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 more “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. more “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 more “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 more “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, wish to optimize this lifelong joy for our choristers, and ensure that the aging singer is a benefit to the ensemble, we need to offer tools that will optimize the singing voice as the body naturally and inevitably ages. more “Sing Better as You Age”

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 more “Improve Your Ear!”

10 Facts about the Oboe

By Zachariah Friesen

Oboe
Oboe

Fact 1: What’s an oboeOboe is a double reed instrument. A double reed consists of two flattened blades of bamboo that produce sound through the vibrations of one blade against the other.

Fact 2: A reed? A double reed!? Yes, actually serious oboe more “10 Facts about the Oboe”

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 theMusikhochschule Hannover, followed by further studying of composition in New York and New Orleans. He has dedicated himself to the editing of pedagogical piano material. His particular concern is to present music in an accessible way to reach a broad audience.

His newest contribution to the music world is The Classical Piano Method series.

The Classical Piano Method - By Hans-Gunter Heumann
The Classical Piano Method – By Hans-Gunter Heumann

It is geared towards helping people of all ages and levels to learn how to play piano, including those who are returning to piano after a hiatus. more “Artist Interview – Hans-Gunter Heumann (The Classical Piano Method)”

The Origin of the “New Symphony”

Hans Rott
Hans Rott

By Zachariah Friesen

Hans Rott was a prodigy. His new approach to the symphony was admired throughout Austria and was the subject of great discussion in musical circles in 1880. He was a Wagnerian composer, now considered the long lost link between fellow Austrian composers Anton Bruckner and Gustav Mahler. Likened to those Great Masters, Rott’s innovation and development of his themes as well as the orchestration and the propensity for heavy brass writing characterized his music. Themes of his Symphony No. 1 in E minor are nearly identical to that of Mahler’s “Titan” Symphony No. 1 that radically changed the concept of a symphony forever. It is believed more “The Origin of the “New Symphony””

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 more “Tips for Teaching Rhythmic Fundamentals to Music Students”