MakeMusic
SmartMusic Finale Garritan MusicXML

SmartMusic Gets Spooky



jack-o-lanterns-2048x2048-H

Certain times of the year hold appeal for students and it is always nice to find music that is fun and motivational for them to play but also has educational value. SmartMusic has thousands of pieces of repertoire. One collection that you and your students might find appealing, especially this time of year, is called Spooky Solos. The solos, with accompaniment, are for band and string instruments.

Spooky Solos graphic

To find Spooky Solos in SmartMusic:

  • Go to Find music, type the word “spooky” and click Search.
  • Select the instrument, select a title and click Open.

Find spooky

The collection will be downloaded to your computer. After that, you can then find the collection in My Library>Solos.

Spooky Solos contains 14 solos that are both fun to play and musically satisfying. The collection contains some well known repertoire as well as a few original compositions by some of our own MakeMusicians.

Here is a sampling of the included titles along with some of the musical highlights:

  • The Sorcerer’s Apprentice  (3/8, accidentals)
  • In the Hall of the Mountain King  (4/4, staccato, accents, accidentals)
  • Funeral March of a Marionette  (6/8, grace notes, accidentals, staccato, crescendo, decrescendo)
  • I’m So Happy I’m a Ghost  (4/4, 16th note rhythms, syncopation, Tango style)
  • Frankenstein’s Monster Goes Jogging  (4/4, chromatic scale)

Funeral March

The Spooky Solo collection is an exclusive SmartMusic virtual book and is not published in a hard copy format. Wouldn’t it be great if you could print out the solos? With Finale you can! These solos are included as notation files in Finale 2012 and Finale 2014.

To find the solos in Finale 2012 or Finale 2014:

  • Under the File menu select Open Worksheets & Repertoire.
  • Then choose Repertoire>Holiday Patriotic>Instrumental.

Finale

You will find instrument specific notation files plus the accompaniment file used in SmartMusic! In Finale, you can have some fun by changing the accompaniment instrument from piano to another instrument like harpsichord, which can provide even more of a spooky flavor. You can then export that file back into SmartMusic!

Spooky Solos are not only fun and motivational to play but can serve educational purposes as well. Maybe you could have an in class student recital featuring these solos. Wouldn’t that be a “treat”!

 

 

Piece of the Week: New Winter and Holiday Music 2014 part 2



New Winter and Holiday Music Part 2

Doesn’t it always seem like you’ve barely gotten done with back to school season and Halloween events when suddenly you’ve got to pick out pieces for your Winter holiday concert? Don’t worry because we here at SmartMusic have got your back. We’re always on the lookout for new arrangements of classic holiday tunes as well as brand new Winter-themed pieces, and on the blog this week we’re featuring some of our new holiday releases for 2014.

As always, we keep our Holiday list well-stocked. To search for holiday pieces in your SmartMusic browser, just go to Find Music, click on Advanced Search Options, and select “Holiday and Patriotic” from the Genre menu.

Trombones Under the Tree from C.L. Barnhouse Co.

This holiday medley includes several beloved carols all wrapped up in a jazzy package. What’s more, this arrangement features those unsung heroes of the jazz ensemble, the trombones. Trombones Under the Tree is a medium-easy arrangement that sounds great no matter how many trombones your section may include, and even works as a trombone solo with jazz band accompaniment. Includes the songs “Joy to the World,” “The First Noel,” and “Jingle Bells.”

Audio provided by C.L Barnhouse Co.

Bring Your Drums, Jeanette, Isabella from Alfred Music Publishing Co.

This piece, which is based on the traditional French carol “Bring a Torch, Jeannette, Isabella,” features the percussion section. It is appropriate for winter holiday concerts for students in their second year of band.

Audio provided by Alfred Music Publishing Co., Inc.

Got an idea for a blog post? Contact us!

If you are an educator, musician, composer or student with a suggestion for a “piece of the week” blog post, you can email your suggestion to Griffin at gwoodworth@makemusic.com. Please let me know the name of the piece, composer, publisher, and why this piece is special to you.

Teacher Tip: Students Select Concert Music



Ted Scalzo SMARTBoard

Music educators across the United States are using SmartMusic to engage their students in class and motivate them to practice at home. Here is Ted Scalzo’s (Bayshore H.S., Long Island, retired) story of how he asked his Wind Ensemble students to use SmartMusic to choose their concert music.

In October, I went through the SmartMusic library and selected every NYSSMA level VI in the catalog. Through the SmartMusic Gradebook, I sent the following listening assignment:

Dear Wind Ensemble member,

I am going to try something new this year and I need your help. In the attached list are 30 pieces of Wind Ensemble music that we could work on for our Spring NYSSMA evaluation. Since I believe in your skills, integrity, and ability to judge what is good music, I am going to allow you to choose the two pieces we will work on starting in January.

The SmartMusic assignment:

  • Listen to all 30 compositions.
  • Make notes for yourself.
  • Choose two contrasting works that you feel are great pieces of music that will show the strengths of our ensemble.
  • After listening to all 30 and choosing your top two, please write a paragraph or two about the work and why you think it is the right choice for our ensemble.
  • This is a long-term assignment that is not due until the last day of the first marking period. Please do not wait until the last day—30 pieces is a lot of music!

Good luck and I look forward to your ideas.
Musically yours,
Mr. S.

The Result:

  1. Students started talking about what they were listening to the day after the assignment went out.
  2. Students clearly had listened to all 30 pieces.
  3. Students did not choose the two shortest or easiest works in the catalog. Instead, they chose two of the most demanding, mature works.
  4. The essays about the works turned into a technical, emotional analysis of why we should play this or that work.
  5. Specifics about their parts and the other musicians were in each and every essay.
  6. No two students referred to the same music spots.
  7. We had so many different opinions we had to boil it down to a top five and then pick two.
  8. Attention to details has never been higher in my ensemble.

This assignment could be done many other ways—but not as easily. I now receive suggestions about music they would like to play every day. Did I mention that they were listening to great music recorded by great bands?!!

About the teacher:

Ted Scalzo is a music veteran educator who has taught at the high school and college levels. Throughout his career in the public schools, he has been an advocate of using technology to enhance and improve student and teacher instructional needs, and one of his greatest professional honors was being named an “Apple Distinguished Educator”. He currently is teaching at Hofstra University on Long Island, New York and also presents workshops on using technology in music classes. In his spare time, his creative energy is devoted to playing jazz trombone with several big bands on Long Island, and to photography.

Piece of the Week: New Winter and Holiday Music 2014 part 1



New Winter and Holiday Music Part 1

Doesn’t it always seem like you’ve barely gotten done with back to school season and Halloween events when suddenly you’ve got to pick out pieces for your Winter holiday concert? Don’t worry because we here at SmartMusic have got your back. We’re always on the lookout for new arrangements of classic holiday tunes as well as brand new Winter-themed pieces, and on the blog this week we’re featuring some of our new holiday releases for 2014.

As always, we keep our Holiday list well-stocked. To search for holiday pieces in your SmartMusic browser, just go to Find Music, click on Advanced Search Options, and select “Holiday and Patriotic” from the Genre menu.

Dream of Fireflies (On a Christmas Night), from Alfred Publishing Co.

“For the night is God’s cathedral” and the stars visit in “dreams of fireflies.” Look to the fabulous Trans-Siberian Orchestra show to add a bit of spice to your holiday concert. This piece will be greatly enhanced by adding a rhythm section and electric instruments, but sounds just as good with strings and percussion alone.

Audio provided by Alfred Music Publishing Co., Inc

Pachelbel’s Christmas from Hal Leonard Corp.

Pachelbel’s Christmas offers an unexpected twist on a well known piece, “Canon in D” by Johann Pachelbel. The canon progresses normally until the flutes and oboes enter with “Jolly Old St. Nicholas.” This is the first of eight Christmas carols that are heard throughout the arrangement. Pachelbel’s Christmas offers a chance for the players to develop their sense of dynamic balance as everyone will get at least one opportunity to play the melody for one of the carols. Feel free to make adjustments to the dynamic markings as needed so that the carol melodies are heard clearly above the canon.

Audio provided by Hal Leonard Corporation.

Got an idea for a blog post? Contact us!

If you are an educator, musician, composer or student with a suggestion for a “piece of the week” blog post, you can email your suggestion to Griffin at gwoodworth@makemusic.com. Please let me know the name of the piece, composer, publisher, and why this piece is special to you.

Feature Friday: How to Demonstrate SmartMusic to Parents



FeatureFriday_BlogHeader_Editable 2As a teacher, you know the importance of communicating with the parents of your students. Sharing with them your class goals, grading policies, and expectations helps everyone feel more comfortable and can alleviate possible misunderstandings throughout the year.

Teachers often ask how they can get more students to use SmartMusic for home practice. Many have found that one of the most powerful ways is to demonstrate SmartMusic to parents! Seeing SmartMusic in action makes it clear to everyone – even those parents who’ve never played an instrument – how SmartMusic can help every student. A demonstration like this can be more effective than communicating through a letter home or the students.

We have created a resource based on teacher suggestions that provides guidelines of how to demonstrate SmartMusic. Included are templates for communication to parents that you can edit for your own situation.

Click here to visit the main demonstration page where you can choose the following topics:

Only you as a professional can articulate all that SmartMusic is and how you will use it in your curriculum. Showing SmartMusic in person is a great way to share information, create excitement and build a sense of community!

For more resources on how to use SmartMusic in your curriculum, click here.

How have you successfully showed SmartMusic to parents? Click on the “Comments” link below to share.

Piece of the Week: The Rolling Stones



When the Rolling Stones began their careers as a scruffy English blues band playing gigs around London in 1962, none of them could have dreamed that the band would still be going strong fifty years later. The very idea of being a “rock star” was still a new concept in the early sixties, and most everyone at the time considered rock ‘n’ roll a flash-in-the-pan fad. Yet the music proved resilient, and The Rolling Stones went on to make some of the genres most enduring and best-known tunes, from 1965’s “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction” and 1969’s “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” to 1970s songs like “Brown Sugar” and “It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll (But I Like It),” on into the 1980s with “Start Me Up” and “Street Fighting Man.” The band is still touring and recording to this day, and their enduring brand of blues-based rock ‘n’ roll formed the foundation for much of the rock music that came after them.

The Rolling Stones’ popularity spans at least three generations, and you may be surprised by how well their classic songs work as concert band and string orchestra pieces. Alfred Publishing has licensed and arranged several pieces of music by The Rolling Stones, and we invite you to check them out in SmartMusic.

Click Here for a full biography of The Rolling Stones.

Composition Notes: “Paint It, Black”

Released in 1966 by The Rolling Stones, this legendary rock tune is credited to Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, reached number one in the United States and the U.K. in 1966, and is on the Billboard “Top 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.” Since its release, it has been performed by dozens of artists across the globe and has been featured in a wide variety of films and television programs.

Click here for more info on arranger Roland Barrett.

Audio Sample

Audio provided by Alfred Music Publishing Co., Inc.

Composition Notes: “Rolling Stones On Tour,” arr. Patrick Roszell

Celebrating their 50th anniversary, the legendary Rolling Stones are still going strong. This arrangement combines the dramatic “Paint It, Black,” the beautiful “Ruby Tuesday,” and the rocking “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.”

Click here for more info on arranger Patrick Roszell.

Audio Sample: String Orchestra medley

Audio provided by Alfred Music Publishing Co., Inc.

Audio Sample: Concert Band medley

Audio provided by Alfred Music Publishing Co., Inc.

Got an idea for a blog post? Contact us!

If you are an educator, musician, composer or student with a suggestion for a “piece of the week” blog post, you can email your suggestion to Griffin at gwoodworth@makemusic.com. Please let me know the name of the piece, composer, publisher, and why this piece is special to you.

New Method Released in SmartMusic



A new method book, Tradition of Excellence Book 3, has been released in SmartMusic.

New Method Released

Title Comp/Arr/Lyr Publisher Music Type Pepper Level
Tradition of Excellence Book 3 Pearson, Bruce & Nowlin, Ryan Kjos Band Method ME

 

This method is available for the following instruments:

Flute Bb Trumpet
Oboe F Horn
Bassoon Trombone
Bb Clarinet Baritone/Euphonium B.C.
Eb Alto Clarinet Baritone/Euphonium T.C.
Bb Bass Clarinet Tuba
Eb Alto Saxophone Electric Bass
Bb Tenor Saxophone Mallet Percussion
Eb Baritone Saxophone Percussion

 

You can request a piece for a future SmartMusic release here.

SmartMusic Feature Friday: Tips from Successful SmartMusic Teachers



Tips from successful teachers

This week’s Feature Friday brings you short video clips with tips from successful SmartMusic teachers as they share their insights during a panel discussion at the 2013 Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic. Each of these teachers shares tips that can help you use SmartMusic effectively with your students.  Just click on their link to watch.

Mark Corey – Director of Bands, Addison Trail High School, ILMEA State President Elect

Some of the topics discussed in this video:

 

  • Additional levels of assessment needed for students receiving honors credit in band
  • Using recordings for self-assessment
  • SmartMusic benefits for students that do not take private lessons
  • Using Finale to notate exercises/etudes, and sending as assignments in SmartMusic
  • Students acquire fluency in all 12 major and minor keys with help from SmartMusic
  • SmartMusic is used in the classroom every day for both rehearsal and assessment capabilities

Picture 1 

Link to video: Mark Corey Video (3:34)

 

Rachel Maxwell – Traughber J. H. S.

In only her second year using SmartMusic, Rachel’s 360-student program is now fully implemented. She talks about the implementation process and how it is improving her student’s music literacy. She also manages to throw a few jokes in along the way.

Some of the topics discussed in this video:

 

  • Piloting SmartMusic program in year 1, fully implementing in year 2
  • Wanting to improve music literacy, and guide practice outside the classroom
  • Teaching 360 students that have a wide range of ability and learning style
  • How SmartMusic helps beginners track music across the screen
  • Incorporating the subscription into the “band fee”
  • Mostly used as an interactive practice tool in students homes
  • Using SmartMusic assessment when students miss a concert for make-up work
  • Using daily rhythm sets, tuner, practice assignments in class
  • Preparing for tests with SmartMusic
  • Pulling students out of ensemble rehearsal when they need help to practice with SmartMusic
  • Getting one concert cycle ahead in difficulty of music during the first year of full implementation
  • Streamlining in-class testing with the loop feature
  • Having a rocking 6th grade fall concert 

Picture 2

Link to video: Rachel Maxwell (8:19)

 

Mike Holden – Highcrest Middle School

Although Mike technically is the “youngster” of the group, his use of SmartMusic in the past four years allows him to offer sage SmartMusic tips. Mike uses SmartMusic to give his students more exposure to pieces before they play as an ensemble, allowing him to work on more advanced musical concepts in rehearsal.

In this video, Mike covers:

 

  • Starting students in sectionals in 5th grade
  • Accompaniments as listening examples
  • Recording and self assessment capabilities
  • Avoiding the assessment tool for the first few months
  • Projecting on screen and asking students to point out musical markings
  • A parent night to show the benefit of using SmartMusic
  • First assignments are just “practice reports”
  • As the teacher, be the SmartMusic expert – there will be questions
  • Giving students a couple weeks to complete assignments
  • Have a few loaner microphones
  • Do SmartMusic “tips of the week” and “pieces of the week” with your students

Picture 3

Link to video: Mike Holden (5:37)

 

Marty Magnini – Cary Grove Community H.S.

Marty has been using accompaniment technology since the Vivace days, and has many great SmartMusic tips for educators of all experience levels. In this video, Marty talks about how all 160 of his high school students have SmartMusic at home.

Because of this, he is able to:

 

  • Incorporate SmartMusic in the registration fee
  • Test all scales every semester using the SmartMusic assessment score
  • Listen to every student on all other assignments
  • Make students achieve an 85-90 % on a piece before rehearsing as an ensemble
  • Difference between pieces prepared with SmartMusic to those without is night and day
  • Export excel files and do a mail merge to include additional comments
  • Improve-sight reading and document the progress of every student

Picture 4

Link to video:  Marty Magnini (5:33)

Additional Resources:

We realize that schedules are packed and sometimes there aren’t enough hours in the day. Which is why we offer many great resources to help you get answers when you need them!

If you would like to share a SmartMusic tip or best practice with me, please send me a note at lkallestad@makemusic.com.

Piece of the Week: Pippin by Stephen Schwartz



Pippin

Pippin has been called “a hip, tongue-in-cheek, anachronistic fairy tale,” and this musical theater piece has captured the hearts of Broadway audiences since its debut in 1972. Loosely based around the life of King Charlemagne the Great, the show tells the rather convoluted story of the king’s son, Pippin, a young prince who longs to discover the secret of true happiness. After experiencing the glories of battle, the intrigues of political power, and all sorts of human temptations, Pippin ultimately finds contentment and fulfillment in the simple pleasures of home and family. The Tony award-winning musical features a host of energetic, pop-inspired songs, and dance numbers composed by Stephen Schwartz while he was still a young man in his 20s. Schwartz went on to write the music and lyrics for the hit musicals Godspell and Wicked and contribute lyrics to Disney movies such as Pocahontas and The Hunchback of Notre Dame, among many other musical and movie projects.

Pippin began its current Broadway revival in 2013, and is an official touring company is  bringing the musical to cities across America starting in the Fall of 2014.  Click here for information about the Broadway show and U.S. tour.

SmartMusic offers two medleys of songs from Pippin, both from Alfred Publishing, which include the best-known pieces from this beloved musical.

In the Concert Band version, arranger Ralph Ford weaves together the songs “Corner of the Sky,” “Magic to Do,” “Extraordinary,” “Simple Joys,” “Pippin (Finale),” and the mega-hit, “Morning Glow” into one cohesive piece.

Audio Sample: Pippin, arranged for Concert Band

Audio provided by Alfred Music Publishing Co., Inc.

In the String Orchestra arrangement, Andrew Dabczynski begins with the driving rock rhythms and melodies of “Magic to Do” followed by the show-stopping “Corner of the Sky.” A heart-wrenching rock ballad, “With You,” is heard next, leading into “Love Song,” with its marvelously quirky but always-gentle rhythms. The piece concludes with a Broadway finale setting of “No Time at All.”

Audio Sample: Pippin, arranged for String Orchestra

Audio provided by Alfred Music Publishing Co., Inc.

Got an idea for a blog post? Contact us!

If you are an educator, musician, composer or student with a suggestion for a “piece of the week” blog post, you can email your suggestion to Griffin at gwoodworth@makemusic.com. Please let me know the name of the piece, composer, publisher, and why this piece is special to you.

Feature Friday: Develop More Confident Musicians



Develop Confident Musicians

As educators we know that some students eagerly embrace the idea of performing for a group while others would rather walk on fire. We all want our students to be comfortable and confident when performing individually within a group situation. Whether it is to play something in class or performing a solo, the more independent students can be, the more confident they are, which leads to stronger performances. SmartMusic can help.

Suggestions

  • When asking students to perform individually, use the accompaniments in SmartMusic, whether from a method book or large group ensemble title, during class. Although students are playing by themselves, there is added comfort performing with the accompaniment.
  • Play the accompaniment at a tempo that can help the student be successful. Remember that the pitch of the accompaniment does not change even though the tempo can be slowed down.
  • If the student has a some trouble along the way, turn on My Part long enough for the student to get back on track and then turn if off. This helps develop the feeling of continuity in performing instead of always stopping when there is trouble.

 Controls

  • After students gain confidence, you might prefer for your students to only play with a click track and SmartMusic gives you that option as well. My experience is that once students have success in performing in front of the group, subsequent performances come more easily – regardless of whether there’s accompaniment or not. The key is to get them to the point of feeling comfortable to do it.

Keep in mind that students can get feedback from SmartMusic to help them know if they are performing something correctly or not. The more green seen, the higher the confidence level.

Voila_Capture 2014-09-18_12-31-08_PMMore Green=Higher confidence!

Many teachers have this question: Will students start to depend on using SmartMusic accompaniments to perform? In fact, I had this same question when I first started using SmartMusic!

The answer is quite simple: it depends on how SmartMusic is being used. Just as a metronome can be helpful in practicing, it is simply a means to an end. Use any technology in ways that are “in tune” with your goals.

Have you used SmartMusic in ways to help students become more confident? Leave a comment or question by clicking the “Comments” link below.