Amanda DiCesare's blog

Christmas for the Musician in Your Life


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

Prepping for the New School Year

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.

Make the Most of Your Pre-Made Bassoon Reeds

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:

5 Tips to Ease Your Finale Music Notation Frustration

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.

6 Things to Consider When Choosing a Recital Solo Piece


Choosing a solo piece for a recital or other performance can be difficult. It’s hard to find that “perfect” amount of challenge in a solo while still selecting one that is musically interesting and achievable in the time you have to prepare it.

When trying to choose a solo for myself, I usually allow a week or two to sight-read and listen to recordings. I’ll choose a wide range of solos from different styles, composers and time periods. Many of them will be pieces I’ve heard others perform in recitals or on recordings.

6 Things to Consider

Throughout the sight-reading process, I ask myself the following questions:

The Best of Bossa Nova and Brass


Brazilian Bossa Nova has some of the best brass solos you’ll ever hear. A cousin to minimalist style Cool Jazz, Bossa Nova is both expressive and precise. At Louisville Music Company, we appreciate the smooth sound of brass n’ Bossa Nova. The world will never again see musicians of the likes of Jobim and Stan Getz and their generation of music innovators. These are 3 of our favorites.

Astrud Gilberto

The Shadow of Your Smile
Released: 1965
Label: Verve Records

Sound Breathing Advice for Musicians from the Start!

When I was a young student, I got into the habit of breathing on the preparatory beat in most performance situations. This stemmed from years of various directors holding the prep until they maintained the attention and focus of their ensembles, and when the ensemble was ready, the director began the piece.

As a musician this did two things:

1.) It taught me that I had only a set amount of time (i.e. the prep) in which to take in air as the ensemble 'breathed together.'

2.) As I began to take in more air, I was putting an exorbitant amount of tension into my body.

Relaxed Breathing Makes Quality Sound Easier to Produce

Having been a high school band director, I understand from a classroom management setting that these directors were trying to get the ensemble to play the downbeat together, but in doing so were not allowing their musicians to practice relaxed breathing.

4 Tips for Mastering the Altissimo Register on Clarinet

The upper register of the clarinet, known as the altissimo register, can be frightening to clarinet players when they first start to learn to play in it, but it doesn't have to be. Playing altissimo pitches on the clarinet is no different than playing in any other register: it just takes practice to learn to proper fingerings, embouchure formation, and throat voicing to consistently get these notes to sound great. Here are some helpful tips to help, and some great resources that can assist in your quest for altissimo virtuosity.

Potenza Fine Instruments - Now for Sale at Louisville Music Co.

Breaking News! Louisville Music Company is excited to announce that we now carry Potenza, by Eastman Strings. These fine instruments are excellent for both the very beginning student all the way up through the advanced musician.

Potenza and Eastman Strings

Founded in 1992, Eastman Strings has become a leader in the distinguished history of hand crafted orchestral instruments. Eastman strives to maintain a level of artistic integrity worthy of the nearly 500 year old craft of string making, with a motto of "Modern Instruments; Old Fashioned Quality". Eastman Strings is committed to musicians and educators by making the finest possible instruments for each level of musician. This ensures the musical success and confidence of students, teachers and professionals.

Louisville Music Company is proud to carry the following Potenza Strings products:

100 Series Instruments (VL100 Violin, VA100 Viola, VC100 Cello)

5 Things You Didn't Know About Harper Guitars - Handcrafted Instruments for Musicians Who Demand to Be Heard

Harper Guitars are handcrafted in Boonville, IN Harper Guitars are handcrafted in Boonville, IN
  1. It takes 75 to 175 hours to hand-craft one Harper Guitar!
  2. Harper Guitars are "green" - they use real wood and stay away from composite materials and plastics.
  3. Established guitarists like Vince Gill and Brandon Autry play Harper Guitars regularly.
  4. Jacob Harper has been hand-crafting guitars for over a decade.
  5. Louisville Music Company is the only place you can try - and play - Harper Guitars!

Guess Who Also Plays These Hand-Crafted Guitars?!