How to Keep Your Students Engaged

Keeping Your Students Engaged

I will forever remember the first elementary school violin class I taught as a student teacher just five months ago. As I stood in front of 30 tiny people and their even smaller instruments, it took all the strength I had to make it through the 45-minute lesson without passing out.

Support Chamber Music in the Schools

The Quid Nunc Saxophone Quartet

I believe strongly in the power of chamber music in a high school music program. The Ronald Reagan Band program has benefited greatly from the increased musicianship produced by many of the student-led chamber ensembles that have been developed in the school over the last several years.

Brass Tactics: Building Virtuosity in the Brass Section

Brass Tactics - Building Virtuosity in the Brass Section

Developing a strong brass section requires individual attention to brass fundamentals. There are five areas of brass study that need to be practiced daily in order to maintain technique as well as further developing technique. These areas of study include tone production, flexibility, dexterity, articulation, and range.

Manhattan Beach Music Partnership Announced

Here’s a recent tweet to @SmartMusic:

Frank Ticheli Request Tweet

This is certainly not the first time someone has requested the music of Frank Ticheli!

We created the  SmartMusic Repertoire Request page to provide a means for educators to let us know what titles they’d most like to see added to the SmartMusic library.

Teaching Jazz Improvisation with Accompaniments

Teaching Jazz Improvisation with Accompaniments

For decades, jazz educators have been using play-along recordings to help students practice jazz improvisation. These recordings have been a huge success, helping students learn jazz standards, practice jazz styles, and providing rhythm section backing tracks to help with improvisation. The problem with these traditional tools is that students can struggle to make the leap from a simple melody to improvising over a complete tune.

Using Improved SmartMusic Accompaniments with Students

Mark Adler and Student

We recently added an exciting new SmartMusic feature to Finale 2014.5 that lets you create improved SmartMusic accompaniments (SMPX files) that can include the sounds of your favorite sound libraries, like Garritan, and/or live recorded audio. Previously, when you made your own SmartMusic files you were restricted to using general MIDI sounds.

SmartMusic Repertoire Update: February 2016

February Repertoire Update

This week we added 28 new ensemble titles to the SmartMusic Repertoire Library. Included are new pieces for choir, concert band, jazz ensemble, and string orchestra (a full list appears below). The SmartMusic carousel has also been updated, and in recognition of February being Black History Month, we have added a Black History Month category, as well as the MakeMusic Improv Series, which we’ll feature in greater detail next week.

Developing a Young Mallet Player

Developing a Young Mallet Player

A student’s first year in band or orchestra is arguably the most influential and critical time in their musical life. Rather than teaching a beginning student all of the things they need in music, I tend to take the approach of teaching a small number of concepts and focusing on preventing the development of bad habits.