Using SmartMusic’s Reference Recordings with Your Students

Using SmartMusic’s Reference Recordings with Your Students

Earlier this year we sat in on a jazz ensemble recording session for publisher Kendor Music at Mighty Fine Productions in Denver, CO. Directed by performer, composer, publisher, educator, arranger, and Grammy Award winner Doug Beach, the recordings were being made to promote upcoming titles from Kendor and Doug Beach Music.

Here’s a short snippet of some rehearsal that occurred when the musicians were first sight-reading Bret Zvacek’s We, Too, just one of the many pieces recorded that day. Do you wish your ensembles sounded this good while sight reading?

Hear the final mix of this recording.

After the session concluded we spoke to Doug Beach about these recordings and how educators can best use them with their students. Doug also offered some practical tips to share with directors of young jazz bands. We share them all in the videos below.

Publisher Recordings and SmartMusic

As mentioned above, the purpose of the recordings made this day were to promote new Kendor and Doug Beach Music jazz ensemble charts. Most publishers record all of their new offerings. These “demo recordings” give their customers a clear idea of how well each new piece can sound.

For this purpose, publishers typically record them with the highest quality standards, and with the very best professional musicians. It makes sense to show your music in the best possible light.

When we add new titles in SmartMusic, we seek out these kinds of recordings from our publisher partners for use as SmartMusic accompaniments. Because every nuance of interpretation is professionally executed, they not only make SmartMusic exhilarating to play along with, but they also provide students with world-class musicianship to model their own performances after.

Our own Ryan Sargent talked to Doug Beach about how educators might use these recordings with their students:

Modeling and the Power of Listening

Ryan also asked Doug about what specifically students should listen for with these recordings. Doug offered some great advice for students and educators alike, with an emphasis on the importance of listening to the music first.

Doug’s Rhythm Section Tips

Both Doug and Ryan are horn players. They can empathize with the challenges horn players experience when first trying to guide a young jazz band rhythm section. Again, Doug offers some tips. As a bonus you get to hear the disembodied voice of MakeMusic’s own Ashley Trupp (also seen in the upper right corner of the image at the top of this post):

If you’re not using SmartMusic with your students, now’s a good time to reconsider and take advantage of benefits like world-class recordings from Kendor and Doug Beach Music. You can begin using SmartMusic in your classroom for a little as $39.99 a year. Even better, you can try it out for free.

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