Posts Tagged 'music education'



10 Performance Etiquette Tips For Musicians

By Zachariah Friesen

1. Dress Appropriately

Generally if you are on a stage and the audience is in a seat, their eye level view is of your shoes and socks. White sox or tennis shoes during a concert are a floggable offense to any conductor. It looks bad and distracts from the performance. Whatever the concert dress code is, follow it. If you can’t dress together how are you expected to play together? If you can’t follow rules, how can you follow music?

2. The Warm Up
It’s bad form to practice things you’re about to perform on stage right before the concert. And really, if you’re practicing it on stage 30 seconds before the concert starts your fate is already sealed. Practicing it on stage before the concert could give the audience the impression you aren’t prepared. And when Continue reading ’10 Performance Etiquette Tips For Musicians’

10 Facts about Clara Schumann

By Zachariah Friesen

Clara Schumann

Clara Schumann

  1. Clara Wieck was a child prodigy virtuoso pianist and composer in Leipzig in the early 1800s.
  2. Clara Wieck and Robert Schumann met at a concert Clara was playing a concert for a mental institute more specifically Colditz Castle. She was just 9 years old at the time and a decade later, they married.
  3. At the age of 13, she was one of the first to perform from memory, which is now standard practice for all pianists.
  4. In one of the greatest pairings of the greatest virtuosos, Niccolo Paganini agreed to play a concert with Clara while both were on tour in Paris. It was also the greatest pairing of virtuosos that no one heard, as thousands fled Paris because of a cholera outbreak. Continue reading ’10 Facts about Clara Schumann’

Learning to Play Guitar

By Ryan Jobes

Learning to play guitar can be quite the undertaking, but luckily here at Sheet Music Plus we have some books that can get you pointed in the right direction. Though many guitar players start by attempting self-taught method, beginners can get much faster and quality results by relying on the experience of others. Whether you want to play, rock, classical, or jazz there are a few essential things your going to need to get started.

First of all you are going to need a guitar:

366px-GuitareClassique5

Make sure that you choose a guitar that is appropriate for the style of music that you want to learn to play. Hendrix is not going to have the same punch on a nylon string classical guitar, as it will on an electric. Spend some time doing some research before making a purchase.

Make sure that Continue reading ‘Learning to Play Guitar’

10 Interesting Facts About the Violin

By Brendan Lai-Tong

Sheet Music Plus Violin

Here are some interesting facts about the violin that you may not have known:

  1. The modern violin has been around for roughly 500 years. It was said to have been designed in the 1500’s by Andrea Amati.
  2. Playing the violin burns approximately 170 calories per hour. Forget about your workout and start practicing harder!
  3. Violins are typically comprised Continue reading ’10 Interesting Facts About the Violin’

Sing Better as You Age

By Judy Pringle

Sing Better As You Age

Sing Better As You Age

A music retailer is asked every day for assistance with repertoire.  It can be both challenging and amusing.  For example:  I need a thrilling SATB anthem for Easter Sunday with brass accompaniment, and the sopranos can’t sing above an ‘e.’ Can you make a suggestion? 

We smile at this request, but it can be a reality for a choral director.  Those of us who conduct adult church and community choirs deal with the aging voice constantly.  It is a fact that with age, our singing mechanism does not improve.  Yet, it is my experience that senior singers are some of the most devoted choristers, and the joy of singing is integral to their lives.

If we, as directors, Continue reading ‘Sing Better as You Age’

10 Facts About Franz Joseph Haydn

By Zachariah Friesen

474px-Joseph_Haydn

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 Continue reading ’10 Facts About Franz Joseph Haydn’

Improve Your Ear!

By Carolyn Walter

You may find it strange to see a sheet music-related blog advocating playing music by ear. However, many experienced musicians – including those in our office – would agree that musical proficiency isn’t some stark dichotomy, with “good readers” in one camp entirely separate from people who “just play by ear.” To become a complete, balanced musician, and fully enjoy all that the art form has to offer, a performer must possess sound aural skills right along with a high level of musical literacy.

Start Simple:

Like a lot of things, playing by ear comes most naturally when a young musician is introduced to the concept from the very beginning.  For those lucky enough to be starting off on their musical journey, many beginning method books now feature added emphasis on playing by ear and improvising. The ever-popular Alfred’s Basic Piano Library series includes a corresponding set of books focusing solely on ear training:

Alfred's Basic Piano Library - Ear Training Book

Alfred’s Basic Piano Library – Ear Training Book

As for those of us who have been playing for many years without Continue reading ‘Improve Your Ear!’

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’

Ukulele – “The Jumping Flea”

By Brendan Lai-Tong

There is something about playing the ukulele that is innately fun and rewarding. If you didn’t already know, the sweet sound of this four stringed instrument has been around since the 1800s and originated in Hawaii. It is said that Portuguese immigrants who came to Hawaii brought an instrument with them known as the caviquinho. Much like the ukulele, it is a small and four stringed instrument. When the Hawaiians saw how rapidly and nimbly the strings of the caviquinho could be played, they gave it the nickname “ukulele“, which roughly translates to “jumping flea“. Eventually, this instrument evolved into what we know as the ukulele.

Lately there has been a huge resugence in the popularity of the ukulele.  The instrument is fun, portable and easy to dive into. It’s not hard to see why everyone wants to jump on board, especially considering how easy it looks when in the hands of a skilled professional like Jake Shimabukoro! Check out Jake’s amazing performance of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody  below to see him in action:

Continue reading ‘Ukulele – “The Jumping Flea”’


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