Archive for the 'Teacher Resources' Category



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’

How to Improve Music Memorization Skills

By Carolyn Walter

Memorizing music can be a daunting task for musicians of all stripes.  Unfortunately for many of us, repetition alone is not enough.  Simply playing a piece of music from a score over and over again only teaches you to play the piece extremely well. . .but with the aid of the written page.  The key to “getting off of the page” is identifying what kind of musical learner you are, and which strategies will be most effective for you as an individual.

#1 Prepare the piece for memorization
For technically challenging works, memorization will be much more difficult if you don’t have a firm grasp of the most difficult sections beforehand.  In a similar fashion, you should have a clear picture in mind of

Continue reading ‘How to Improve Music Memorization Skills’

Sharon Burch – Artist Interview

By Brendan Lai-Tong

We recently had the opportunity to interview Sharon Burch, music teacher, clinician and author of the Freddie the Frog series.

Sharon Burch - Freddie the Frog

Sharon is a National Board Certified Teacher in Music, 
holds a Bachelor of Music Education Degree from Truman University in
 Kirksville, Missouri and a Masters’ Degree as a Professional Educator from
 Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa. In addition, she also holds a certification in 
piano instruction from the International Piano Teaching Foundation developed 
by Dr. Robert Pace. She has served as a vocal and piano instructor, taught preschool through 8th grade general music and directed junior high
and high school choirs. Sharon currently specializes in K-3 music.

Sharon found that the use of games, storytelling and puppetry in teaching was a highly effective way to communicate the concepts of music to her students. As a result, the Freddie the Frog series became a reality in 1995.

Sharon authored Continue reading ‘Sharon Burch – Artist Interview’

How to Practice Efficiently

By Carolyn Walter

As with any artistic discipline, regular practice is essential to any musician’s mastery of their craft and growth as an artist.  While some may feel that practicing for hours and hours on end is the only route to improvement, the adage “quality over quantity” ought to be kept firmly in mind.  The following
list of strategies contains tips which can help musicians of any instrument, style and skill level practice “smarter” without necessarily practicing harder.

1. Organize your time.

Begin your practice session with a clear outline in mind of what needs to be accomplished.  Many choose to divide a practice session into sections, e.g. setting out to practice for one hour total and using Continue reading ‘How to Practice Efficiently’

How to Improve Your Vocal Range

By Jennifer Kay

In my many years of singing, I’ve realized that the topic of vocal range can be very tricky, but always worth discussing. A singer should invest in voice lessons if they want to improve; however, if lessons aren’t an option, there are a few tips that can help. I can’t guarantee you’ll be Continue reading ‘How to Improve Your Vocal Range’


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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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