10 Facts about Mahler

By Zachariah Friesen

Mahler

As a young aspiring trombone player, exploring the world of Gustav Mahler, I listened to his 5th Symphony at least 20 times before I understood any of it. One night, after returning from an audition in Los Angeles, I listened to his 5th Symphony on repeat all the way back to San Francisco. At about 2am, and the 3rd repeat of the symphony I was finally able to wrap my head around it. The next hour listening to that symphony was truly one of the most enjoyable moments of my life. Here are some things that I’ve learned about Mahler that you may not have known: more “10 Facts about Mahler”

Artist Interview – Donn Bradley (Audition Tips for Singers)

By Brendan Lai-Tong

Donn Bradley
Donn Bradley

As many of you already know, the audition process for obtaining singing roles in opera, musicals and other shows can be quite challenging. Just like singing, auditioning is a skill, and it can take a few tries to get a grasp of how the process works.

Today we will be sharing singing and audition advice from Lyric Baritone and Character Tenor – Donn Bradley. Donn is a native of Santa Cruz, CA, and current resident of wherever the work is, USA. Donn is a versatile singer, with solid technique in Opera, Musical Theater, and several popular styles.

He has performed five major roles with Townsend Opera, and narrated five major works for the Modesto Symphony Orchestra including Façade by William Walton, and performed as Bass soloist for Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with VITA Academy in Sacramento (2008).

Previous major Opera/Operetta roles include: Ko-Ko in The Mikado (2012), Major General Stanley in Pirates of Penzance (2011), Njegus in The Merry Widow (2010), Monostatos in The Magic Flute (2009), Sir Joseph Porter in HMS Pinafore (2009), Dr. Falke in Die Fledermaus (2001), Papageno in The Magic Flute (1998), The Pirate King in Pirates of Penzance (1998), and Louis in The Wandering Scholar (1997).

Hi Donn, thanks for taking the time to interview with us.

What inspired you to start a career in music?

I have been able to sing my whole life, though my more “Artist Interview – Donn Bradley (Audition Tips for Singers)”

10 Tuba Facts

By Brendan Lai-Tong

Since its introduction into symphony orchestras in the mid-19th century, the tuba has gone largely unheralded as a vital member of the brass section. Its large collection of brass tubes creates a deep rich tone.

Tuba

Although it is the anchor of the orchestra’s brass section, most people know little about the instrument. Once you get to know a few facts about the history and use of the tuba you’ll find a new appreciation for the instrument, or at least you’ll be able to recite enough rare tuba facts to amaze a captive audience.

  1. The Tuba was invented by Willhelm Friedrich Wieprecht and Johann Gottfried Moritz in September 12, 1835.
  2. Tuba is a Latin word meaning trumpet or horn. more “10 Tuba Facts”

10 Interesting Facts About Flute

By Brendan Lai-Tong

Flute

When many people think of flutes, they think of a transverse flute, which is typically used in bands and orchestras. The flute has been a part of history for thousands of years and has evolved over that time into the instrument that is often seen today. Here are ten facts you may not have known about the flute:

  1. A musician who plays the flute can be referred to as a flute player, a flautist, a flutist, or, less commonly, a fluter.
  2. There are many different sizes of flutes within the flute family: piccolo, alto, tenor, bass and contrabass flute.
  3. Standard concert flute is more “10 Interesting Facts About Flute”

Music in Community – Paul Herrera

By Brendan Lai-Tong

Hi Sheet Music Plus Fans, welcome back to our Music in Community Series. As many of you already know, budgets for school music programs are very tight. As a result, music directors need to find creative ways to raise funds to provide their students with the musical education that they deserve.

When I was in band, the band parents organized several fundraising opportunities in order to raise the funding necessary to support the program. Bake sales, holiday gift wrapping drives, candy and even cheesecake sales were part of our regular yearly schedules. If there was an opportunity to raise funds, our band was on top of it.

If you didn’t already know, Sheet Music Plus has a great way for organizations to raise funds called Fundraising Plus. Organizations will receive a personalized URL to share that directs to our homepage. Any purchases that are made after clicking through this link will accrue 8% cash back. This is a great way to quickly raise funds for your educational endeavors. Find out more here.

Paul Herrera
Paul Herrera

Today, we’re featuring Paul Herrera, director of more “Music in Community – Paul Herrera”

10 Tips for Improving Sight Reading

By Stephie Stewart

How many times have you seen someone sit down and play music you know they’ve never seen before and play it beautifully? Doesn’t it make you wish you could do that too? Well, the good news is that you can, but it might take a little bit of work. The truth is, most people aren’t naturally great sight-readers. They work at it and they practice it. Sight-reading is more often a learned skill than a natural talent.

“All right,” you say, “so how do I learn to sight read?” A good place to start, would be to start working out of sight-reading method books such as the Four Star Sight Reading and Ear Tests series, Improve Your Sight-Reading! Series, and Creative Jazz Sight Reading.

Four Star Sight Reading and Ear Tests
Four Star Sight Reading and Ear Tests

Improve Your Sight-Reading!
Improve Your Sight-Reading!

Creative Jazz Sight Reading
Creative Jazz Sight Reading

That being said, method books aren’t always for everyone, especially if you aren’t starting at the very beginning of the process. Here are a few tips for anyone who wants to improve their sight-reading, regardless of playing level or experience.

1. Just do it!

As cliché as it might sound, the best thing you can do to improve your sight-reading is to practice sight-reading. Make it part of your regular practice schedule. Find some music that is a few levels below your current level, and just play through it. (Big anthologies are great for sight-reading – there’s a ton of music of varying levels in a single book.) Don’t worry about making it perfect – just concentrate on getting through it. Don’t allow yourself the luxury of working out the hard parts. Do start out a little under tempo if playing up to tempo seems too daunting. As you get more comfortable, slowly increase the level of difficulty of the music and the tempo.

2. Look before you leap

Before you actually begin to play, take a minute to look at what’s coming at you. Look at more “10 Tips for Improving Sight Reading”

Artist Interview – Mistheria

By Brendan Lai-Tong

Artist Interview – Giuseppe Iampieri (a.k.a Mistheria)

Welcome back to our Artist Interview series! We’re sure that you all can relate to how important it is to be a versatile musician. You never know what will be asked of you when on the job, and it will be to your advantage to be able to understand and play in many different styles of music. As you know, Classical, Jazz, Pop and Rock all have their respective performance practices. Today we are interviewing Giuseppe Iampieri (a.k.a Mistheria), a native of Italy who has had an incredibly diverse career. He has played piano and keytar professionally in many different styles and genres of music and this versatility has led him to have many exciting and varied experiences.  At the age of 6 Mistheria started studying music with Maestro Marco Aurelio Pisegna, a famous accordionist, composer and performer. By age 13 Mistheria was studying at the Music Conservatory “A. Casella” in Italy where he graduated with honors and distinction in 1995.

more “Artist Interview – Mistheria”

Become a Sheet Music Plus Power Searcher

By Charles Moehnke

With over 835,000 titles in the Sheet Music Plus catalog, it can occasionally be challenging to find the exact edition you want. During my years in customer service, however, I’ve developed a strategy for zeroing in quickly and effectively. By following these few strategies you can simplify your search experience and become a Sheet Music Plus Power Searcher, just like me!

To quote a fortune cookie I once received, “Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” That Confucius fellow was obviously way ahead of his time, because Power Searching is all about simplicity! I start every search on Sheet Music Plus by using our main search bar at the top of the page.

SMP Search 1

This search bar will search all fields and descriptions, and your results will be displayed based on the relevance the title has to your initial search. You can modify any set of search results to only show digital or print titles, and you may adjust the order of the listed items, sorting by price, top-selling order, alphabetically and release date–whatever best fits your needs.

To increase the more “Become a Sheet Music Plus Power Searcher”

Music in Community – Bea Ward

By Brendan Lai-Tong

Welcome back to our Music in Community series! For those of you who have just tuned in, this series focuses on the great things people are doing for their community through music. You can check out the other stories in the Music in Community series from teachers and musicians around the world here. Today we are featuring the Inwood Kids Community Orchestra (IKCO). The orchestra is based in New York and was started two years ago by Bea Ward. The ensemble provides playing opportunities for children in Manhattan.  Bea founded the orchestra to provide playing opportunities for her daughter and it has since successfully grown to include more children from the community. Many school and community groups require dues to be paid, making it difficult for some to join. The great thing about the IKCO is that they are FREE to join!   Bea’s story is quite similar to our first first Music in Community feature with Candace Love. You can read Bea’s story below:

My name is Bea Ward & I organized a free orchestra for kids in upper Manhattan. We are Inwood Kids Community Orchestra. I, personally can’t play any instruments or read music, but I am an incredible music appreciator & pretty good at organizing.

Inwood Kids Community Orchestra
Inwood Kids Community Orchestra

more “Music in Community – Bea Ward”

Kicking Kickstarter Up A Notch – Part 2

By Brendan Lai-Tong

Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra
Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra

In October we were the first to interview film director and cellist Ty Kim about his work with the Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra (PACO) and their Kickstarter campaign. For those of you who don’t know, Kickstarter.com is a unique way for individuals with great ideas to raise funding for their projects. Kickstarter.com enables artists to reach a world-wide audience and many successful projects have gotten off of the ground through thisinnovative crowd-sourcing tool. The aim of Ty’s project was to raise seed funding to produce a short documentary film that showcases PACO and howchamber music teaches young people to play well with others in an orchestra and in life. You can read more “Kicking Kickstarter Up A Notch – Part 2”