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:
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:
Designed for younger elementary choirs, Sing and Celebrate! contains a variety of general and seasonal songs for use throughout the church year. Packed with lesson plans, teaching resources, and rehearsal planning ideas, this collection gives you all the tools necessary for building a successful, engaging choir program in one value-packed Book/CD! The enhanced StudioTrax CD features accompaniment and performance tracks, along with reproducible singers’ pages and colorful PDF song charts for projection options! Songs, both familiar and new, along with fun, creative teaching plans will nurture the musical and spiritual growth of your singers to last a lifetime. Suggested for grades K-4. Songs include: Sing and Celebrate (General), The Gifts He Offers to You (General), Trust In the Lord (General), We Thank You, God (General/Thanksgiving), A Home For Jesus (Advent), Go, Tell It On the Mountain (Christmas), Christmas Means Jesus (Christmas), Sing Hosanna! (Palm Sunday), Rejoice, It’s Easter Day! (Easter), We Celebrate This Day (Mother’s Day/Father’s Day). more “Featured Choral New Releases”…
Carol Matz is a well-known composer and arranger of piano music. With over 25 years of piano teaching experience, she currently serves as a Keyboard Editor for Alfred Music Publishing. Carol works from her home studio in South Florida and has a real passion forinspiring her students. We caught up with Carol recently and asked her a few questions about her writing.
Which of your publications means the most to you, and why?
I would say my Famous & Fun series is the closest to my heart. These are books of supplementary piano arrangements in different categories (such as Christmas, Classics, Pop, Duets, etc.) written in levels from Early Elementary to Intermediate. Now, I may be a writer, but I’m a teacher first. For years, when I looked for supplementary arrangements for my students, I was frustrated by the lack of consistent leveling within each book. So with Famous & Fun, I’ve gone to great lengths to ensure that all the arrangements fall consistently within each level, and that teachers can easily use them along with any method they might be teaching from. My own students really have fun with these books, and enjoy playing pieces they know, along with their regular studies.