Saturday, June 23, 2012

Johannes Brahms

Just set up a consolidated downloads page for Johannes Brahms works.  (Johannes Brahms was a German composer and pianist, and one of the leading musicians of the Romantic period.)

You can find them at .


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Woodwind Reed Care

Wanted to talk a moment about woodwind reeds.  That's the little bit of cane (very similar to bamboo) vibrating against your mouthpiece that causes the sound in your instrument.  If you look closely at the reed, you'll see it's essentially a mass of fibers and hollow tubes -- much like if you had tied a bundle of soda straws together.  These tubes run all the way from one end of the reed to the other.

The quality and consistency of your sound -- and the life of your reed -- can vary greatly depending on well you care for these fiber tubes.

The good news is that caring is fairly simple -- just think "moisture"!  You want to get the tubes wet and moist.  In particular, you want to get each entire tube moist from one end of the reed to the other end.

Sticking the reed in your mouth isn't going to do it -- since you're only adding moisture from one end of the reed, you're not going to get the even wet coverage you need.  So -- don't stick the reed in your mouth; place it in a cup of warm water instead.

Leave it totally immersed for a minute or two -- it doesn't take long for the tubes to wick the moisture along their length!  If you're preparing several reeds at once, just dunk them all at the same time.

Having a collection of ready reeds can help extend the life of each reed if you cycle through their rotation.  This means each reed will be stressed for a shorter length of playing time before it's cycled out.  Less stress on the reeds means the fibers won't break down as quickly.

So -- you've got a wet reed -- what do you do with it now?  Find out more next time!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Planets!

Wanted to drop you another quick note -- I forgot to mention last time that when I added those new choral pieces, I also added a copy of Gustav Holst's The Planets. This is one of my favorite pieces and was my first real introduction to 5/4 time.

I had actually run across 5/4 time before in Daphnis and Chloe, but thought of it more as a curiosity. When I first heard the Mars portion from The Planets, though, I was mesmerized! Holst used 5/4 time to create a relentless juggernaut -- a really interesting technique!

If you haven't heard it before and have a chance to pick up a recording, you'll likely be very entertained. Please enjoy the transcription at Free Sheet Music as well!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Music Competition

I received the following information recently and thought I'd pass it along. I don't know if this is a legitimate competition -- and would caution you be very wary should they ask for money or offer vanity publishing! But ... it might be an interesting opportunity!

Unsigned Only is a unique new international music competition designed for solo artists, bands, and singerswho are not signed to a major label record company or any of its affiliates, subsidiaries, or imprints.

Unsigned Only is not a songwriting competition; instead, it is a music competition with the goal of finding an outstanding, talented performer: a band, singer, or solo artist...a newcomer or veteran...raw or polished - the "gem" that needs to be discovered. Unsigned Only is looking for the total package.

To Enter, Click Here

Conceived of and produced by the same team who brings you the prestigious International Songwriting Competition (ISC), Unsigned Only is a brand new music competition and is completely separate and different from ISC. It is not part of the Unsigned Only category of ISC. Unsigned Only is a fresh and novel approach to other music competitions.

Yes, it offers great prizes, recognition, exposure, and the chance to be heard by a group of judges consisting of high-profile recording artists and industry professionals. But, Unsigned Only also takes it a step further and puts the Grand Prize winner in direct, personal contact with the influential record label executives who are the ultimate decision-makers. For the first time ever, a music competition offers the Grand Prize winner the unprecedented opportunity to be mentored by a group of record company presidents,A&R reps, and more. This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to directly network with the top echelon of record company professionals and get guidance, advice, feedback, and networking opportunities.

Categories include:
  • AAA (Adult Album Alternative
  • AC (Adult Contemporary)
  • Christian
  • Country
  • Folk/Singer-Songwriter
  • R&B/Hip-Hop
  • Rock
  • Pop/Top 40
  • Vocal Performance.

    Judging Criteria: originality, songwriting, vocals, performance, and overall likeability.

    All entries must be original music except for the Vocal Performance category which accepts original or cover songs. Judging criteria in the Vocal Performance category will be based solely on the quality of the vocals. So, if you're an artist and you don't write your own songs - or if you do write your own songs and want to show off your singing - this is the category for you.

    If anyone enters, I'd like to hear about your experience and will pass along any feedback you might have. Please post your comments below -- thanks!

    As always ... Until next time ... practice, practice, practice!
  • Monday, January 2, 2012

    Finally cleared up the holiday clutter away from the scanner. I've got loads and loads and loads of copyright-free sheet music waiting to be scanned and posted. Here are a couple of teasers ... two piano pieces: Oriental Dance by Roy Lamont Smith and Madrigaux (Madrigals) by Alberto Williams. Enjoy!