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Posted by Jon on 11/12/2015

Trumpet-Mouthpiece-Collection

If there is one accessory trumpet players are notorious for collecting, it has to be mouthpieces. Any trumpet player who has ever looked at the overwhelming selection of trumpet mouthpieces today knows how difficult it can be to pick the right one to add to their collection. In this guide, we will talk about some general mouthpiece rules to help you choose your next mouthpiece.

What are you playing on now?
It’s important to take a look at your current equipment if you are beginning to look at mouthpieces. What aspects of your mouthpiece need changing? Most players begin by seeking out mouthpieces that feel easier to play on, but are cautioned to make sure that sound is at the forefront. Ideally, the right mouthpiece will sound exactly how you want it to and feel easier to play.

General measurement rules:

Cup Diameter – Generally denoted by a number, many manufacturers use a system where larger numbers represent smaller...

Posted by Matt on 11/12/2015

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

The most important thing to any musician is their instrument, and keeping that instrument safe and in perfect condition is near and dear to the heart of every performer. We offer everything from the lightweight Marcus Bonna fiberglass cases, to the incredibly durable Howard Wiseman cases, to more affordable options like Protec. No matter what your favorite musician is looking for in a case, we’ve got...

Posted by Aaron on 10/04/2015

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

 

Bluecoats – Canton, OH | 3rd Place: 96.925

One of the most popular shows this season, the Bluecoats’ production “Kinetic Noise” pushed the envelope of the...

Posted by Amanda on 08/29/2015

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.

One of the largest competitions coming up is the Leonard Falcone International Euphonium and Tuba Festival. The Falcone Festival is held over...

Posted by Jon on 08/06/2015

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!

1) Ensemble Auditions - Self Respect 101

Preparing for the Fall semester ensemble auditions is stressful, especially for students just beginning their music studies. In many cases, you won’t know how you rank compared to the other students in your studio, and auditioning poorly can break your confidence as a new or returning student. It’s important, however, to remain calm and realize that only you are in control of how well you play. Further, no matter the results of the audition, all music students are attending classes/ensembles to learn how to get better. The results are merely snapshots of how you played at that time and we cannot control how others play in their auditions. In order to get the most of our auditions, then, we have to center all of our attention on...

Posted by Matt on 07/14/2015

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.

1. Practice away from the instrument.

You don’t have to be physically holding your instrument in your hands and playing it to practice. Fingering through passages without the instrument can be a valuable tool that allows you to practice in places you can’t play your instrument, like airplanes, the doctor’s office, or when you’re riding in a car. When practicing without your instrument, finger through passages slowly and focus on precise motions, making sure that your fingers are moving in perfect unison...

Posted by Jon on 06/22/2015

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.

1. Practicing away from the instrument.

Many musicians simply spend too much time in the practice room with an instrument in their hands and on their face. This can easily lead to fatigue, which allows undesirable habits to arise. In many cases, students are encouraged to practice via repetition, making sure to play passages correctly at least 10 times before moving on. While the goal of playing things correctly is a lofty one, it can create the scenario where making mistakes becomes a central distraction to actual music making. To aid in learning passages more efficiently, a more holistic approach is key.

...

Posted by Mary on 05/26/2015

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:

  • Response
  • Pitch
  • Dynamics
  • Tone
  • If you can find pre-made reeds that do all of these things, then you will notice a dramatic improvement in the quality and consistency of your double reed players.  If we break these four things down into what that means for the reed...

    Posted by Amanda on 05/13/2015

    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.

    High E Facilitator

    Another option to consider is a high E facilitator. This ring that is added to the inside of the...

    Posted by Matt on 04/28/2015

    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.

    1. Simple entry should be your last resort

    When entering long passages of notes, all the clicking required to use simple entry will really slow you down. If you don't have a MIDI keyboard then Finale's Speedy Entry tool can save an amazing amount of time. Especially if you're entering a single musical line (i.e. clarinet or trumpet rather than piano), Speedy Entry will let you enter note durations and intervals using your number keys, automatically moving to the next measure when appropriate. You can even use the "option + number" shortcut to make tuplets of various...