Blogs

Christmas for the Musician in Your Life

clarinet-christmas

The holidays are rapidly approaching, and many of us have already started thinking about what to give the most important people in our life. If you’re like me, many of your closest friends are musicians, who can be difficult to shop for. Our experts have put together a list of items that put a smile on the face of musicians at any level.

 

casesA New Case

2015 DCI World Championships Highlights

In August 2015 the Drum Corps International World Championships in Indianapolis, Indiana came to an exciting conclusion, marking the end of this year's first segment of marching music festivities. Without a doubt, this competitive season of drum corps was one to remember. Constant shifts in placements, unexpected changes to productions, and other surprises kept fans guessing all summer long. Let's take a look at some highlights from the top four corps at this year's World Class Championships:

 

The Cadets – Allentown, PA | 4th Place: 95.900

Maintaining a strong lead early on, The Cadets presented what may have been the season’s most demanding show: “The Power of Ten.” Though the corps fell to 4th place during the last week of tour, the hornline earned its first Jim Ott brass award since 2005. Late in the season, new all-black uniforms were suddenly unveiled – a surprising break from what The Cadets have traditionally worn for decades.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eh-FyJpXR2E

 

Practice Competition Music – Whether You're Competitive or Not

Competitions-collage

Can you believe that the school year is already here? We can’t!

For many music students it’s never too early to begin thinking about what you would like to work on throughout the semester, your goals for the next few months, or even potential jury pieces. Often times professors will ask you to bring some ideas to initial lessons to help map out the semester’s plan of attack.

Searching through thousands of solo pieces can be a time-consuming and frustrating task. You may be asking yourself “ Where do I start!?” “How do I know which pieces I should be looking for?” “Which pieces would benefit me the most?” We suggest researching and looking into upcoming competitions and festivals for some standard rep lists. These will give you some ideas of the most important pieces and etudes for your instrument.

Getting Mentally & Physically Prepared for the New School Year

Now that the summer is coming to a close, parents, teachers and students alike are beginning to prepare a list of what will be needed to make the most out of the next school year. This time of year is perfect for beginning to set personal goals and getting mentally ready to make the most of your first few weeks back. We’ve included some tips and supplies to help get you ready for school-time awesomeness!

Prepping for the New School Year

practicing-horn
You’ve been enjoying your summer, but suddenly you realize “The new semester starts soon and I don’t have anything to play for my lessons. I haven’t practiced and now I can barely get through a scale before my embouchure is tired. What do I do?” While everyone needs a break from time to time, it can be difficult to get back in the musical groove after extended time away from your instrument. There are several things you can do to make the process less painful.

How To Prevent a Summer Meltdown

practicing-trumpet

Do you find yourself becoming bored in the practice room? Are you frustrated about putting the time in without getting the results you want? Do your chops end up feeling overworked at the end of every practice session? If you answered yes to any of these questions, we have a few practice pointers and tools to help you meet your practice goals.

Make the Most of Your Pre-Made Bassoon Reeds

Nothing is worse than the terror of a four bar bassoon solo in your wind band concert -- for the student or the director. Will the reed speak? What if you get the dreaded "sqwonk" instead of the beautiful melody written on the page? And what is with that low note being a good quarter step sharp? Many times, it is actually a poorly crafted pre-made reed that is the culprit of failures in your bassoon section.

Set Your Students Up For Success

Making the most of pre-made bassoon reeds for your students is one of the most important components in setting them up for success. However, as with anything related to double reed instruments, music directors often find themselves at a loss as to what separates good and bad. Thankfully, improving your pre-made reeds is actually much easier that it seems. There are four things your reed needs to do, in order of importance:

What to Consider When Buying a Flute?

urchasing a new flute can be an intimidating and time-consuming process. Still it’s a decision that needs to be made carefully. With all the options and features available from most flute manufacturers it’s easy to be overwhelmed, but simply comparing your priorities against your budget can help a lot. In this article, I’ll explain some of the most common options available.

Split E Mechanism

Many flautists find that the third octave E natural has a tendency to be unstable in comparison to the rest of the notes on the instrument, but the split E mechanism can help. This mechanism decreases the venting when the high E is being played by closing the G tonehole, allowing for a faster, more secure response. This option cannot be added after the instrument is made, so you should determine if it’s something you want before you purchase a new flute.

5 Tips to Ease Your Finale Music Notation Frustration

Finale music notation tips

So you're curious about doing your own arrangements, but the thought of learning to use music notation software stops you in your tracks? While it may seem overwhelming at first, music notation software can be an invaluable resource for the composer or arranger. Below I've compiled a few tips that will help you use Finale music notation software with a little less frustration.

5 Essential Tips for Choosing the Right Trumpet

Whether you're simply looking for a new trumpet for the first time or need to upgrade to a better instrument, choosing the right trumpet for you can be a daunting task. With over twenty reputable trumpet brands and makers around the globe, choosing a trumpet based on name alone is clearly not a good idea. And, unless you can attend a large event like the ITG conferences and National Trumpet Competition, trying instruments from so many makers is difficult. Since most shoppers aren't able to attend these events, here are some tips on how to effectively choose a new trumpet:

1) Try before you buy

Taking the time to stop by a local music store such as Louisville Music Company will save you the potential headache of having to send a horn back if you end up not liking it. A knowledgeable staff will be able to help you make sure you get the right instrument by listening to your playing and make adjustments as needed.