News & Views Friday, January 30, 2015

Category: Music Education

Why FJH Masters Style 27 January, 2015

by Ken Tilger, Band Education Specialist –

In my previous post I featured a number of new titles perfect for teaching style to middle school band. One of those titles, Klezmer Clarinets by Timothy Loest, is published by FJH Music Company. You may have noticed that FJH is always well-represented in our band promotions, and with good reason. Each year their new band promotion is one that we look forward to most. It always features a reasonable number of titles, and the quality is consistent from top to bottom regardless of difficulty. When it comes to style, the arrangements that FJH chooses to publish are as authentic as they come.

We hear (and occasionally program – I won’t tell!) them all the time.   Arrangements that are “Latin” or “swing” when they are really just dressed up with a couple of “shakers” and other percussion “toys” or a ride cymbal “swing” pattern, but wind up sounding “jazzy” or just plain cheesy. If you take advantage of our band promotions, you know these tunes just don’t make the cut. It’s encouraging to note that there are more authentic sounding, quality arrangements from more publishers now (see that previous post!), but none knocks it out of the park as consistently as FJH.

GenresThe reason for this is quite simple: they go all in! Brian Balmages, Timothy Loest, Chris Sharp, and Co. incorporate all of the characteristic elements of a specific style into their arrangements. Percussion instrument choices are appropriate and the parts layered. Rhythmic figures are true to the original style; this includes notation, articulation, and syncopation. Chord changes are structured and voiced appropriately; harmonies are as lush (or open) as necessary; and scale patterns capture the flavor of the style (major, modal, etc). As I mentioned above, this is all regardless of difficulty! Characteristic flavor is not sacrificed just because some rhythms need to be simplified or ranges kept in check for beginning level players. The quality of pieces like Klezmer Clarinets and Rocky Mountain Romp are just as strong as At a Turkish Market and Arabian Dances, so you can feel good about programming stylized arrangements from FJH at any level. Check out our recommendations below – there’s a little something for everyone – and pick up an arrangement or two for your band. You (and your students) will be glad you did!

Stanton’s Recommends:
Beginning Band:
Court of the Noble Trumpeteers; Jingle Bells Samba Bells; Klezmer Clarinets; The Nutcracker (Overture & Trepak); Rocky Mountain Romp; Samba la Bamba
Middle School: At a Turkish Market; Blue Ridge Reel; Christmas at the Circus; Egyptique; Feliz Navidad; Give My Regards to Broadway; Images of Ireland; Irish Jig for Young Feet
High School: Arabian Dances; Fusion; Good King Wence-salsa; It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year; A Showstoppin’ Christmas; We Wish You a Mambo Christmas

*Author’s note: It was difficult separating the abundance of fantastic programmatic pieces from FJH from the stylistic charts, but that’s another post for another time! KT

About the Author:
Ken is a former band director, and has been with Stanton’s since 2004. He is excited to have finally seen Jeff Coffin and the Mu’tet live! He also enjoys comic books, all things Pittsburgh (Let’s Go Pens!), and plays saxophone with Swing’s the Thing Big Band.


Be Brave: Teach Style to Your Middle School Band 23 January, 2015

by Ken Tilger, Band Education Specialist –

GenresTeaching solid fundamentals of playing and basic musicianship are at the core of beginning and middle school band. Obviously there is already plenty to cover within your curriculum, and if your school district’s program is well-organized, there is a certain skill set and level of musicianship your students should reach before moving on to high school band. Throw in programming for a Christmas/winter concert and adjudicated performance/band trip, and your year is already really full. While all of these things are worthwhile, why not step outside the box a little bit and throw in a piece to teach style.

While I know there are reasons both musical and practical not to do this, there are a number of great reasons to do it, as well. First, it will provide some interesting variety to your concert programming. In addition to the usual concert overture/concert piece, lyrical selection, march, and programmatic piece, an authentic Latin or other “world” style, tango, waltz, or show-style piece will add some fun, flair, and may well be the highlight of your performance. Secondly, it will greatly enhance your group’s musicianship. Different styles place different reading and interpretation demands on players, and the more styles a musician encounters, the more versatile they become. As a big band saxophonist that came up through braveschool music programs, I feel like we all learn to play legato really well. This is great for developing tone and for classical playing and study, but limits our scope for interpreting notation. On most gigs, styles change from one tune to the next and most students really only encounter a variety of styles through jazz ensemble. Of course this is limited to those who participate, and if the programming is really solid. It’s never too early to plant seeds of versatility, and your overall program will greatly benefit from the variety of skills and depth of understanding your students gain. Lastly, exposure to a variety of styles will broaden your students’ view of music overall and its place in history.

Below I have featured two of my favorite new pieces to teach style. Keep in mind that if they are cheesy, not authentic, or merely dressed up with percussion toys, they don’t make the cut. As when choosing pieces for jazz band, I recommend selecting a piece that’s about 1 grade level easier than your ensemble typically plays. This will allow your students to easily nail down notes and rhythms so you can focus on interpretation, articulation, and nuance. I have also listed a few more new titles for middle school band that capture their respective styles perfectly. We even think enough of them that they’re all in our middle school band promotion!  If you’re considering teaching style this year, these are all great starting places. Go ahead. Be brave. Your students and audience will thank you.

Camino del Sol by Steve Hodges        Grade 2.5
Camino del Sol is a solid, fun to play Latin selection that will greatly develop your ensemble’s technique, rhythmic interpretation, and cut-time reading. Underpinned by a characteristic, syncopated bass ostinato and Latin percussion, a light melody passes throughout the band complete with full-bar, 8th note pick-ups and hits in all the right places. As always, articulation, note length (space!), and interpreting figures sets the style. The biggest challenges will be learning to hear & feel the figures in 2 (don’t over-count), and keeping the slurred melody from being too legato.

Zombie Tango by James Meredith      Grade 2
Teach beyond notes and rhythms with this fantastic tango. Sure it’s spooky per the title, but more important is its authenticity – bringing any cultural or dance style to life requires appropriate accents, note lengths, and interpretation of figures. More than just dressing it up with percussion instruments, Zombie Tango features characteristic elements in spades (including a bridge)! Aside from being a fun programming change-up, learning to interpret this style from the page will work wonders for reading articulation and rhythmic figures. We couldn’t recommend this piece more!

Stanton’s also recommends: African Alleluia, Klezmer Clarinets, and Three Brazilian Folksongs

About the Author:
Ken is a former band director, and has been with Stanton’s since 2004. He is excited to have finally seen Jeff Coffin and the Mu’tet live! He also enjoys comic books, all things Pittsburgh (Let’s Go Pens!), and plays saxophone with Swing’s the Thing Big Band.


Give Me a Bucket 16 January, 2015

give me a bucket.jpg Stanton’s is proud to feature author and composer Mark Shelton as our first guest author for the Stanton’s blog.  Check out what Mark has to say about his latest resource, “Give Me A Bucket.”

Whether you are a middle school band director looking for a clever way to feature your percussionists or a general music teacher searching for a crowd-pleasing instrumental, a bit of bucket drumming can provide a fun-filled solution.  Bucket drumming has come to the elementary music classroom and the band hall with instructors and students getting in on the joy of pounding a pail.  Forming this type of ensemble is easy on the budget and provides a great vehicle for learning rhythms and exploring tone colors.

Clear directions are laid out for bucket drumming success in Give Me A Bucket (click here for a short tutorial.)  In addition to guiding you through the process of setting up your bucket ensemble, Give Me A Bucket provides a dozen short, easy-to-learn pieces, rehearsal tips, simple choreography, and a recording for study and inspiration.  Give Me A Bucket is suggested for grades 4-8 and the pieces are grouped by level of difficulty. All the pieces can be played with basic single stroke percussion skills. There are no rolls, flams, or complicated sticking patterns in the entire collection.

While most of the ensembles are written for different sizes of buckets playing polyphony,  a few works are scored for unison playing. One such ensemble is “Strange Asparagus” which makes clever use of Boomwhackers™ as the striking implement. The pitched tubes provide a bit of harmony and a colorful visual component.

Give Me A Bucket was featured at Stanton’s General Music Clinic facilitated by nationally recognized elementary music specialist, Sharon Burch http://youtu.be/TN067m4iddQ

Check out a performance of “Bucket Rock 101” with fourth and fifth grade students from Lannoye Elementary in Pulaski, WI.   http://youtu.be/ruB0VqgkHYo

My short bucket drumming tutorial can be found at http://youtu.be/-eGFsWHGong

Go ahead…set up a few pails, hand your students some sticks, pass out the parts, and let the bucket jam begin!

mark sheltonMark Shelton has presented hundreds of arts-in-education performances as a percussion soloist and as leader of the world music ensemble Tin Roof Tango. From the early days of his career as Visiting Artist at Coastal Carolina Community College to his current work as a soloist, clinician, sideman, and entrepreneur, Mark has created programs, products, and educational services for a variety of ages. Educational articles by Mark have appeared in Percussive Notes, Activate!, Dulcimer Players News, and Worship Musician.  (If you love “Give Me A Bucket“, also check out Mark’s previous publication “Give Me A Groove“.)


Combo Concerts: Band-O-Rama 14 January, 2015

band o ramarecommended by Ken Tilger and Rachel Steele

The concert schedule for lots of schools is the same year-in and year-out.  Consider shaking things up this year with a “combo” concert!  Combine your groups across levels (imagine how big your band will be with students grades 5-12!) or across genres (your 6th grade choir would love to sing a piece or a medley with your high school jazz band!).

Ending the school year with a “mass” concert of bands in all grade levels is a common enough practice.  It’s great for your beginner students to hear the more advanced groups, and good for your high school bands to remember how exciting that first year of band was.  Of course, once you have all of those kids in the same room, everyone wants to hear them play together.  It’s the same challenge every year:  Pieces that are easy enough for your beginners make your older students roll their eyes; but who wants to spend the time re-writing and editing a grade 4 piece so that your 5th graders can play too?

THERE IS A SOLUTION that doesn’t involve you earning more grey hairs!  Several pieces are available that are specifically designed for this purpose, with all of the work done for you.  Each of the pieces below comes in two or three different versions that are intended to be played together.

bandoramaBand-O-Rama by Sandy Feldstein and Larry Clark

High School Set (PT-YCB06A-00)………………………………………………….$40.00

Elem./Intermediate Set (PT-YCB06B-00)…………………………………….$40.00

Band-O-Rama is a wonderful march designed for combined performance of beginning, intermediate and high school bands. The composition is available in two versions, one for high school band and one with parts for both elementary and intermediate bands.   Your high school students will play their parts (an easy grade 3) without much effort, while elementary students will need to be able to play in the keys of Bb and Eb Concert (limited range) and have mastered the dotted quarter/eighth note rhythm.  This piece is in the standard form of an American march, so it’s a great piece to being teaching about that form and tradition.

shorewood overtureShorewood Overture by Michael Sweeney

All-In-One Set, serves all three levels (04003858)………………………………..$95.00

Rather than the typical massed band number where everyone plays at once, this ingenious overture is written for 3 separate levels of player and allows the players of each level to be featured briefly by themselves, along with sections where everyone plays together. The easiest level includes nothing more difficult than 8th notes (no dotted rhythms) and all clarinet notes under the break, while the intermediate part is perfect for your older middle school students, involving more complex rhythms and an expanded range.  In addition, the “Level 3” parts include cues (also in the Level 3 score) allowing the older students to “jump in” for security if needed.  Includes scores and parts for all levels!

winged victoryWinged Victory by Brian Balmages

Grade 4 Version (B1340)………………………………………………………………..$75.00

Grade 2.5 Version (B1342)……………………………………………………………..$50.00

Grade 1 Version (B1341)…………………………………………………………………$40.00

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more powerful and inspiring work with such variety of styles and musical material. The eternal fight for freedom and the spirit of community form the groundwork for this impressive mix of proud fanfares, undaunting rhythms, and heartfelt lyrical passages.  The most difficult version is a true grade four, providing a challenge for your older musicians, while even the earliest beginners can handle the easiest version.  The intermediate version has simplified variants of the more difficult material in the fanfare sections, allowing them to be a big part of the action.  Beginner band directors should be aware the the elementary students do rest for a large portion of the piece, so working on musicianship and listening skills is a must!

About the authors:

Ken is a former band director, and has been with Stanton’s since 2004. He enjoys comic books, playing with his young son, and plays saxophone with Swing’s the Thing Big Band. You should check out their album “Walk On Out the Door” available on iTunes and Amazon.

Rachel has been working in the choral department at Stanton’s since 2013.  She previously taught middle school and high school band and choir for 13 years, and holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in music education from The Ohio State University.  Currently a member of the Heisey Wind Ensemble and a musician at Epiphany Lutheran Church (Pickerington, OH,) Rachel also enjoys reading, sewing, baking and the Pittsburgh Steelers!

 


Simple Tools, Infinite Use 13 January, 2015

Here are three simple tools that can make a private music teacher’s life easier.  First, there is a useful tool called a “Wright-Way Notefinder”.  It is a music board that comes with a booklet of suggestions for how to use it.  This 6″ x 8″ board has a grand staff on it, and a note on a string that you can move up and down the staff.  The note finder is a fun tool to use, especially if the student gets to quiz the teacher!  Second, there is a little booklet called a “Wright-Way Practice Record”.  One page of this 4 1/2″ x 6″ booklet records the date of the assignment, the assignment, the time practiced every day, and two lines of blank staff for a special exercise, if needed.  The practice record can show the student how far he/she has progressed over time.   Third, there is the “Williams Bookkeeping Book“.  This 8 1/2″ x 5 1/2″ spiral book is a complete record of students’ lesson times and contact information, as well as the teacher’s  income and expenses.  The bookkeeping book is as practical as anything we have seen, and so easy to use!  For more information  about these products, or other, similar products, call us at 1-800-42-MUSIC, email us at keyboard@stantons.com, or visit our website.  Use Stanton’s for all your sheet music needs!

 


Stanton’s Comes To You! 09 January, 2015

stantonlogolarge

Music educators all over the country are gearing up for convention season!  As you attend amazing sessions that leave you inspired and invigorated,  don’t forget to stop by the exhibit hall and order some of those wonderful pieces at the Stanton’s Sheet Music booth.  We are excited to be making our regular appearances at educators’ conferences in New York, Michigan, Kentucky and Ohio.  Look up for our signature blue balloon and come by to ask questions, shop, or just say hello and introduce yourself to our knowledgeable staff.  We look forward to seeing you at:    

 

michigan music conferenceThe Michigan Music Conference-January 22nd-24th at Devos Place in Grand Rapids, MichiganStanton’s booth numbers are 51-58; exhibit hours are Friday 8:30-6:00 and Saturday 8:30-1:00.

 

KMEA Professional Development Conference-February 4th-7th at the Kentucky International Convention Center in Louisville, KYStanton’s booth numbers are 501–507/600–606; exhibit hours are Thursday and Friday 9-6.

 

omea conference 2015OMEA Professional Development Conference- Feb. 5th–7th, 2014 at the Cleveland Convention Center in Cleveland, OHStanton’s booth numbers are 231, 233, 235, 237, 330, 332, 334, 336, 338 ; exhibit hours are Thurday 1-6,  Friday 9-5 and Saturday 9-12:30

Also look for us this summer at the International Trumpet Guild Conference here in beautiful   Columbus, Ohio.  More details TBA!ITG-logoFor more information about our conference booths or products, please contact us at www.stantons.com!


Scales for Young Violinists and Violists 06 January, 2015

scales for young violinists scales for young violistsScales for Young Violinists and Scales for Young Violists

Recommended by Dan Clark, School Orchestra Specialist

Few pedagogical concepts are as important as scales, and Barbara Barber has fashioned some new books of scales designed especially for the younger violin and viola player.

 

In these volumes you will find:

• Scales only spanning two octaves; each book utilizes the circle of fifths

• All major and relative minor keys up to six sharps and five flats (violin begins the Key of G, viola in C)

•Various bowings, rhythmic variations and recommended fingerings

• Preparatory shift studies for all the keys

•Arpeggios – tonic major & minor, sub-mediant, sub-dominant major & minor
as well as diminished 7th, dominant 7th, broken thirds and chromatic scale in that key

•Exercises for 1st position and 1st-3rd position double stops

• Work with octaves, thirds, sixths and harmonics.

This book is wonderful preparation for the best-selling, three octave Scales for Advanced Violinists (8010X – $12.99) and Scales for Advanced Violists (8023 – $12.99), both by Barbara Barber.

Dan Clark has worked at Stanton’s since 1979, primarily with orchestra music and print promotions.  A “working” musician, he’s a classical cellist, a rock & jazz bassist and a folk & country guitarist/singer. His free time is spent with family or reading, gardening, cycling and working puzzles. He also has a reputation as a pretty good joke teller. Seriously.


IPA Made Easy 29 December, 2014

Singing in foreign languages is an important benchmark in students’ choral education – but, teaching languages and pronunciation can be intimidating for some teachers. How many years has it been since YOUR last diction class? And if you’re new to the vocal side of music education, you may have NO experience with foreign languages (outside of Italian musical terms!).

The handy guidebook Alfred’s IPA Made Easy is an easy reference for the symbols used in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA): what they look like and how they are pronounced. IPA is a standard set of symbols used for notating pronunciation of spoken language; because the symbols are consistent across languages, a basic understanding provides guidance for singers as they expand their experience with new languages.

Example words for every symbol are included in English, Latin, Italian, German, French, and Spanish. An online resource includes demonstrations of every sound, recorded by a professional voice teacher.  A clear and concise tool for singing in foreign languages, equally useful in the choir room and the vocal studio.

For more choral education resources, please contact us!


Live from The Midwest Clinic – Day 2 19 December, 2014

exhibit hall entranceby Ken Tilger, Band Education Specialist

Day 2 of the 2014 Midwest Clinic has come and gone, and it was quite an active day. The Stanton’s booth was busy, especially around mid-day with plenty of educators and students loading up on method books, solo and ensemble repertoire, and new concert pieces. One of my favorite aspects of working our booth is meeting directors that we don’t know, passing along our new band music promotions, and explaining our selection process.

Visitors to the Stanton’s booth included our good friend James Swearingen, FJH orchestra composer Lauren Bernofsky, and Hal Leonard arranger Johnnie Vinson. In addition, I had an engaging and enthusiastic conversation with Alfred composers Chris Bernotas and Vince Gassi. Band Education Specialist Kent White attended the session on Scale & Rhythm Chunks by Ohio’s own Richard Canter. It was standing room only with over 500 people attending his session, and we have all but sold out of the copies we had at the booth!

One of the other unique elements of The Midwest Clinic is the number of composers and arrangers on-hand. As mentioned above, I spent quite a bit of time today speaking with Chris Bernotas and Vince Gassi, as well as Randall Standridge, Grand Mesa president Walter Cummings, and FJH composers Travis Weller and Brian Balmages.

cab

The “Barnhouse Party Bus,” on the way to dinner

maggianoAgain our day was capped off witbarney awardh a fantastic meal, this time at Maggiano’s Little Italy courtesy of C.L. Barnhouse. It’s in a great historic building that probably dates to the 20’s. To our surprise Stanton’s along with RBC Music of Texas were honored with the presentation of the “Barney” Award in recognition of our long relationship in selling and promoting Barnhouse titles. A much appreciated and heartfelt presentation was given by James Swearingen. I also got to hear a number of fantastic (and hilarious) stories about Chuck Barnhouse since I was seated between Barnhouse president Andy Clark and Ed Peterson of Omega Recordings, the company that records the Washington Winds.

That’s all for today from The Windy City (or Gotham if you’re a fan of the Christopher Nolan Batman Trilogy).

About the Author
Ken is a former band director, and has been with Stanton’s since 2004. He is thrilled to have had gelato and fantastic cheesecake for dessert over the past two nights! Seriously, Cheesecake Factory – meh.


Live from The Midwest Clinic – Day 1 18 December, 2014

20141217_155226

Ryan Nowlin & Stanton’s band guru Kent White

20141217_155226

Ryan Nowlin & Stanton’s band guru Kent White

20141217_095909by Ken Tilger, Band Education Specialist

Sweet Home Chicago

Greetings from the exhibit hall at the 2014 Midwest Clinic! After a full day of set up on Tuesday (check out our time lapse video here), I am excited to share Stanton’s Midwest debut.

20141217_155226

Ryan Nowlin & Stanton’s band guru Kent White

While exhibit hall traffic was light on our first day, things began to pick up after 1:00 pm as more band and orchestra directors, students and parents began to arrive. As always, it is fun to see some of our Ohio and Kentucky friends and educators at national (and international) conferences. Band directors from Westerville, New Bremen, Lexington (OH), and Louisville, KY were among some of the familiar faces on the first day, along with Ohio State, Capital, and Baldwin Wallace having booths here as well. In addition, we were thrilled to be visited by composer and Columbus native Roger Cichy, educator and 2014 Capital Reading Clinic guest Paula Crider, and Ohio native and staff arranger for “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band Ryan Nowlin. Stay tuned for a Q&A post with First Lieutenant Nowlin in the near future!

Of course, professional conferences are about making new friends and bringing sheet music to the masses, but they are also great opportunities to speak with our publisher representatives (and sometimes CEOs!) face-to-face about new music, textbooks, and other products, talk about specific ways to improve service, and catch some music industry scoop.

The day was capped off with excellent food. The Stanton’s staff is happy to recommend RBC Steakhouse, and Café Bionda where I had fantastic southern Italian cuisine (and gelato!).

That’s all for now. Stay tuned for our Day 2 recap tomorrow!

About the Author
Ken is a former band director, and has been with Stanton’s since 2004. He is excited to introduce his son to some favorite Christmas specials this year including How the Grinch Stole Christmas, A Charlie Brown Christmas, and Christmas Eve on Sesame Street. Vintage!


Combo Concerts: Band or Orchestra and Choir 12 December, 2014

Recommended by Rachel Steele, School Choral Specialist

The concert schedule foband and choirr lots of schools is the same year-in and year-out.  Consider shaking things up this year with a “combo” concert!  Combine your groups across levels (imagine how big your band will be with students grades 5-12!) or across genres (your 6th grade choir would love to sing a piece or a medley with your high school jazz band!).

Whether it is a holiday performance, patriotic salute, or end of the year celebration, there is no more powerful statement to your community than a performance that features both your instrumental and vocal performing ensembles.  Show your parents, administrators, and school board members how many lives you and your colleagues touch, and give your students an experience that they will remember for years to come.

Dry Your Tears, Afrika – Music by John Williams, choral adaptation by Audrey Snyder, band and strings arrangements by Paul Lavenderdry your tears afrika

This arrangement from the moving 1997 movie Amistad features poetry by Bernard Dadie in the Mende language, and music by arguably the greatest film composer of all time, John Williams.  Since the choral is available in a variety of versions, this can be done with children’s choir, middle school choir, high school choir or any combination.  In addition, the available String Pak means that your orchestra and/or band could play.  Present this with sensitive program notes, appropriate readings or even excerpts of the film – your students will gain a new perspective on the history involved in this amazing music.

***For more advanced orchestral/choral groups, consider the John Williams Signature Edition of this piece for orchestra, SATB Choir and Children’s Choir.

SATB (08741425) – $1.95               SAB  (08741426) – $1.95               2 Part (08741427) – $1.95

Concert Band (04001735) – $70.00               String Pak (04626104) – $40.00

***John Williams Signature Edition, including orchestral & choral parts (04490084) – $375.00

Carols From the British Isles – arr. Douglas Wagner

carols from the british islesI love this carol medley specifically because it uses carols that are not overdone, but still common enough that your audience will recognize the tunes.  Included are “Suogan,” “I Saw Three Ships,” “Good People All, This Christmastime,” and “The Seven Joys of Mary.”  Since the band arrangement and choral arrangement(s) can be done as stand alone pieces, take some time to analyze where you may want to eliminate the melody in the instrumental (so as to feature the choir), or eliminate the chorals for a section to feature your instrumentalists.  The variety of voicings available for the choirs make this piece very do-able for most middle school or high school groups.  The Grade 3 band arrangement should be a cinch for your high school students, and could be playable by a strong middle school group as well.   Students will need the ability to play and sing in 6/8 time, while rhythms and ranges are moderate.

SATB (41762) – $1.85               SAB (41763) – $1.85               SSA (41764) – $1.85

Concert Band (39540) – $65.00

Armed Forces: Pride of America – arr. Larry Clark and Greg Gilpin

armed forces pride of america4th of July, Memorial Day, Veteran’s Day – we get calls each year for service medleys that can be performed at all of these occasions.  Our instrumental staff is a fan of this arrangement; it has some great quotations of Sousa marches in between the songs for each branch of the service.  Though written primarily for concert band,  there are reproducible string parts that come with the concert band arrangement.  At just under 7 minutes, it can be a bit of chop buster but this is the ONLY arrangement that features the songs of all 5 service branches. It also encourages audience participation by including a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance and the singing of the National Anthem.  A solid piece for all organizations to have in their music libraries.

SATB (CM8973) – $2.75     SAB (CM8974) – $2.75     2 Part (CM8975) – $2.75     TTBB (CM8976) – $2.75

Concert Band w/ reproducible String Parts (CPS61) – $90.00

If you feel your group is ready for a traditional classical experience, try Schubert’s “Mass in G” or Vivaldi’s “Gloria.”  Both are about 20-30 minutes in length, although doing just the “Gloria in Excelsis” movement of the “Gloria” is an option.  One of the representatives in our choral department will be happy to help you if you’d like more information on pursuing either of these large works.

For more recommendations, give us a call at 1-800-42-MUSIC or email us at choral@stantons.com  Previous posts in this series : Men’s Combo Concerts; Women’s Combo Concerts; High School Choir w/ Children’s Choir

Rachel Steele has been working in the choral department at Stanton’s since 2013.  She previously taught middle school and high school band and choir for 13 years, and holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in music education from The Ohio State University.  Currently a member of the Heisey Wind Ensemble and a musician at Epiphany Lutheran Church (Pickerington, OH,) Rachel also enjoys reading, sewing, baking and the Pittsburgh Steelers!


Behind the Scenes: It’s That Time of Year… 04 December, 2014

by Ken Tilger, Band Education Specialist –

The holidays are already upon us. Thanksgiving has come and gone, and Christmas and Hanukkah are just around the corner. For the Stanton’s staff it means that convention season is also here! This winter we will be exhibiting (and selling!) music at music educators’ professional conferences in New York (NYSSMA), Michigan (MMC), Ohio (OMEA), Kentucky (KMEA), and, for the first time, The Midwest Clinic. These conferences are a great opportunity to talk shop directly with our expert staff, meet customers face-to-face that we may recognize by name (and voice!), and besides, it gets us out of the store! Ever wonder how our 6-8 booths of music get to your state conference? Check out the slideshow below to see how we pull, pack, and transport thousands of sheet music titles and accessory items, and if we’re exhibiting at your conference be sure to stop by the Stanton’s booth (under the big blue balloon) and say “hello”!

Click to view slideshow.

About the Author:
Ken is a former band director, and has been with Stanton’s since 2004. All he wants for Christmas is a Pittsburgh Penguins tuque, Guardians of the Galaxy on blu-ray, and some heavy-duty outerwear so he can play in the snow with his son this winter!


Behind the Scenes: Picking School Choral Promotions 01 December, 2014

music listening 2By Rachel Steele, School Choral Specialist

A few months ago, my colleague in the instrumental department, Ken Tilger, wrote a post about how that department picks the items for their promotions.  Not to be outdone, I’d like to take the opportunity to let you know how I and my partner in crime, Jen Sper, pick the items for our school choral promotions.

In late winter or early spring, publishers begin to send us their new releases for fall.  We get stacks of music (with demo CDs) to review from Hal Leonard (including Shawnee, Walton, Boosey & Hawkes, G. Schirmer, Pavane, Fred Bock etc.), Alfred (including Lawson-Gould), Lorenz (including Santa Barbara and Heritage), Carl Fischer (including BriLee), Hinshaw, Alliance, and a few other smaller publishers.  If you are thinking “Wow, that is quite a bit of music,” you’d be correct.  In fact, if you assign each piece an average listening/evaluation time of 3.5 minutes, we spend about 2,200 minutes, or 48 hours, or 6 full working  days (no lunch or potty breaks!) listening to more than 800 new releases.  For more data on our listening, scroll to the bottom.

When we listen, we’re not only keeping an ear out for our in-house promotions, but also for selections for our clinics (such as Stanton’s Super Session and Excellence in Choral Literature), OMEA Large Group Select Suggestions, and even music for Christmas, graduation and other special occasions.

music listening 3Round 1

Jen and I sit with the octavo in front of us and listen to every single selection from beginning to end.  We write our impressions on the cover of the octavo, usually just a few choice words or phrases.  After this, a piece goes into either the “no” or the “maybe” pile.  Our “no” pile is quite a bit larger than our “maybe” pile.  We consider it a good release if 25-30% of a publisher’s titles end up in the “maybe” category.

Round 2

Now that we’ve combed through the riff-raff, it’s time to consider the balance of our selections for our in-house promotions.  We sort our “maybe” pile by voicing, and then by genre.    Just like good concert programing, we are looking for a variety of styles – current pop, classic pop, broadway, folk songs, spirituals, world/multi-cultural, holiday music and various foreign languages.

Round 3

Now it’s time to play through selections at the piano.  We grab a genre and play through, looking for things like:

1.  Is it well written/voiced in all parts?

2.  Will students/teachers get something educational out of this?

3.  Is it enjoyable to sing/play/teach?

4.  Is it appropriate for school?

5.  Will it appeal to a wide variety of customers?

6.  If the song is available in multiple voicings, is one better than the other?  Why?

The answers to these questions will usually make our choices pretty clear, and then it’s time to make our lists, spreadsheets, and the actual promotional materials that you receive in your mailbox!

Promotions by the numbers 2014By the Numbers – This table shows the number of pieces that we promoted this year by publisher, and the percentage of their total offerings that we promoted.  You’ll see that even those publishers with the highest percentage of promoted items rarely break the 30% mark.

Other Points of Interest

  • Jen and I only look at promotions for school choral.  We have two other people who work specifically on selections for church choirs, and they have even more selections to listen to than we do!
  • While it might sound like a cushy job to sit and listen to music for 8 hours a day, it can be mentally exhausting after a while.
  • No, we don’t always agree, but you’d be amazed at how often 2 very opinionated people say the EXACT same thing about a particular piece.
  • If there is something that one of us truly believes is worth fighting for, the other one will generally give in.
  • The best part about the process is discovering a new piece that is just amazing!

We believe that devoting quite a bit of time and effort to this process is very important.   The 75 or so selections that make the cut are things that we recommend to you, our valued customers, for the entire school year. If you have questions about this process (or would like some recommendations), please feel free to give us a call at 1-800-42-MUSIC, ext. 1.

Rachel Steele has been working in the choral department at Stanton’s since 2013.  She previously taught middle school and high school band and choir for 13 years, and holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in music education from The Ohio State University.  Currently a member of the Heisey Wind Ensemble and a musician at Epiphany Lutheran Church (Pickerington, OH,) Rachel also enjoys reading, sewing, baking and the Pittsburgh Steelers!


Folksong Stories by John Feierabend 25 November, 2014

tailor and the mouse crabfish

Folksong Stories

by John Feierabend

Recommended by Rachel Steele, School Music Specialist

We often get requests from elementary teachers who need materials that help them promote reading and literacy in their lessons.  John Feirabend, a leading specialist in early childhood music education, is also an ardent advocate of preserving America’s folk heritage.  He has created 10 beautifully illustrated children’s books based on well-known song stories and folk songs.  GIA, the publisher of these books, has made recordings of all the songs available as free downloads on their website.  If your current budget is tight, consider recommending these to your school librarian, classroom teachers, or parent teacher association, who can make them available to both you and your students!

The Crabfish     G-6535……………………………………………………………………………………….$16.95

The Derby Ram     G-7690………………………………………………………………………………….$16.95

Father Grumble     G-7416………………………………………………………………………………….$16.95

The Frog and the Mouse     G-7844…………………………………………………………………….$16.95

My Aunt Came Back     G-7178……………………………………………………………………………$16.95

The Other Day I Met a Bear     G-8585……………………………………………………………….$16.95

Risseldy, Rosseldy     G-8121………………………………………………………………………………$16.95

The Tailor and the Mouse     G-8122…………………………………………………………………..$16.95

There Was a Man and He Was Mad     G-7179…………………………………………………….$16.95

There’s a Hole in the Bucket     G-8454……………………………………………………………….$16.95

More suggestions for early childhood, literacy in music class, and other general music materials are available by calling 1-800-42-MUSIC ex. 1.  We’d also love to see you in the store!  We are open 9-5 Mon.-Fri. and 9-4 on Saturdays.

Rachel Steele has been working in the choral department at Stanton’s since 2013.  She previously taught middle school and high school band and choir for 13 years, and holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in music education from The Ohio State University.  Currently a member of the Heisey Wind Ensemble and a musician at Epiphany Lutheran Church (Pickerington, OH,) Rachel also enjoys reading, sewing, baking and the Pittsburgh Steelers!


Behind the Scenes: Writing Up the Young Band Promotion 24 November, 2014

by Ken Tilger, Band Education Specialist –

Way back in August and September (you know – when it was warm) I wrote a couple of Behind the Scenes posts: “Picking Band Promotions” and “What I Listen For”. Both dealt with choosing new band titles to promote. The next step after the titles have been chosen is creating new write-ups for them. Since I am responsible for the write-ups for our young band selections, they are what we’re going to focus on in this post.

calvin376_2I’m sure you’ve encountered publisher write-ups that range from slight insight into thematic and programming aspects of pieces to virtually no real information at all. They vary in quality and detail from publisher to publisher, and generally don’t present much in the way of music teaching elements or skills required to perform a work. As music educators teaching developing players, you know that establishing a solid foundation and helping students achieve success is important. As a former band director and occasional private teacher, I can’t imagine trying to select pieces without much idea about what can be taught or what students need to be able to do to play them. This is why the Stanton’s band staff creates our own write-ups for every piece we promote!

snoopyWith the young band titles, I try to strike a balance between musical skills, teaching opportunities, and programming uses and ideas while throwing in fun little twists that (hopefully) make them worth reading. Musically I tend to focus on rhythmic complexity, style, meter, key changes (if any), form (repeats, multiple endings, D.S., D.C., etc.), and aspects that address ensemble playing and musical growth. From a programming standpoint, I not only try to address the thematic idea behind a piece and any co-curricular applications (i.e. historical events), but how it can be used to create variety within a concert program for the teacher, the audience and the players. These aspects not only contribute to your students’ overall education, but enhance their musicianship as well. We’re always looking for pieces that stand out not just musically, but that are unique and interesting to present. Of course the challenge is to incorporate all these elements in a write-up that is informative, digestible, and short enough to fit in our print promotion (about 3 lines in length).

I hope this post gives you more insight into our process of selecting the best new music, and that it encourages you to spend some time with our promotions. If you haven’t, dig up your recent copy amongst the myriad paperwork, reeds, and publisher promotions on your desk and crack the cover. More than just presenting our “choices” I hope you find our write-ups useful in selecting new music, and helpful in your lesson planning and concert programming.

About the Author:
Ken is a former band director, and has been with Stanton’s since 2004. He has been providing write-ups for Stanton’s young band promotions since 2005. He hopes you find them informative, helpful, and (somewhat) entertaining!


Join Stanton’s at the 2014 Midwest Clinic! 21 November, 2014

Midwest-Clinic-Masthead

 

 

 

Stanton’s Sheet Music is excited to announce that for the first time in our 50+ year history, we will be exhibiting at The Midwest Clinic, December 17-20, 2014!

Join band specialists Kent White and Ken Tilger, “The Jazz Guy” Ben Huntoon, and orchestra specialist Dan Clark, along with technology guru/computer ninja David Ginter and Stanton’s Sheet Music President Eric Strouse at McCormick Place, Booth #1037. Browse and shop hundreds of titles for wind band, orchestra, jazz ensemble, and solo & ensemble, while taking advantage of their combined 100+ years of sheet music expertise. Trivia, useless knowledge, and jokes provided free of charge!

We look forward to seeing you in Chicago!

The Lowdown
The Midwest Clinic
December 17-20, 2014
McCormick Place
Chicago, IL

Booth #1037

Exhibit Hall Hours:
Wednesday, 9:30 am – 5:00 pm
Thursday, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Friday, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm


Stanton’s LIVE!: 2014 New Band Music Reading Clinic Recap 20 November, 2014

by Ken Tilger, Band Education Specialist -

The 13th annual Wind Band Invitational and New Band Music Reading Clinic was held November 14-15 at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio. This two-day event featured the reading of 70 of the best new pieces for band with a total of 90 works performed! In addition, 134 students from 59 schools participated in the Honors Wind Ensemble under the direction of Paula Crider and Honors Concert Band directed by Jeffrey Gershman and James Swearingen.

Pickerington HS NorthThe New Music Reading Clinic consisted of 3 reading sessions, 2 by the Directors’ Reading Band; 1 with the Capital University Wind Symphony, covering 61 new band titles from grade 0.5-4.5. Instead of the professional gloss of publisher preview recordings, band directors heard the titles as they were sight-read by live musicians and sight-read some themselves. This is a great way to preview new music in detail, get programming ideas, and network with colleagues after the long marching band season. In addition to the reading sessions, other new titles were presented in a fantastic guest concert performance by the Pickerington High School North Symphonic Winds under the direction of Marc Parulekar.

The Wind Band Invitational featured 4 more concert performances including the Capital University Symphonic Winds, Capital University Wind Symphony, Honors Concert Band, and Honors Wind Ensemble. The honors bands are a wonderful opportunity for some of the best high school players from around Ohio to perform together and work with world-renowned conductors and clinicians, while the university concerts present some of the most challenging repertoire for wind band performed at the highest level.

If you missed this year’s reading clinic, head over to Stanton’s Virtual Workshop – you can view the reading sessions there, and catch footage from the second Directors’ Band session.  You can also check out our previous reading sessions for more great programming ideas, and keep reading our blog for more Stanton’s LIVE events!

About the Author:
Ken is a former band director, and has been with Stanton’s since 2004. He is thankful for his family (especially his 2 year old son), his day gig in the music industry, and that he still gets to play the saxophone.  Oh, and pie!


New from Broadway Jr. and Getting To Know 18 November, 2014

broadway jr

logoG2KOur friends at Hal Leonard, MTI, and Rogers & Hammerstein Inc. have some great new choices for you in their “Broadway Junior” and “Getting To Know”  series.  Purchasing the performance pack listed for each show includes everything you need to produce it and grants you the rights to perform it as many times as you like with one year.  Take a look at these latest offerings that your students and audience members will love!

getting to know sound of musicGetting to Know “The Sound of Music”by Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein II

The final collaboration between Rodgers & Hammerstein – The Sound of Music – was destined to become the world’s most beloved musical. When a postulant proves too high-spirited for the religious life, she is dispatched to serve as governess for the seven children of a widowed naval Captain. Her growing rapport with the youngsters, coupled with her generosity of spirit, gradually captures the heart of the stern Captain, and they marry. Upon returning from their honeymoon they discover that Austria has been invaded by the Nazis, who demand the Captain’s immediate service in their navy. The family’s narrow escape over the mountains to Switzerland on the eve of World War II provides one of the most thrilling and inspirational finales ever presented in the theater. The motion picture version remains the most popular movie musical of all time.

Preview Pack (00124211) ………………………………………………………………$15.00

Performance Pack (08754014)………………………………………………………..$650.00

Shrek jrShrek, Jr.by Jeanine Tesori

In a faraway kingdom, the green ogre Shrek finds his swamp invaded by banished fairytale misfits, runaways who’ve been cast off by Lord Farquaad, a tiny terror with big ambitions. When Shrek sets off with a wise-cracking donkey to confront Farquaad, he’s handed a task – if he rescues feisty Princess Fiona from the Dragon-guarded tower, his swamp will be returned to him. But, a fairy tale wouldn’t be complete without unexpected twists and turns along the way.

Preview Pack (00127656)……………………………………………………………… $10.00

Performance Pack (00127646) ………………………………………………………. $645.00

hairsprayjr. jpgHairspray Jr.Marc Shaiman

It’s 1962, and spunky plus-size teen Tracy Turnblad has one big dream — to dance on the popular Corny Collins Show. When she finally gets her shot, she’s transformed from social outcast to sudden star. In balancing her new-found power with her desire for justice, Tracy fights to dethrone the reigning Miss Teen Hairspray, Amber von Tussle, and integrate a TV network in the process. With the help of her outsized mom, Edna, and guest DJ Motormouth Maybelle, the rhythm of Tracy’s new beat just might prove unstoppable.

Preview Pack (00123343)………………………………………………………………..$10.00

Performance Pack (099717310)……………………………………………………….$645.00

 

If you’ve never worked with a Broadway Jr. show before, click here to read our previous post on the “how to’s,”  and here for some alternatives if you aren’t ready for a production that’s quite this big.  Questions?  Give us a call at 1-800-42-MUSIC, and we’ll be happy to assist you!

 


Combo Concerts: Mixed Groups/Children’s Choir 14 November, 2014

The concert schedule for lots of schools is the same year-in and year-out.  Consider shaking things up this year with a “combo” concert!  Combine your groups across levels (imagine how big your band will be with students grades 5-12!) or across genres (your 6th grade choir would love to sing a piece or a medley with your high school jazz band!).

Combo Concerts: Mixed Choir with Elementary Choir

Recommended by Rachel Steele, School Choral Specialist

Recruiting, like it or not, is part of the music teacher’s job.  Not only do lots of ensemble members ensure that you will have a choir (and a job,) it brings the music community just a little closer to our goal of making music education a part of every student’s academic career.  When you invite your elementary choir to be a part of a concert with your secondary students, you can show them a glimpse of what the0. choral music experience can give them as they become more mature musicians.  Just as importantly, it shows the parents of those students what they will be able to do in a few years if they continue their musical education.  Make your elementary students feel special by billing them as “Special Guest Artists” on your program, flyers and other communications.  Prior to the concert, pair them up with a high school student for a side-by-side rehearsal.  Elementary students will be in awe of the older kids, and you high schoolers will love being mentors for a day!

grow little treeGrow Little Tree - by Andrea Ramsey  2 Part  SBMP1170

Perfect for graduation or anytime of the year, this unique arrangement is tailor-made for children’s choir, but subject matter (the potential in each human being,) is appropriate for all ages.  Written for two part treble, it works well with adult women and children, though thoughtful part assignments/re-voicing could allow your men to participate as well.  In this case, it bears remembering that voicing does not always indicate difficulty level.  Give your elementary students plenty of time to learn this sometimes tricky melody, and make sure your older students are rock solid to lend support if needed.

Will you teach meWill You Teach Meby Victor C. Johnson  SATB 15/2682H (available 2 Part, SSA and 3 Part Mixed)

Beautiful melodies are the hallmark of Victor Johnson’s work, and this is an exceptionally fine example.  A terrific piece in defense of arts education without being preachy or obvious, the text talks about teaching our children how to imagine, dream, laugh, cry and even fail.  The oboe part (included in the octavo,) adds greatly to the texture.  Feature your elementary choir in unison on the opening solo, then share the soprano and alto parts with your older members.  If this causes a balance issue, consider using the three part mixed version and having all of your men sing part 3 together.

look at the worldLook at the Worldby John Rutter SATB and/or Children’s Choir  HMC1527

No need to alter parts or make adjustments here, it is all laid out for you.  Although this piece is sacred in nature, the sentiments expressed are nearly universal.  Each of the 4 verses is sung in unison, leaving endless possibilities for featuring different choirs, small groups or soloists.  The chorus is in four part harmony, giving a change of texture for each verse.  An instrumentation is also available (Double woodwind quintet and strings HMC1527A,) so invite some of your school’s orchestra to join you as well.

Let There Be Peace on Eartharr. Hawley Ades  SATB 35012617 (also available TTBB, SAB, SSA, 2 Part, Concert Band and Full Orchestra)

let there be peace on earthThe various voicings available for this piece are intended to be performed together, so grab as many choirs as you can and shout this sentiment from the rooftops!  Secular in nature, this piece is perfect for the holiday season (especially if you aren’t able to do sacred music,) or any time of the year.  The first section features a small group of singers echoing the chorus, which can be done in a multitude of ways.  Feature your children’s choir,  your seniors, or even a group of faculty, alumni or parents.  An oldie but a goodie!

hope for resolutionHope for ResolutionPaul Caldwell and Sean Ivory  SATB w/Children’s Chorus

This powerful work is dedicated to the winners of the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize, Nelson Mandela and F.W. DeClerk, leaders who worked together to end apartheid in South Africa.  While it’s format can look intimidating, it is really quite simple to put together.  The first half is a three part canon in English using the classic text “Of the Father’s Love Begotten.” The second half is a fairly simple SATB setting of a South African freedom song in Zulu.  Layered on top of this is a unison part that is the same melody featured in the canon.  Combining the choral singing traditions of Europe and Africa, the composers mirror the work of DeClerk and Mandela.  Voice the round however is easiest for you, then have your children sing the unison part while your older students tackle the SATB.  This is a joyful way to end any concert, and guaranteed to make moms cry!

For more recommendations for children’s choir or combination concerts, give us a call at 1-800-42-MUSIC or email us at choral@stantons.com  Previous posts in this series : Men’s Combo Concerts; Women’s Combo Concerts

Rachel Steele has been working in the choral department at Stanton’s since 2013.  She previously taught middle school and high school band and choir for 13 years, and holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in music education from The Ohio State University.  Currently a member of the Heisey Wind Ensemble and a musician at Epiphany Lutheran Church (Pickerington, OH,) Rachel also enjoys reading, sewing, baking and the Pittsburgh Steelers!


Stanton’s Spotlight: The Spirit of Thanksgiving 13 November, 2014

by Ken Tilger, Band Education Specialist –

“Lyrical settings by Robert Sheldon are always worth your time”.

thanksgiv-dayThis is how I chose to begin my write-up for this title, and in short, enough said. Sheldon has a propensity for writing full, lush harmonic arrangements that are great vehicles for developing ensemble musicianship – especially for young bands. Look no further than his gorgeous An Australian Sea Ballad for additional proof.

In the case of The Spirit of Thanksgiving, he has not only woven together two very familiar hymn tunes (We Gather TogetherPraise God from Whom All Blessings Flow) in a lovely concert presentation, but given us a wonderful programming option. While haunting Halloween and celebratory Christmas selections are a dime a dozen, finding a work that highlights the uniqueness and gratitude of Thanksgiving is all but impossible. Soft and reflective, yet powerful, this work is a poignant lyrical programming selection that is perfect for fall or Christmas/holiday concerts. The hymn tunes that are the basis for this work make it a wonderful choice for religious schools, as well.

Musically The Spirit of Thanksgiving is much more than your standard hymn setting. Each of the hymns is in a different time signature – the work moves from 3/4 to 4/4, then back, and there is a key change from concert Bb to F. Of course, the opportunities to develop dynamic shading, group phrasing, and ensemble blend and balance are present as well. To top it off, this piece also correlates to Book 2, Level 2 of the Sound Innovations band method.

Do yourself a favor, and give this piece a listen, then pick up a copy. Even if you don’t use it this year, think how pleasantly surprised you’ll be when you “discover” it in your library next year. It’s one that I would pick up on its programming merits alone. It’s also one that I consider a “sleeper” – no, not one to snooze through – rather a great piece that too many directors will overlook because it doesn’t stand out in all the usual ways. Instead, it stands out in all the right ways, and that’s something to be thankful for.

The Spirit of Thanksgiving
arr. Robert Sheldon
Grade 1.5
Catalog # 41910          $48.00
Lyrical settings by Robert Sheldon are always worth your time.  Blending We Gather Together and Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow, he has created a lush, stirring ballad perfect for fall programming, as well as religious schools.  Dynamic shading, group phrasing, and ensemble blend and balance can be addressed, in addition to flowing, lyrical playing; each hymn is in a different time signature (3/4 & 4/4); the piece also contains 1 key change (Bb to F) on the powerful climax to a touching, maestoso ending.  Correlates to Sound Innovations, Book 2, Level 2.

About the Author:
Ken is a former band director, and has been with Stanton’s since 2004. He is thankful for his family (especially his 2 year old son), his day gig in the music industry, and that he still gets to play the saxophone.  Oh, and pie!