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Using SmartMusic and Finale together

Using SmartMusic and Finale Together

Martha Boonshaft, Middle School Director of Bands for the Garden City School District in Garden City, NY, shares how she uses SmartMusic and Finale together to enhance her students’ learning experiences.

A lesson that worked really well this week combined SmartMusic and Finale.  Our concert band is working on on Ralph Ford’s, Dillon’s Flight.  It is a great piece that is primarily in 5/4 and 6/4.

  • Starting in measure 68, there is a fugal section with hemiola and syncopation in many of the parts.
  • The low brass section was having great difficulties placing all of the upbeats.
  • I did not want to exclude the rest of the band from learning this valuable counting.

I wrote the part into Finale and printed it for the entire band.


Next, I opened Dillon’s Flight in SmartMusic, and displayed the trombone part.

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As a group:

  • Everyone worked through all of the rhythm patterns together.
  • Our full group practice helped the low brass/low winds be more confident and secure with their parts.
  • Using SmartMusic greatly helped the rest of the band understand what was being played against their parts.

I highly recommend using both SmartMusic and Finale together in this way. I have done this in the past also and it is a great way to keep the entire band engaged and learning.

Marth BoonshaftMartha Boonshaft has been teaching music for 30 years. The last 13 years she has been the Middle School Director of Bands for the Garden City School District in Garden City, New York. A proponent and advocate for SmartMusic, Mrs. Boonshaft has been using this practice tool for the past seven years with as many as 300 students at a time. She has presented SmartMusic sessions at multiple conferences on the east coast as well as staff development workshops for individual school systems through Long Island.


Piece of the Week: Greensleeves


The piece that we know today as “Greensleeves” originated as a sixteenth century English broadside ballad. A broadside ballad was an early form of popular music in which an author penned lyrics that fit the tune of a well known folk song; a publisher would then print the lyrics up on a single sheet of newspaper (a “broadside”) and sell in the street. “Greensleeves” was first published this way in 1580, though the tune itself would have been much older, and it proved so popular that many other printers quickly publisher their own lyrics to the same tune. The piece’s popularity was undiminished three centuries later, when the same tune was adapted into the Christmas carol “What Child Is This?” The piece received another boost when the famous English composer and folklorist Ralph Vaughan-Williams released his orchestral piece “Fantasia on ‘Greensleeves’” in 1934. With its haunting minor-mode melody and folksong simplicity, it is easy to see why this piece has remained in the public ear for over 400 years.

Arrangement Notes:

The traditional English folk song “Greensleeves” is given an interesting treatment in this new arrangement for concert band from Carl Fischer. The recognizable tune is first introduced in the low winds with complimentary moving eighth notes over top in the upper woodwinds. The melodic line then moves to the trumpets as the upper woodwinds continue with a unison counter line. Soon, a bolero-like drum rhythm is introduced with interesting rhythmic counterpoint in the brass. This continues as the clarinets and saxophones take up the melodic line. In a twist, the orchestration then inverts as the trumpets take up the melody while the upper woodwinds take over the rhythmic counterpoint. The secondary theme moves through all the voices, taking advantage of all the different colors available to the ensemble. The piece then moves into a middle section featuring a woodwind choir, which dramatically moves to a slow and majestic chorale prelude setting of the main theme in the brass. This full-voiced section fades into a quiet concluding section in which the main theme transforms from minor to major.

Audio Sample:

Audio provided by Carl Fischer, LLC.

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 at makemusic dot com. Please let me know the name of the piece, composer, publisher, and why this piece is special to you.

30 New Ensemble Titles Released in SmartMusic

30 new ensemble titles have been released in SmartMusic.

Title Comp/Arr Publisher Music Type Pepper Level
All the Pretty Little Horses  Traditional; Boysen, Jr., Andrew Alfred Concert Band M
Battle of the Champions, The  Haskett, Adam D. TRN Music Publisher Inc. Concert Band ME
Colonial Song  Grainger, Percy Aldridge; Wagner, Douglas E. Belwin Concert Band ME
Day in a Life, A (Commute and Chaos)  Roszell, Patrick Belwin Concert Band E
El Cid  Watson, Scott Alfred Concert Band E
Foiled Again!  Wilds, Jack FJH Music Company Concert Band ME
Forever…  Balmages, Brian FJH Music Company Concert Band E
Hopak!  Owens, William FJH Music Company Concert Band ME
Legend of Killarney, The  Barrett, Roland Alfred Concert Band E
Mechanism  Stalter, Todd Alfred Concert Band ME
Pulse Pounding  O’Loughlin, Sean Carl Fischer Concert Band VE
Red Covered Bridge, The  Sheldon, Robert Alfred Concert Band ME
Sentido  Paulson, John C. Alan Publications Concert Band ME
Shillelagh!  Meredith, James Carl Fischer Concert Band ME
Spirit of Thanksgiving, The  Sheldon, Robert Alfred Concert Band VE
Suo Gan  Welsh Folk Song; Clark, Larry Carl Fischer Concert Band E
Sweet Trombone Rag  Sweet, Al Grand Mesa Concert Band M
Below the Line  McKenzie, Daryl Brolga Music Jazz Ensemble E
Big Swing Face  Potts, William O.; Sigler, Rich Belwin Jazz Ensemble ME
Blues for Who?  Tonelli, Mark FJH Music Company Jazz Ensemble MA
Jazz Me Blues, The  Delaney, Tom; Wallarab, Brent Doug Beach Music Jazz Ensemble MA
Kaleidoscope  Morales, Erik FJH Music Company Jazz Ensemble M
One for Daddy-O  Adderley, Nat; Gassi, Vince Belwin Jazz Ensemble E
Opener II, The  Strommen, Carl Belwin Jazz Ensemble M
Christmas Bells for Smart Phone or Tablet (Ding Dong Merrily on High)  Traditional; Phillips, Bob Belwin String Orchestra ME
Claire de Lune  Debussy, Claude; Lipton, Bob Grand Mesa String Orchestra M
Cosi Fan Tutte (Overture)  Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus; Parrish, Todd Highland/Etling Publishing String Orchestra M
Storm the Gates  Silva, Alan Lee Carl Fischer String Orchestra E
Waltz (La plus que lente)  Debussy, Claude; Moreno, Matthew FJH Music Company String Orchestra MA
Florentiner March, The  Fucik, Julius; Hume, R.J. Highland/Etling Publishing Full Orchestra M


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


Teacher Tip: An Activity Tracker for Vocalists

Mary-Hannah Klontz, choral teacher at Swanson Middle School in Arlington, VA, and doctoral candidate at George Mason University, shares why she uses SmartMusic and Finale in her teaching.

Today’s technology trend is “wearables;” digital devices that are worn like jewelry or glasses. An example is the FitBit® which provides instant feedback about daily activity such as steps taken, active minutes spent, calories burned and quality of sleep. Although there is no such wearable device for musicians that I am aware of, SmartMusic can provide this kind of immediate feedback. In addition, you can create your own SmartMusic files with Finale. Both of these software programs can work in tandem to provide singers with a way to gain immediate feedback on their performance.

I use SmartMusic at Swanson Middle School in Arlington, Virginia and with my community chorus, The Chamber Chorale of Fredericksburg. I also used it in my doctoral lecture recital for George Mason University where I prepared SmartMusic files for Schoenberg’s De Profundis, a twelve-tone a cappella work. One of the Schoenberg singers said, “SmartMusic is like Rosetta Stone for 12-Tone.” Another said, “It lets an average singer like me sing with the pros.”

De Profundis

Vocal Repertoire

The repertoire library for vocalists allows singers to work on fundamental skills at home. Several Sight Singing method books, vocalises (including Building Beautiful Voices) and an extensive solo accompaniment collection are in the library. Since it is relatively simple to create a SmartMusic score from a Finale score, I use the Choral Public Domain Library where thousands of choral works are freely available in Finale format (.MUS) as well as other formats that Finale can open. This is a tremendous advantage, as I don’t have to input the notes myself. Because several of my groups meet by gender, but perform together as an SATB chorus, singers can hear the full chorus as the accompaniment in SmartMusic.

Assessment and Feedback

SmartMusic has many unique features that are valuable to vocalists. It assesses pitch and rhythm, showing the assessment immediately on the screen. The assessment shows red or green notes for incorrect and correct performance as well as a percentage score and an MP3 recording of the take. It is very powerful when singers discover that they have been singing the melody instead of their part. Even though they’ve heard that from me in rehearsal, seeing the red notes on the screen in the shape of the melody brings that home in a whole new way.

By clicking on the notes, one sees the pitch name and hears the tone. If an incorrect note has been sung, a singer can compare the note that should have been sung to the one that was actually sung. Singers can also make choices about the level of support they need; opting to hear the accompaniment only, voice part only or no support at all other than the starting pitch and tempo.

Red Assessment 

Black assessment

SmartMusic Gradebook

As a teacher, I can’t emphasize enough how valuable and convenient it is to log in to my SmartMusic Gradebook and listen to each individual singer in my program.

Singers not only work on the SmartMusic files at home or school, they submit the assessments and recordings to me through the SmartMusic Gradebook. I can listen at my “leisure” to provide individual feedback and better understand the needs of the singers as I contemplate rehearsal strategies. One note of caution is that singers need to know that the computer’s score is only part of the grade that I give them. I listen to each singer….yes, each one… and then provide my part of the grade and my feedback. I can change the computer’s score if I wish to account for microphone interference or crying babies in the background.

“SmartMusic has literally opened the eyes and ears of my singers.”

For my middle school singers, SmartMusic gives them a new way to understand their voice. For those who are still struggling to find correct pitches, especially my boys going through a voice change, they can see whether they sang too high or too low and try as many times as they wish to get more on target; all in the privacy of their own home or in my room after hours. Listening immediately to the recording they made while seeing their notes on screen is really valuable. After seeing their results, I can tailor individual assignments to help students sight-sing at the appropriate level of difficulty and set parameters of the assignment such as key and tempo. My gifted students love to explore the vocal library, challenging themselves to sing more music than we can accomplish in class. They also enjoy composing their own music using the free Finale Notepad.

Audition preparation

All my singers prepared their Honors Chorus auditions through SmartMusic. They got the “judge’s” score right away, so that subsequent recordings and live auditions improved dramatically making them more competitive. I also use SmartMusic for auditions for solos in our own programs. This gives me another impartial “judge” in the process and helps me understand who has the drive to do the extra work needed for this kind of opportunity.

Creative use

Some of my most confident singers learn a second part to sing. Last year we all learned to sing the Star Spangled Banner in unison. Recently I assigned the Star Spangled Banner and asked all my 8th grade sopranos to learn the new alto part. This strengthened their ability to read music and made it easy to perform in small groups at our basketball games because my 8th graders could sing switch parts depending on who came to sing. With only one practice on the alto part in class, the students were singing confidently in two parts!

Directors who are interested in finding out more about using SmartMusic in the choral setting may contact me at

Mary Photo DEvon Cass3075 copyMary-Hannah Klontz is Musical Director of the Swanson Middle School Choral Program (Arlington, VA) and the Chamber Chorale of Fredericksburg (VA). She is a candidate for a Doctor of Musical Arts Degree in Choral Conducting from George Mason University. Ensembles under her direction have received numerous honors and have been invited to perform at the Virginia Music Educators Conference, The White House, The National Cathedral and The Millennium Stage of the Kennedy Center. Ms. Klontz currently serves as Community Choir Repertoire and Standards Chair for the Virginia chapter of the American Choral Directors’ Association and is a Creative Motion Master Teacher on the faculty of the annual Windswept Summer Music Conference. Mary-Hannah resides in Arlington with her husband, Paul Klontz, a member of the U.S. Army Herald Trumpets and their daughters, McKenna and Kyra.


Piece of the Week: Strayhorn and More

Strayhorn & More

American composer Billy Strayhorn is best known as Duke Ellington’s longtime arranger and collaborator, but this does not quite capture the strong influence that Strayhorn has had on Ellington’s work and on the world of jazz in general. According to Oxford Music Online, Strayhorn collaborated on over 200 of the pieces in Ellington’s oeuvre, and the closeness of their collaboration cannot be overstated. Ellington himself eloquently summed this up in his autobiography, Music is My Mistress:

“In music, as you develop a theme or musical idea, there are many points at which direction must be decided, and any time I was in the throes of debate with myself, harmonically or melodically, I would turn to Billy Strayhorn. We would talk, and then the whole world would come into focus… He was not, as he was often referred to by many, my alter ego. Billy Strayhorn was my right arm, my left arm, all the eyes in the back of my head, my brainwaves in his head, and his in mine.”

Duke Ellington, Music is My Mistress (New York: Da Capo Press, 1973), p. 156.

In this collection from Alfred Music Publishing, some of Billy Strayhorn’s best-known pieces get new treatments from arranger Rich Sigler, including the songs “Raincheck,” “Caravan,” “Johnny Come Lately,” “Prelude to a Kiss,” and of course that immortal theme song of the Ellington / Strayhorn band “Take the ‘A’ Train.”

Our release of the Strayhorn & More collection also marks the culmination of our larger project of retooling SmartMusic’s jazz improvisation offerings. This includes a new jazz improvisation landing page in FindMusic and three collections of standard jazz pieces–titled SmartMusic Jazz Improv Vol. 1-3–that are built specifically for improvisation training. SmartMusic Jazz Improv volumes 1-3 feature “jazz patterns,” a unique function that allows students to play through any piece in the collection using a variety of different arpeggio and scale patterns as a way to help learn the theory behind jazz improvisation. Spend some time with these collections and you’ll see how assigning them to your jazz ensemble will help your players improve their comfort and fluency with improvising solos. Then check out Strayhorn & More and hear your students play classic jazz pieces with fully notated solos, by arranger Rich Sigler, that will help familiarize them with the language of jazz.

Audio Sample: Take the “A” Train

Audio provided by Alfred Publishing Co., Inc.

Composer Biography:

Billy Strayhorn was born on November 19, 1915, in Dayton, Ohio and died on May 31, 1967, in New York. Although a great composer, arranger and pianist in his own right, Strayhorn is known primarily as Duke Ellington’s collaborator. Strayhorn studied music extensively in his youth while living in Hillsboro, North Carolina and later in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In 1938, Strayhorn sent a composition to Duke Ellington for consideration. Ellington was very impressed with the young man’s talent, and recorded several of Strayhorn’s pieces that same year. After a brief stint as a pianist in Mercer Ellington’s band (Duke’s son), Strayhorn joined Duke Ellington’s band as second pianist and associate arranger. In the years that followed, over 200 of Ellington’s tunes were credited to the collaboration of Ellington and Strayhorn, including such classics as “Satin Doll” and “Take the ‘A’ Train,” a composition that became the band’s signature song. For nearly three decades, the two musicians worked in close collaboration, each complementing the talents of the other. Ellington’s band also recorded music written by Strayhorn alone. These sophisticated compositions include ballads like “Lush Life” and “Chelsea Bridge.” Strayhorn played in several recordings for pieces that Ellington conducted, and also played on a number of recordings with other members of the Ellington ensemble. His work with Ellington was brought to an end in 1967 by his death from cancer.

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 at makemusic dot com. Please let me know the name of the piece, composer, publisher, and why this piece is special to you.

Feature Friday: SmartMusic and the Holidays

SmartMusic and the Holidays

Holidays can be a very enjoyable time with all the festivities with family and friends. These occasions are the perfect time for you to encourage your students to perform for enjoyment and fun instead of just getting ready for another concert at school. It gives the students the chance to share with others what they have been learning and the skills they have developed. Using SmartMusic to accompany the performance can make for an enjoyable experience for all.

Encourage your students to use any festive occasion to present their own concert to relatives and friends. Consider having a class discussion about what would be the “ingredients” for a successful concert. For example, the range of topics could include proper performance etiquette to connecting speakers to the iPad or computer so everyone can hear the SmartMusic accompaniment.

Program suggestions

  • Songs from method books.
  • Literature that students are going to perform for a concert that are in SmartMusic.
  • Choose from the thousands of concert titles available in the repertoire library. Go to Find Music and choose Concert & Jazz Band, String & Full Orchestra.
  • There are thousands of solo titles with with accompaniment as well.  Remind your students that the solos don’t have to be holiday specific. Listed below are a few suggestions and to find them, just go to Find Music and type the title into the search field.
    • American Favorites
    • Easy Christmas Instrumental Solos (Record everyone singing along and playing it back!).
    • Easy Popular Movie Instrumental Solos
    • Singin’ with the Big Band
    • Songs from Broadway musicals
    • Top Praise and Worship Instrumental Solos

Reprtoire Library Browse for thousands of titles in SmartMusic.

  • Any of the performances can be saved as an MP3 and can be shared with those who were not there in person. In case you missed it, here is a blog by teacher Jim Schulz that explains how to create a holiday CD.
  • Ask students if they would like to share the recordings with you and possibly the class.

This activity can be very beneficial in many ways to your students. Performing for enjoyment and sharing…does it get any better than that?

Happy Holidays from everyone at MakeMusic!

Meet Gear Fisher, MakeMusic CEO

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Greetings everyone! I’d like to introduce myself. My name is Gear Fisher, and I’m the new CEO of MakeMusic. I thought I’d take a moment to update you on some of what has taken place since I became involved with the company a few months ago. These are exciting times and a lot has been happening behind the scenes.

First of all, as you may have heard, the company is currently in the process of moving to Boulder, Colorado. We have completely remodeled a new office space and we’ll be starting the move-in during the first week of December. About 30 people from the existing Minnesota-based team will be making the move to Boulder, helping to ensure that we maintain continuity and consistency for all of our customers going forward. I’m incredibly appreciative to them for their commitment and dedication to seeing the future of MakeMusic continue to thrive. We’ll also be hiring for dozens of new positions from product development to marketing, support and beyond. If you are interested in being part of a great new team, keep an eye on our careers page. It’s no understatement to say that we are completely re-imagining the company, and the future holds tremendous opportunity.

This is also a perfect time for me to introduce the new MakeMusic leadership team:

  • Adam Wig, Manager, Customer Success Team
  • Sonia Bertek, Director of Marketing
  • Michael Johnson, Director of Engineering
  • Mark Adler, Notation Product Manager
  • Fred Flowerday, VP of Product
  • Michael Good, VP of Research & Development
  • Stephen Hancock, VP of Sales

This group of exceptionally talented individuals will oversee the future of MakeMusic. If you will be attending the Midwest Clinic, NAMM or one of the many Music Education Association conferences across the country, I hope you’ll introduce yourself. We are dedicated to establishing trust within the community, and delivering excellence in our products. I am personally committed to SmartMusic and Finale, and focused on making those two products better than ever.


With today’s release of 2014d, I want to reassure everyone that we are fully dedicated to Finale’s future. You’ll note that I’ve appointed two professional musicians, Mark and Fred, to oversee its development. They are both longtime MakeMusic employees, highly respected, and incredibly passionate about enabling improved workflows, speed and quality within Finale. The first order of business will be to shore up and modernize the systems and processes we use for building Finale, which means we are not racing to release another upgrade. Look for us to deliver several more incremental updates over the coming year to improve stability and speed. We’re going to take the time to get it right. Quality is paramount; it leads to trust, and I’m focused on earning it. It will take time, and it will take action, and it will take some patience on everyone’s part.


The 2014 back-to-school season saw growing adoption of SmartMusic across thousands of schools. We have continued to develop exciting new content for SmartMusic and we’re working to add much, much more.  From a product development standpoint, we have a lot of work to do to improve the user experience for both educators and students. We need to improve workflows and make it easier to onboard both the educator and an entire classroom of students. Gradebook usage continues to grow, but it is still underused by the vast majority of teachers. This incredibly useful and powerful resource provides qualitative, objective assessment as well as straightforward tools to deliver and receive assignments. Look for us to make it easier for every student to use SmartMusic, both on their computer and iPad in the coming year.

Overall, I want to see Finale become more integrated with SmartMusic. We need to make it easier to publish content into SmartMusic and help teachers, students and performers discover and use that content. This will be an over-arching goal for MakeMusic going forward.

With all the change going on, it would be easy to be overwhelmed, but we have tremendous enthusiasm and commitment across the company and the future is bright. I’m out to build a world-class company that delivers world-class products. That’s my life’s work, that’s what I care about, and I’m honored to have the opportunity to lead MakeMusic into the future.

Piece of the Week: La Comparsa, by Ernesto Lecuona

La Comparsa

Ernesto Lecuona y Casado is arguably one of Cuba’s greatest composers. He was both versatile and prolific, composing over 400 songs, 170 piano pieces, 37 orchestral pieces, 11 film scores and numerous other works including zarzuelas, ballets and operas. Born in Guanabocoa, a village near Havana, Lecuona’s sister, Ernestina, introduced him to the piano at age 5. Lecuona wasted no time: he began playing piano in the capital’s first silent cinemas at age 7 and composed his first song at age 11.

Lecuona first used the melody for this piece, “La Comparsa,” in his first ballet of the same name, composed in 1912. He later reused included the melody in his suite of piano pieces entitled Danzas Afro-Cubanas. “La Comparsa” is a carnival procession in the Cuban style, beginning quite softly as if the procession were approaching from a distance. The piece culminates as the procession passes directly in front of the listener and then fades as it moves on its way. Other notable compositions by Lecuona include pieces such as “Canto Siboney,” “Para Vigo Me Voy,” “Siempre en mi Corazon,” “Canto Karabali” and “Maria L O.”

Lecuona is perhaps best known to North American audiences for his “Andalucia Suite,” which includes one of the composer’s most recognizable melodies, “Malaguena.”. A great deal of Lecuona’s music was first introduced to audiences in the United States by his fellow Cuban, Desi Arnaz.

Audio Sample:

Audio provided by TRN Music Publishers.

Composer Biography:

Ernesto Lecuona was born on August 7, 1896, in Guanabacoa, Cuba and died on November 29, 1963, in Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands. This composer and performer helped to popularize Cuban musical styles in Europe and the United States. Ernesto Lecuona was born into a musical family and began to play the piano at an early age. He played his first public performance at the age of five and had his first composition published at the age of eleven. When he was fifteen, Lecuona graduated from Havana’s National Conservatory of Music. After additional study with composer Joaquin Nin, Lecuona formed his own performing group and began to tour. Lecuona’s group, originally called “Orquesta Cubana” and later renamed “Lecuona’s Cuban Boys,” was a dance band specializing in light Cuban music, including many of Lecuona’s own compositions. The group toured Europe, Latin America, and the United States, gaining a solid following. Lecuona eventually settled in New York and wrote for musicals, films and radio programs. Throughout his career, Lecuona composed over 400 works. Many of his lighter songs have become standards, including “Siboney” (1929) and “Maria La O” (1931). Some of his more ‘serious’ compositions also found an audience, including works for piano, pieces for orchestra, and songs such as “Malaguena” (1927) and “Andalucia” (1930).

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 at makemusic dot com. Please let me know the name of the piece, composer, publisher, and why this piece is special to you.

Piece of the Week: The Huntress, by Karl King

The Huntress

Back in the days when traveling circuses were a major form of popular entertainment, no composer was better known than Karl King. King ran off with the circus in 1910 (at the age of 19), and in the course of his career he worked for some of the most famous touring shows of the era, including Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show and the Barnum & Bailey Circus. King quickly worked his way up, proving himself to be a talented composer and bandleader as well as musician: for example, in 1913 he composed the piece that became the theme song for the Barnum & Bailey Circus, and by 1917 was directing that band.

“The Huntress” was published in 1916, around the time when King was working for the Buffalo Bill show and the Sells-Floto Circus (who toured together and shared a band for one season). SmartMusic has just released two concert-band arrangements of this piece, one from LudwigMasters and one from Barnhouse.

Audio Sample: Gene Milford arrangement, pub. LudwigMasters

Audio provided by LudwigMasters Publications, LLC.

Composition Notes:

One of Karl King’s most popular pieces, “The Huntress” has all the melodic interest and rhythmic vitality you would expect from this celebrated master of circus marches. What makes this particular song unique among Karl King’s marches is the “ragtime” woodwind obligato for the flutes and clarinets in the trio. Ragtime was a popular style at this time, and King had previously composed several pieces in this style, including “Ragged Rozey” (1913), “Georgia Girl” (1914), “Broadway One-Step,” “Kentucky Sunrise,” and “The Walking Frog” (all from 1919).

Audio Sample: Andrew Glover arrangement, pub. C.L. Barnhouse

Audio provided by C.L Barnhouse Co.

Composition Notes:

“The Huntress March” was first published on September 20, 1916. The piece was submitted for publication to King’s friend C.L. Barnhouse in May or June of that year. It would seem logical that King wrote this march in the 1915-1916 circus offseason. He was in-between his second and third (and ultimately, final) season as bandmaster for the Sells-Floto Circus, which toured with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. That next season, in 1917, was when King began conducting the band for the Barnum and Bailey “Greatest Show On Earth.”

In a move that was not typical for King’s published pieces, the original version of “The Huntress” does not have a dedication. As such, historians have been debating the meaning of the title of this piece for decades. Even if we assume that it was written for the Sells-Floto or Buffalo Bill shows from the previous year (as the timing would suggest), we still don’t know what type of act the march would have accompanied. The title seems to imply a wild animal act, but the march has a very different sound form other King marches often used for animal acts (such as “Royal Decree March” and “The Caravan Club,” which the circus used to accompany lion and tiger acts.) Of note and interest is the influence of the ragtime style in this march, which you can hear in the jaunty piccolo solo in the first trio. “The Huntress March” became one of Karl King’s most famous marches, and has never been out of print.

Composer Biography:

Karl Lawrence King was born in the Ohio village of Paintersville on February 21, 1891, and grew up in Zenia, Cleveland, and Canton. The local town band in Canton stirred his love and talent for music, so at the age of eleven he bought a cornet with money earned by selling newspapers and began taking lessons. He soon exchanged that instrument for a euphonium which he played in the Canton Marine Band (made up of boys his own age). Karl’s only formal music instruction consisted of four piano lessons and one harmony lesson from a musical show director, William Bradford. At age 19, Karl joined Robinson’s Famous Circus (1910) as a baritone player. Over the next several years he played baritone with the Yankee-Robinson (1911), Sells-Floto (1912), and Barnum & Bailey Circuses (1913). It was in that year that he wrote Barnum and Bailey’s Favorite, which became one of the most popular marches in the world. It was soon adopted as the theme song of that circus. Karl King’s gift for composing was apparent at an early age, and he had several compositions published while still in his teens. In all, King published over 200 marches. In addition to this impressive feat, which earned him the title America’s March King, he also composed waltzes, overtures, intermezzos, serenades, dirges, rags, and galops, totaling almost another 100 selections. Karl King moved to Fort Dodge, Iowa, in 1920 and established a successful music publishing business, composed music, and directed the municipal band. He and his band appeared at numerous state and regional fairs, rodeos and expositions, as well as local concerts. After his death, it was formally renamed the Karl L. King Municipal Band of Fort Dodge.

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 at makemusic dot com. Please let me know the name of the piece, composer, publisher, and why this piece is special to you.

Teacher Tip: Student Learner Outcomes


The below post comes to you from Richard Tengowski, Director of Bands for the Kohler School District in Wisconsin. Richard shares how he uses SmartMusic to achieve Student Learner Outcomes (SLOs). He teaches elementary, middle and high school concert bands, jazz ensemble, pep band, drum-line and secondary general music.

This past year, I used SmartMusic to complete our sight-reading SLO for 9th grade students. SmartMusic has a sight-reading library that contains 10 levels of difficulty and over 600 composed examples.

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When opened in SmartMusic, the music is covered so the students cannot see it. By clicking the triangle on the Sight Reading button, a menu appears so that you can select the amount of study time the students have before the example starts.

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After the music is performed, it is automatically assessed and recorded.

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We increased our average sight-reading score from 44 to 62. This increase exceeded our SLO goal by 18 points!

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Here is the nuts and bolts process I used. You are free to copy this and modify it for your own use.

Identify the Student/School Learning Objective

  • To increase the sight-reading accuracy of ninth grade students by 10%
  • Students will sight read and record music utilizing SmartMusic sight-reading modules.
  • Students will sight read music with a difficulty level of 2.5 music (using the standard 1-6 level of difficulty scale).

Reason for choosing this SLO objective: to improve the student’s reading skill of processing new information and applying it in a performance setting.

Content Addressed:

  • Music Standards: Content Standard E: Students in Kohler School District will read and notate music.
  • Wisconsin Standard E.7 – sight-read, accurately and expressively, music with a level of difficulty of 3, on a scale of 1 to 6.
  • Difficulty level 2 is an 8th grade outcome and difficulty level 3 is a 12th grade outcome.
  • For the purpose of this goal, we will use music at the difficulty level 2.5.

 SLO Process: 9th Grade instrumental students will be doing this SLO.

  • Students will be assessed and evaluated one time during the second and fourth quarters.
  • Student recordings captured using SmartMusic will assess and evaluate student accuracy.
  • Scores will be imported into a spreadsheet and calculated for student growth.

Strategies and Support:

  • Students will review STARS approach to sight-reading during individual instruction time:
    • (Sharps/flats, Time/tempo, Accidentals, Rhythms, Signs/symbols)
  • Students will have a limited amount of visual preparation before the actual performance.
  • Students will perform with SmartMusic and record and analyze each individual performance.
  • Student scores will be entered in a spreadsheet for future comparison.
  • Student and teacher will reflect and discuss the pros/cons of the sight reading exercise.


Picture 4Rich Tengowski is proud to begin his 28th year as Director of Bands at Kohler Public Schools. He is also the Past-President of the Wisconsin Music Educators Association and has taken leadership roles with the Wisconsin Comprehensive Musicianship through Performance Project and the Wisconsin Challenging Content Standards Task Force in developing standards for the state of Wisconsin. Tengowski’s work has been published in a recent book entitled Shaping Sound Musicians and MENC publications entitled Performance Standards for Music, Strategies for Teaching Beginning and Intermediate Band and Strategies for Teaching High School Band.  Mr. Tengowski is a 2002 Herb Kohl Educational Fellowship Award Recipient and was recently inducted into the Wisconsin Bandmaster Association.

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