New! – A long time coming…This much-anticipated fourth volume in the Teaching Music through Performance in Orchestra series arrives 13 years after the publication of the previous volume, with a new team of authors, each at the top of their profession. While the team is new, the book remains an essential reference for today’s string teachers and conductors. Contains new and pertinent chapters/topics for string teachers and analysis of 92 compositions. #G-9729. Price still to be released by publisher GIA. Click here for more!
New!- Rehearsing the Middle School Orchestra – Sandy Goldie – #295368 – $29.95 Top directors share their secrets and tips for the middle school orchestra. Each author also divulges their list of personal favourite works, composers and arrangers. Click here for more!
New! – The Horizon Leans Forward…Stories of Courage, Strength and Triumph of Underrepresented Communities in the Wind Band Field – by Erik Leung and published by GIA. Erik is Canadian, and now at Oregon State. With contributors Jodie Blackshaw, Alex Shapiro, Robert Taylor and more this book actually started out as a celebration of women in wind band, but transitioned further into the ethnic diversity and talent found amongst underrepresented cultures in wind music. Includes; insights from female, LGBTQ, and band directors of colour, the effect of racism in band music, the importance of diversity and inclusion, and a bibliography of 200 lesser known composers and their works that deserve to be on the radar, if they are not already. I’m pleased we’ve selected and featured many of these titles over the years, but there are many more to be discovered. GIA calls this one of the most significant and monumental books they have provided. In stock. $55. An in depth youtube video is here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_oocBrnDLTk&t=353s
Essential Elements Guitar Ensembles – Guitar classes can be a popular form of teaching music, even more so in Covid time, but they don’t always provide an ensemble experience like found in band or choir. Essential Elements Guitar Ensembles provide a wide array of ensemble literature to keep your guitar students engaged not just as solo players but as ensemble members, while learning many musical styles from classical to jazz to rock. There are five difficulty levels from Mid Beginner to Late Intermediate Advanced so these work from the youngest players to the strongest players. If students are part way through a guitar method book they can begin the ensembles, and enjoy playing with other students. In our current Covid situation connecting with others can elevate students’ wellbeing and reinforce the human experience, and ensembles help kindle that. Prices range from $11.95 – $17.95.
The songs in the Essential Elements Guitar Ensemble Series are playable by multiple guitars. Each arrangement features the melody (lead), a harmony part, and a bass line. Chord symbols are also provided if you wish to add a rhythm part. For groups with more than three or four guitars, the parts may be doubled. This series has over 20 books and is perfect for classroom guitar ensembles or other group guitar settings. A handful are shown below with a Closer Look feature, to see all the ensembles see here; https://musicdirect.ca/product-category/ensemblescollections/ee-guitar-ensembles/ For a short youtube video click here; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ao_zqnfj3fU This is from the Classical Themes book (second picture below). For a youtube video on the Top Songs 2010-2019 (last picture) please click here; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hLmkNvGuOI4
New! – MERV-13 bell covers are now available! MERV-13 filtration stems from the furnace industry and represents a higher level of filtration in a bell cover. These are washable and reusable. Think of it like a coffee filter type material inserted via a slit in the back of the cover. The MERV filter adds about $3 – $5 to the cost of a bell cover. Who ever thought we’d be bandying about terms like furnace filters or coffee filters? If it keeps everyone safe, its all good! And when done with Covid bell covers make great shower caps! The smaller ones work as puppy booties! https://musicdirect.ca/product-category/covid-supplies/bell-covers/
New! – Listening Excerpts to Develop Band Musicianship – Jim Childers – #G-10177 – $37.95. Jim Childers does the hard work of classifying the top wind band recordings (many from the Teaching Music Through Performance series) to provide efficient excerpts for just the right concept. When Jim says he has taken a ton of time to find these excerpts he is not kidding. Wow! Samples of representative tone of all instruments are just the beginning. Wished you had samples of subito dynamics? He’s provided the source of 43 recorded samples. How about samples of staccato? He provides 37. Or 43 examples of “Shaping a phrase.” The list goes on and on… As Jim says “Small doses of listening give big results.” Perhaps with our current situation there is more time for listening. This book can help, it’s really an amazing resource. Jim has 6 videos that explain aspects of this reference. The 5th video wraps up much of his work, see here; https://youtu.be/Uvjz44JOYXA?t=36Click below to access the table of contents.
New! – The Seal Lullaby for Flex Band – Eric Whitacre arr. Robert Ambrose – #04006898 – $109. This Whitacre classic can be performed by: concert band (as few as 6 wind players), brass ensemble, clarinet choir, sax choir, woodwind choir. For this and more Flex music click here https://musicdirect.ca/product-category/flex-band/
Happy New Year! Please see below for resources recently released to help make our New Year better…
New! – Easy Flex-Band. Michael Sweeney and the band department at Hal Leonard have created a new easy (grade 1.5) version of Flex-Band. Instead of 5 parts and percussion it’s just 4 parts and percussion. Ranges and rhythms are more accessible. One other new flex feature is that they will now all have grade levels which will really help the director in the selection process. While there are over 140 of the more difficult Flex titles, at this time the list for Easy-Flex has 5 titles (Celtic Air and Dance as shown is one of them) but look to see more in this new series. For a collection of over 300 flex titles for all grade levels click here https://musicdirect.ca/product-category/flex-band/ And for Flexible ensembles click here https://musicdirect.ca/product-category/solosensemblescollections/
New! – Gibraltar Hi Hat Sanitizer Station Kit – #00359735 – $49 The Hi Hat Sanitizing Station allows you to turn your hi hat stand into a cool, fun hands-free sanitizing station. This simple two piece set up connects to your upper hi hat tube, and clutch, and activates a hand sanitizer pump by stepping on the hi hat pedal. As students enter and exit the room they play a note like below on the Hi Hat helping the group achieve a clean groove befitting our times!
– DIY hands free sanitizing station – Bottle holder box with stand clamp – Sanitizer pump bottle – Pump arm – attaches to hi hat clutch
Available soon. Taking pre-orders now.
Every December The Midwest Clinic premieres many new offerings in the music education world and although the recent conference was virtual, there was much that was debuted. Please see below for some highlights;
New! – Teaching Music Through Performance in Band Volume 12 book – #G-10349 Available February 2021, taking pre-orders now. Carrying on the tradition of this wonderful series Volume 12 headlines as the indispensable resource for the wind band profession.
New! – Rehearsing the Jazz Band- Papich and Adamsons – #327344 – $32.95 With chapters by Gordon Goodwin, John Clayton, Greg Yasinitsky, Ellen Rowe
New! – Rehearsing the Choir – Stephen Sieck – #295712 – $32.95 If we could sit down with some of the best choral conductors of our time, what might we learn? See this video for a brief review https://youtu.be/oLwExwXcNTU
New! – Teaching Instrumental Music (Second Edition) – Developing the Complete Band Program – Shelley Jagow – #G-10377 – $74.95 Saskatchewan’s Shelley Jagow brings a revised version of this popular book. See the short video from Shelley for more https://youtu.be/jkbsW5_AoJI
New! – World Drumming Jams (A Collection of 6 Drumming Ensembles) – Joel Smales – Kendor Music – #20650 – $39 These 6 ensembles work great for a band or choir class that may not be playing/singing, or a nice change of pace anytime. Each of the six small ensemble pieces (trios & quartets) in this collection offers a fun, exciting way to expose your students to different drumming styles. Each piece includes preparatory exercises, and all pages are reproducible for one school. Great value. To see the contents click here http://www.kendormusic.com/reference_parts/2/20650_part.pdf
Congratulations to the Saskatchewan Band Association and all the performers on a very successful Virtual Holiday Band Concert this December. I’m listening/watching the video again today as I write and I’m totally happy to hear carols again in January. December is best but January is more fitting than May, June and July, the other time I listen to carols amidst the publisher’s new music! A wonderful endeavour bringing together so many musicians young and young in spirit in the only way possible these days. Great to see many friends here too. We are pleased to help support the SBA with the music in this heartwarming virtual get-together. Well done everyone!! Totally enjoyed it!
Our January promotion is back! Spend $200 or more (reduced from $250) and receive a free card from Tim’s or Starbucks. Order double that and the offer is sweetened. This applies to bell covers and singer’s masks, supplies, flex music, bucket music, music of any sort, music folders, anything off our page, or anything not on our page. It won’t arrive through the chimney as that was last month’s delivery method, but will be included with your order. Take a moment for yourself and enjoy a few bevies or lunch.
Thank you for reading. Have a great January in a New Year that perks up!
This year’s provincial music conference will be unlike any before. Music Conference Alberta Online offers 19 valuable sessions in four streams — band, choir, classroom, and studio — between January and April 2021. We invite musicians and music educators from across the province to participate!
Given the many challenges musicians and music educators are facing in these COVID times, the Music Conference Alberta Joint Planning Committee identified accessibility and affordability as top priorities. For that reason, delegates can register for a single stream for $60, 2 streams for $100, or the entire conference for $150. That works out to less than $8 per session.
We also wanted to contribute as little as possible to the Zoom fatigue that many of us are feeling. For that reason, we elected to offer conference sessions/webinars over a period of 4 months. If you’re not able to attend the livestream presentation, most sessions will be recorded and available 30 days later. This offers some flexibility to delegates and ensures they are able to benefit from the wide variety of conference offerings.
Even in these uncertain times, you — Alberta’s musicians and music educators — continue to inspire your students and ensemble members. I believe strongly that those who inspire also need inspiration, and it is my hope that Music Conference Alberta Online will serve as that inspirational resource for many of you.
The first session with Indigenous singer-songwriter Leela Gilday on the Power of Music in “Reconciliation” happens this Saturday!
The best way to support the Alberta Band Association is by renewing your membership to ensure that we have healthy membership numbers to report to the Alberta Foundation for the Arts and other granting agencies. Help us reach our membership target of 300 current and renewed members for 2021! Now more than ever, the ABA is relying on its membership to sustain and support the Association. Memberships expire on August 31.
Music directors deserve huge accolades and admiration for being amongst the most imaginative and adaptable people in the school. This applies at all times, but especially so in our current climate. Thank you for; standing on your head, walking on burning coals, and marching to the unsteady and warped beat of Covid, all to keep the music alive for your students. Remember, you are making a difference. And let’s hope Covid marches off a cliff soon at a brisk and steady 240 bpm. Until that happens please read on…
Our previous post had alternate resources for theory, history, etc. Below are resources that can help elevate a percussion ensemble. Percussion ensembles are one popular way of keeping the music active until back playing and singing, and can be in every music director’s bag of tricks during these times. They are fun, flexible and can work at any grade level. I hope the below may help until back playing.
Many alternative resources were included in our New Music Session which you may view with the link below. If you are back to playing, our new selections are here too of course, for your listening/viewing.
The below are presented roughly from beginning level and progress to grade 4 level. The World Music Drumming resources at bottom work at a broader variety of levels.
The Blast Off! series – easy percussion ensembles at grade 1 to grade 2, easier than the Leopard series or the “sicles” series shown below. The Blast Off collections contain 3 or 4 creative titles in each and work well with elementary or junior high students. There are over 30 different Blast Off collections, Bucket Worx and Metal Worx are popular.
Hand Drumming Ensembles Hand Drumming Ensembles by Cheryl Grosso (Rhythm Charts for Group Performance) – $14.95 This is the companion to the method book Hand Drumming Essentials. This supplemental volume contains twelve complete performance scores of compositions for hand drumming ensemble. These “rhythm chants” are written at a variety of levels and can be learned by young musicians and students, or they can be studied and performed by more proficient musicians. Built on elements of Western and non-Western music, the pieces offer versatility in structure and instrumentation, as well as providing an opportunity for more advanced players to improvise. Available promptly via our Rush Speed/Regular Price service.
Body Percussion Ensembles: Rock Trap – William Schinstine – Kendor Music – grade 3 – $14.95 For four players. Includes knee slapping, finger snapping, hand clapping, whistling, and vocal sounds (two copies of each part provided). Other economical body percussion titles by Schinstine are available; Bossa Nova Without Instruments, Overture for Hans N. Feet, and Scherzo Without Instruments.
Ultimate Body Percussion Workout – Murray Houllif – Kendor Music – grade 3-4 – $46.95 Primarily written for percussion ensembles, all in four distinct parts, these eight selections use all parts of the body to create interesting musical moments. Foot taps, hand claps, finger snaps and other body techniques are all musically explored. Band, orchestra, choral and general music students will also find this concept fun to perform as they help to teach many basic musical and ensemble skills. Other body percussion titles by Houliff include; Three for the Road, Stampede, Rhythm Trip, and Body Jams. Really fun ways to encourage creativity and expression!!
The “Sicles” series of percussion ensemble collections, include 8 titles and contain six percussion parts within (which can be doubled up) and work with percussion instruments found within most band rooms. The sicles work well at high school level, most are grade 2-3, some extend into grade 4. I like collections as they give good value and variety of programming. Groovesicles, Rhythmsicles and Noveltysicles are good ones to start with, there are 10 different “sicles” in total. See all here https://musicdirect.ca/?s=sicles&post_type=product
Sound Percussion – Percussion Ensembles Available for; Snare Drum, timpani, keyboard percussion, multiple percussion – $9.99 each, Conductor – $19.99 each Contains 13 pieces at the grade 3-4 level designed to give your students a valuable percussion performance experience. It synthesizes skills taught in Sound Percussion and can be used as performance music. Sound Percussion arrives within a week via our Rush Speed/Regular Price service. Confirm by Thursday, and we have it the following Tuesday.Titles include: Trumpet Tune; Funeral March / March of the Marionette; Jingle Bells / Parade of the Wooden Soldiers; Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah; Joy to the World / Deck the Halls; Chester / Battle Hymn of the Republic; España Cañi (Spanish Paso Doble); Mama Paquita (Brazilian Folk Song); Sakura/Arirang (Traditional Japanese / Korean Folk Song); The Entertainer; Pomp and Circumstance; Mission Possible and Gears.
World Music Drumming by Will Schmid – songs with online audio access – kid tested for grades 3-12 If your school has access to world drums and also mallet instruments, the below may be of interest. These include optional vocal parts which can be added when your school allows singing again. Available promptly via our Rush Speed/Regular Price service. Book and online audio for grades 3-12 – $29.95
And for some humour….
Racoons are the official animal of 2020. Racoons always wears a mask, they frequently wash their hand (paws), and the letters of racoon rearranged spell corona.
But skunks are the official social distancing creature of Covid. Don’t have a skunk? Paint a white stripe on your black cat, put them on a leash, instant social distancing wherever you go!
This Fall dogs and cats everywhere wonder where did the kids go?
We made it through the first month! Lets hope each successive month gets better and better with more and more music making. Give a shout when you need help and we look forward to assisting whenever you are ready.
Music directors are using a variety of alternative resources to keep the music going this fall. Thank you for your creative work that enables students to have music, in whatever form that may be right now. Maybe we aren’t where we want to be but we will pull through. If you are playing and singing, absolutely great! If not, below are resources that can help until we are back, or can be great supplements at any time. You may also view alternative resources from our session by watching the “movie” via the link provided below;
Here are suggestions for; Music Theory, History, Games, Ear Training and more that work for music classes at a variety of grade levels…
Alfred’s Essentials of Music Theory – a suite of related theory resources that works for a surprisingly wide variety of grade levels. Book 1 and the games are great for younger musicians, book 3 will challenge high school students. Here is a partial list of what is available;
Book 1 (shown below)
Combined book (all three books together – popular for high schools)
Teachers Activity Kit
Alfred’s Essentials of Music Theory is available within 3-5 business days of confirmation. Confirm by Thursday, it’s here the following Tuesday, super quick. The same speed applies to anything from Alfred and Hal Leonard. This prompt service is what we call our weekly Rush Speed/Regular Price service with these two larger publishers (about 75% comes from these two sources collectively).
Excellence in Theory Book 1,2,3
Practical Theory Book 1,2,3
Master Theory Book 1,2,3,4,5,6
Standard of Excellence Music Theory and History – Student Book 1,2,3, and Teacher Book 1,2,3
Games and Flashcards
The below are part of the suite of resources in Alfred’s Essentials of Music Theory mentioned above.
Game – Rhythm
Game – Note Naming
Game – Key Signature (shown below)
Flashcards – Rhythm
Flashcards – Note Naming (shown below)
Flashcards – Key Signature
Alfreds Essentials of Music Theory Ear Training Disc 1 and 2 (CD) This is part of the suite of resources in Alfred’s Essentials of Music Theory mentioned above.
Essentials of Jazz Theory – Shelly Berg
Learn the essentials of jazz music through concise lessons, practice your jazz music reading and writing skills in the exercises, improve your listening and ear training skills with the CDs, and test your knowledge with the review that completes each unit. Prerequisite should be book 1 and 2 of Alfreds Essentials of Music Theory. Available as;
Book and CD Pack – Book 1
Book and CD Pack – Book 2
Book and CD Pack – Book 3
Book and CD Pack – Complete (all 3 volumes together)
Answer Key and 3 CD
Book and CD Pack Complete Self-Study Course
If any of the above interests you just let us know and we will continue for you.
And a bit of humour, because we all can use it…
In 2015 not a single person got the answer correct to “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”
I need more exercise, the buttons on my shirt are starting to socially distance each other.
Homeschool first week: How can I get this kid transferred out of class?
Homeschool second week: I’m not talking to myself, I’m having a parent-teacher conference.
I washed my hands so much that my exam notes from last year showed up.
In an unsettling reversal of our teenage years we are now yelling at our parents for going out.
Drum sticks are the new toilet paper.
As always but especially now, know that you and your music classes are the “light” for many. Thank you for your valour and virtue displayed daily to your students and the school community in these unusual times. Hoping start-up is as smooth as possible.
I wanted to check in with you to see how you are doing. “Hi” and “I care” is the base of this message along with two notes on what’s happening in the future.
This has been a very strange year with teachers having much thrust upon them. I get how difficult that is. It’s like pulling a rabbit out of a hat when you’re not a magician, and without a hat, or building a plane while flying it. Not easy! I hope the “Covid series” emails were somewhat helpful. Three of them with tips and links on distance learning were provided, with some humour. Our staff took to working on our page while at home, and fixed recordings that needed tweaking. That work is now complete and we are pleased to have you browse through our page.
Bottom line, I hope you are doing as good as possible during this challenging time. Remember summer is around the corner and we are all hoping and working towards the best Fall.
Typically we announce two things at this time of year;
1 – June Sale! Whats unique about the June Sale? Delayed billing til Fall. With some current budgets frozen due to Covid-19, delayed billing to next year’s budget is one way of helping. An extra discount is another way of helping. The June Sale applies to everything from supplies to ensembles to full music. Visit it here https://musicdirect.ca
2 – Our Unique New Music Reading Sessions! Our sessions (Calgary, Red Deer, Edmonton – August 24-26) which have been booked for months will transition to a virtual session as there are just too many variables beyond our control. Doing so is in everyone’s best interest. I wish we could see each other face to face. However, we are working hard to make the virtual rendition an outstanding event. In the background, I am doing tons of listening to find great music for it. Come join your colleagues in our annual fun, unique event, with great PD that will make your principal proud.
Please see the date below for the session time:
Music Direct New Music Band Session (Gone Virtual!)
When: Tuesday August 25 – 3:00 pm
Venue: Your screen (pants not optional)
Menu: Your fave bevy and what’s in your fridge
RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org so we have enough watermelon bandwidth. A passcode will be provided.
Here are a couple short videos that may be useful;