphony for Band

Persichetti – Symphony for Band

Huntsberger - Tocatta & Fugue in D Minor

Hunsberger – Tocatta & Fugue in D Minor

If you didn’t already know, select concert band full sets and method books are currently on sale at Sheet Music Plus – 20% off. Shop the sale →

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:

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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’

Artist Interview – Hans-Gunter Heumann (The Classical Piano Method)

 Hans-Gunter Heumann

Hans-Gunter Heumann

By Brendan Lai-Tong

If you’re a music teacher, it’s likely that you are on the lookout for the something new to help teach your students more effectively. Whether this is new repertoire, etudes, or method books, it’s always nice to branch out to see what else is out there. You’ll never know when  something new will work really well for a particular student!

While we were at the Music Teachers National Association Convention in Anaheim, California we had the pleasure of meeting Hans-Günter Heumann. Many of you may know of his contributions to the piano repertoire. His original compositions, arrangements and educational methods for piano are enjoyed by pianists around the world, especially in Germany.

Hans-Günter studied at the Continue reading ‘Artist Interview – Hans-Gunter Heumann (The Classical Piano Method)’

More Teaching Resources – Interview With Michelle Sisler (Keys to Imagination)

By Brendan Lai-Tong

Michelle Sisler

Michelle Sisler

Music lessons should never be a dull or boring experience. There are many great method books and resources that teachers can use to make music lessons fun, interesting and engaging for students of all ages. We were on the lookout for some of these resources while at the Music Teacher’s National Association Convention in Anaheim, California.  Some great resources that stood out were teaching aids and games from Keys to Imagination. Michelle Sisler was running the Keys to Imagination booth right next to ours at the show!

Michelle’s uses of technology and creative teaching materials have gained her national recognition and a Continue reading ‘More Teaching Resources – Interview With Michelle Sisler (Keys to Imagination)’

Tips for Teaching Rhythmic Fundamentals to Music Students

By Carolyn Walter

I can scarcely think of anything more fundamental to musicianship than rhythm. With few exceptions, I find that a solid rhythmic foundation is truly the root of a good performance.  A piece played with otherwise flawless accuracy sounds sloppy or even falls completely apart without proper rhythmic control; never mind if the notes were pitch perfect, the dynamics were  masterful and the ornamentation was authentic. I feel this is true regardless of ensemble size, style or instrumentation.  A choir/orchestra with 100+ members needs to hold together with precision, as does a small ensemble with just a handful.  Even an unaccompanied soloist playing in a very free, rubato style must have a strong sense of pulse to deliver her musical message most effectively.

Like so many things in music, the basics of solid time and rhythmic notation and accurate interpretation can be explained in a few hours . . and perfected over the course of one’s entire life.   While the elementary process of counting correctly can be summarized in just a couple of pages in a basic theory or method book like the following:

Alfred's Essentials of Music Theory Standard of Excellence Edly's Music Theory for Practical People

I find that Continue reading ‘Tips for Teaching Rhythmic Fundamentals to Music Students’

Artist Interview – Phyllis Thomas – Interactive Now! series

By Brendan Lai-Tong

Phyllis Thomas

Phyllis Thomas

Today we had the opportunity to interview Phyllis Thomas, co-author of the Interactive Now! series published by Heritage Music Press.

Phyllis, born and raised in Colorado, has had an extensive career in music as a performer and music educator. She graduated with a M.M. degree from the University of North Texas with a major in vocal performance. Phyllis has sung in productions with the Dallas Opera, Fort Worth Opera and other regional opera companies. Her years of experience as an elementary music teacher in Texas is what eventually led her to co-author the Interactive Now! series with Debbie Anderson, music teacher friend and colleague.

Each volume of the Interactive Now! series, previously known as SMARTBoardNow, is Continue reading ‘Artist Interview – Phyllis Thomas – Interactive Now! series’

Artist Interview – John Kreitler (Christopher Kazoo and Bongo Boo)

By Brendan Lai-Tong

Today we will be looking at the Christopher Kazoo and Bongo Boo series by John Kreitler!

John Kreitler

John Kreitler

John Kreiter is a film & T.V. composer, songwriter, music producer & classical music composer residing in Los Angeles, CA. He holds a B.A. in Composition from Lewis and Clark College, Portland, OR where he studied violin, composition and conducting, before continuing his studies towards an MM in Composition from the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati.

Kreitler began his professional career composing film scores for Avco Films and for independent filmmakers in the Midwestern United States as well as scores and songs for commercials before moving to Los Angeles. His composing credits include the award-winning films “To Beat the Devil” (Avco Films) and “6344” (Butterfly Films); songs for Material Girls (MGM/Sony) numerous television films & documentaries; numerous daytime television series, including As the World Turns, Guiding Light, Another World, All My Children; the European series Riviera,and the NBC drama Passions. He has also contributed underscoring, songs and source music for numerous prime-time series such as Law and Order, Friends, Homicide, Melrose Place, 90210, Lois & Clark, Saturday Night Live, and many others. He has won ten EMMYs since 1991 and been awarded the prestigious BMI/TV Film Award ten times.

In addition to his busy composition schedule, Kreitler is Continue reading ‘Artist Interview – John Kreitler (Christopher Kazoo and Bongo Boo)’

Managing Musical Performance Anxiety

By Carolyn Walter

While speaking with a friend several years ago, I mentioned that like so many other people,  I wished I was never anxious while performing.  Insecure about my ability to do well at high-pressure performances and auditions, I yearned for a magic bullet that would make me supremely confident and impervious to self-doubt.  I will always remember my colleague’s response:  A dancer and classical bassist by trade, she shrugged her elegant shoulders and replied, “Yes, but I am always a little bit glad when I am nervous at a performance, because it means that I actually care.”

In that moment, I began to Continue reading ‘Managing Musical Performance Anxiety’

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”’

Dennis Alexander – Artist Interview

By Brendan Lai-Tong

Dennis Alexander

Today we had the opportunity to interview Professor Dennis Alexander, a prolific composer on staff at Alfred Music Publishing. In addition to his compositional duties at Alfred, Dennis is also an active soloist, accompanist, chamber musician and clinician.  Keep reading to learn more about Dennis and how he approaches his compositional process.

You may know his compositions from some of the books below:

What inspired you to start a career in music? 

 I grew up in Continue reading ‘Dennis Alexander – Artist Interview’


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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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