Monthly Archives: January 2011

Are you a Gleek?

Glee, the Fox TV show has given new life to [show] choirs, musical theater, all manner of the arts, and school music programs in general all around the country. Who knew that all those 70’s and 80’s classic rock power ballads of years gone by would enjoy such a renewed popularity? That it’s now cool [again] to sing, dance, perform in groups, and be proud of it?

Yet, while it might seem like some crazy phenomenon to some, to us — the educators, the students who have been in music and arts programs for years, and to the professionals who provide all the print music, books, instruments, and much more — we experience our own phenomenon every day. We know the value in what we do, and why it is so important to us. It’s simple. It just matters.

For educators and professionals, it has mattered at nearly every level of our lives. Most of us were students first, of course, so we’ve been involved with music for years, and cannot imagine a life without it. Educators enjoy the euphoric rush of seeing their fledgling individual or group do well in that all-important performance. Professionals in the industry at large know that without the quality goods and services supplied to those groups, that doing well can be more difficult. Therefore, there’s great satisfaction in putting that much sought-after piece of music in the eager hands of the educator, or that shiny new horn in the arms of a novice musician. It matters.

For all those students, in music programs great and small, it matters, too. Music makes you smarter; music may be your oasis; music [groups] can be your socialization; music might be your ultimate relaxation. And that’s the beauty of it, of course. Music is a like a shape-shifter — it can be whatever you want it to be — it doesn’t judge you, and it doesn’t mock you. Music makes you better. It matters.

So, are you on the Glee bandwagon yet? Come on, we know you want to…..Dream On [Queen]; Imagine [John Lennon]; Show your True Colors [Cindy Lauper], Faithfully [Journey]….

Friday’s Focus on Vocal, the series, will post to www.pendersbuzz.com about once a month, with information from our staff, our publisher partners, guest bloggers and more. Come back to this site, or access it from our main Home Page, to find out the latest buzz!

Sing-a-bration is Makin’ a Move!

Exciting, important announcement! The Pender’s Music Company summer choral event, Sing-a-bration, is MOVING! That’s right. Our weekend of workshops that has been held in Grapevine for the last several years is getting a new home, and we’re all pretty excited about it around here, so we wanted to get the word out early to all of you.

We’re moving to Lewisville, TX to the Lewisville Convention Center, aka The Hilton Garden Inn. The dates for 2011 are from Thursday, July 14th through Saturday, July 16th. All workshops, each day (and the Pender’s on-site store), will be held in the convention center meeting space, which is attached to the Hilton Garden Inn. This facility is conveniently located at Exit 447B of Interstate I-35, near the intersection of I-35 and State Highway 121.

We have many reasons to be excited about moving to Lewisville and the Hilton Garden Inn:

  • There is more than enough meeting space for all of our workshops (and the Pender’s store). We’ll all be under ONE roof, for the duration of the event.
  • The Hilton Garden Inn is only three years old. It’s a beautiful hotel, is carpeted throughout, etc. The convention space is attached to the hotel, and can be accessed through an inside corridor near the main lobby, or through its separate main entrance that is adjacent to a huge parking area (free). There will be plenty of room for everyone.
  • In addition to the Hilton Garden Inn, there are several great hotels in the area, and we’ve set aside room blocks at three others, with very reasonable room rates, beginning at $79 per night.
  • The larger meeting space(s) allow us more flexibility in scheduling, and what we’re able to offer each of you. We’ve listened to your feedback, and we have some wonderful plans in store (more on that in a bit).
  • All food and beverage will be catered through the Hilton Garden Inn, which means that the hotel’s catering/convention staff will be there for us, the entire time.
  • We will have a completely separate area set up for lunch, at round tables – and if the weather is good, we may even dine out alfresco, on the Tuscany Garden Patio, with its covered pavilion and fountain.
  • Free wireless internet throughout the meeting space.
  • The Lewisville Convention Center is just minutes from Vista Ridge Mall, many other shopping areas, dozens of restaurants, etc. With Lewisville Lake, golf courses and more, there’s something in the area for everyone.

The NEW Schedule

Thursday, July 14th (9am to 4pm)

The first day remains our traditional Sing-a-bration day – Multi-Publisher workshops, in two tracks – Elementary and Secondary — with Andy Beck (Alfred Publishing Co.), Mary Lynn Lightfoot (Heritage Music Press), and Greg Gilpin (Shawnee Press).

Friday, July 15th (9am to 4pm)

For Day Two, we have something NEW! Yes, it’s still Hal Leonard’s popular Joy of Singing (not to worry), but for the first time ever, this day will ALSO be in two tracks – Choose Elementary or Middle School/High School. The Elementary track WILL include Classroom Reading with Cristi Cary Miller. The other featured clinicians from Hal Leonard, for both tracks, are Roger Emerson, Mac Huff and John Jacobson. We also welcome Denise Eaton for the first time, to round out the Middle School/High School slate of presenters.

Saturday, July 16th (9am to 4pm)

On Day Three, there will be two different workshops, running concurrently – the ever-popular John Jacobson Choreography and Reading session, as well as a full day of Joy of Worship, our church session.

Half of the church session will be presented by Hal Leonard and their affiliated publishers (Brookfield Press, Daybreak Music, Integrity, Fred Bock, and more); the other half will be our Multi-Publisher offerings (Alfred, Beckenhorst, Lorenz, Roger Dean, Shawnee Press, and others). Our clinicians for Joy of Worship will include Joseph Martin and Mary McDonald.

Hotel Information

Here is the information regarding the blocks of rooms that we have set aside for Singabration. Please use the appropriate Group Codes, etc, in order to receive the correct rate.

Hilton Garden Inn (Lewisville Conv Ctr)
785 SH 121
972-459-4600
$129 Group Code PENDER

Hampton Inn & Suites
2650 Lake Vista Dr
972-315-3200
$99 Group Code: PEN

Courtyard Marriott
2701 Lake Vista Drive
972-316-3100
$89 Group Code: Singabration

Comfort Suites
755A Vista Ridge Mall Dr
(972) 315-6464
$79 *Mention Pender’s Music Co.

Piano Teaching and YouTube

The core job description of Piano Teaching has not really changed over the years. If you’re an independent piano teacher, with your own teaching studio, you know what’s included in the qualities that define a good teacher. Beyond the obvious music skills required for the job, and the required equipment (physical space and a piano); you must have good communication skills, be organized, flexible, and willing to work perhaps long and variable hours. In most cases, you need to be able to work with all kinds of people, at all ages – beginners, intermediate students, and advanced-level pupils.  And in order to keep up with the times, you need to be open to new technology, and embrace it in ways that maybe twenty years ago would’ve been surprising to you. Computers and all means of digital media are here to stay, and media, in general, continues to embed itself further into our lives every day. And piano teaching with media is no different.

Most every popular piano method today includes a CD, which particularly helps with a student’s home practice. Now, beyond the CDs, you can go to another source, that can give YOU teaching tips when you need them. Videos. YouTube videos. One good example is the Alfred Premier Piano Course. It now has an entire series of YouTube videos online, that include highlights performed by Dennis Alexander and more, from the entire Premier library, including the full range of Lesson and Performance books, as well as an array of related Technique Tips videos.

Piano Teachers, watch these helpful teaching tips from Alfred‘s Premier Piano Course, co-author, Dennis Alexander:

Premier Piano Lesson 1A and  Performance 1A
Performed by Dennis Alexander, featuring Lily
I Like Soccer [Perf 1A pg. 30]
Time to Celebrate
[Lesson 1A pg. 62]

 


Premier Piano Lesson 1B
Performed by Dennis Alexander
Butterfly [pg. 25]
My Sombrero
[pg. 40]
It’s a Brand New Day
[pg. 46]

 


Premier Piano Lesson 2A
Performed by Dennis Alexander
Au Clair de la Lune [pg. 8]
The Food Court
[
pg. 10]
Qwerty [
pg. 21]


Premier Piano Lesson 2B
Performed by Dennis Alexander
Pirates at Sea [pg. 16]
Over the Rainbow
[
pg. 38]
Fiesta de Espana
[pg. 46]

 

Premier Piano Lesson 2B
Performed by Dennis Alexander featuring Eliana
Science Fair [pg. 25]
Over the Rainbow
[
pg. 38]
Island Calypso
[pg. 40]

 

Premier Piano Lesson 3
Performed by Dennis Alexander
Midnight at the Museum [pg. 28]
Watercolors [
pg. 37]
La Mia Tarentella
[pg. 38]

 

Premier Piano Lesson 4
Performed by Dennis Alexander
Scenes of Granada [pg. 30]
Premier Sonatina
[
pg. 20]
The Great Smoky Mountains
[pg. 44]

 

Premier Piano Lesson 5
Performed by Dennis Alexander
Sonatina in C Major Opus 36, No. 1 [pg. 32]
Greek Festival
[
pg. 28]
Barcarolle
[pg. 46]

 

Premier Piano Lesson 6
Performed by Dennis Alexander
Toccata ritmico [pg. 24]
Nocturne in Db Major
[
pg. 26]
Festival Fantastico
[pg. 54]

 

To view even more videos from the Alfred Premier Piano Course, including selections from the entire Performance series, as well as Technique Tips, go to our YouTube Channel Playlist, or visit our Facebook Fan Page, and click on the YouTube Tab.

Big Phat Play Along

Remember the days of vinyl? As in LPs, records? Back in the day, Play Alongs (accompaniment tracks) were precious few, and only available in LP or cassette format. The innovators on this method of learning and enjoyment for musicians were Jamey Aebersold and Music Minus One (or remember this one? Drum Drops).

Fast forward to the present, and Play Alongs are available in multiple formats — CD, digital, online and beyond. And they’re available for more instruments, and even more genres (karaoke, anyone?), than ever before. Play Along collections offer many benefits:

The recordings provide professional accompaniments, many of them from live studio musicians — you get to play along with the best!

Rehearse and play at your own pace, in the comfort of your home; as often or as little as you like.

Many Play Alongs include full version tracks, which include the melody/your part. Hear how the pros sound, and try to emulate it!

Check out the NEW Gordon Goodwin Big Phat Band Classics collection!

OMEA & Student Motivation

The Oklahoma Music Educators Convention/Conference begins this week, so preparations for the Pender’s Music exhibit are in the final stages. There are many interesting clinics that are to be presented in the Band Division. One of them will feature Harry Haines (Professor of Music, Emeritus) and Russ Teweleit (Associate Director of Bands), from West Texas A&M University. They’ll be addressing student motivation and assessment.

The clinic will also include audio and video recordings of three band/wind ensemble classics: Armenian Dances (Reed), Lincolnshire Posy (Grainger), and La Gazza Ladra (Rossini). The young bands featured in the audio and video are from Professor Haines’s public school teaching days, which just goes to show you that the classics, aged though they may be, never seem to lose their allure, for both audiences and students alike. They challenge the students, and impress the crowds. What’s not to like about that?

Who: Harry Haines & Russ Teweleit, Clinicicans

What: Student Motivation

Where: Oklahoma Music Educators Convention ( OMEA, Tulsa, OK Convention Center)

When: 8:00 to 8:50am, Friday, January 21st, 2011

Midweek Newspeak for Band and Instrumental, the series, will post to www.pendersbuzz.com a couple of times a month, with information from our staff, our publisher partners, guest bloggers and more. Come back to this site, or access it from our main Home Page, to find out the latest buzz!

Movement Ideas for Treble Choirs

Movement Ideas for Treble Choirs

(by Sally K. Albrecht; provided by Alfred Publishing Co.)

Each year, Andy Beck and I film a DVD containing choreography ideas for your choirs. This year’s Shine choral movement DVD offers complete staging for the following new 2-part Alfred choral titles, appropriate for winter or spring concerts.

1. Shout for Joy is a rhythmic song of joy written in a partner-song style, featuring hand claps plus optional trumpet and percussion. I enjoy using this as a vibrant and sophisticated concert opener.

2. Grandma’s Feather Bed is a novelty arrangement, including lots of silly “oinks,” imitation banjo sounds, snoring, and country-style craziness. Grab lots of bright-colored quilts and bedspreads for the front row to pull up on the chorus each time. You’ll also need some stuffed animals, including of course “the piggie we stole from the shed.” Yee-haw!

3. Esta Es el Tiempo is a multicultural gem; part Spanish, part English. The staging for this one includes lots of easy arm movement, rhythmic claps, and “tummy walks.” Incorporate some appropriate live rhythm instruments for a special touch.

4. Rocking Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu gets a fresh and funky treatment. The staging plays with the great lyrics throughout, “I wanna jump but I’m afraid I’ll fall, I wanna holler but the joint’s too small.” It might be fun to feature a few select couples doing the choreography out in front, with the rest of the ensemble joining in on the chorus/echo sections.

5.  Joyful Joyful is a jubilant concert work which includes a refrain from Beethoven‘s Ninth Symphony. The movement for this one is energized and elegant, but still works great on choral risers.

6. We Are One is an uplifting song of unity, offering the timeless message “We are one in music, we are one in song!” On the Shine! DVD, we show you sign language, which can be used to enhance this choral. Consider using your entire group of singers on the chorus and feature select students to sign the verses.

7. Shine a Little Light is my favorite closer this year. It’s got a bit of gospel, a bit of  This Little Light of Mine, and two small solos. The rousing number features great upper torso movement, snaps, and claps that work well on choral risers.

On all of our choreography DVDs, we demonstrate the choreography in three sections:

1. Complete performance with Sally and Andy facing the camera, mirroring your movements.

2. Instructional time, with explanations, descriptions, and options given as needed.

3. Exclusive “Double Shot” performance, with Sally and Andy facing a mirror — you see the movements both from behind and in the mirror.

Let us help make your choir “shine” in an upcoming concert!

_________

Elementary Music Mondays, the series, will post to www.pendersbuzz.com a couple of times a month, with information from our staff, our publisher partners, guest bloggers and more. Come back to this site, or access it from our main Home Page, to find out the latest buzz!

Vocal Jazz Ensemble, anyone?

It’s Choral Cache Thursday @ Pender’s Music Co.! As we begin 2011, we also begin a new initiative — The Pender’s Buzz — an added way in bringing content, resources, teaching tidbits & strategies, social media and more to our loyal customers. And since our home base is in Texas, early 2011 is filled with preparations in getting ready for TMEA. So it’s quite fitting that one of our inaugural posts begins with just that! So, here we go…

Don’t miss all of the Alfred choral sessions at TMEA February 9-11! School choral reading sessions will feature incredibly popular clinician Sally K. Albrecht presenting new choral arrangements of pop titles that can be performed by both large and small choral ensembles! When you get a chance, check out Alfred’s clinic schedule!

The annual Jazz Education Network Conference was just last week, so while the genre is fresh on our minds, it’s a great time to evaluate the ins and outs of adding a vocal jazz ensemble to the choral curriculum. Small vocal groups are really popular right now, so take a look at this article, entitled How Do I Start a Vocal Jazz Ensemble by Darmon Meader, Arranger, Saxophonist, Conductor, Singer, and founder of New York Voices:

“The vocal jazz ensemble world has continued to grow and develop over the past few decades. Over the past 50 years, groups such as Lambert, Hendricks & Ross, Singers Unlimited, The Manhattan Transfer, and New York Voices have given this idiom significant exposure. Like instrumental jazz before it, vocal jazz has become more and more respected in the public school education system.

However, the vocal jazz ensemble is a bit of a “mutt” or hybrid, which can often confuse and frustrate choral enthusiasts and educators. Though an SATB style of music, the roots of the style are deeply ingrained in instrumental jazz. SATB vocal jazz voicings are often more related to jazz piano voicings or big band saxophone section writing than to traditional choral sensibilities.

Over the years, I have had many choral directors approach me, asking how to start a vocal jazz ensemble. Many of these directors had vast choral experience, but were new to the jazz idiom and found the whole thing a bit daunting. So, what does this mean for the choral instructor who is venturing into this for the first time? First of all, it is important to have a solid understanding of basic jazz harmony. Understanding and being able to recognize (both visually and aurally) common jazz chord progressions, song forms, chord symbols, and upper-structures such as 9, #11, & 13 are important steps to being able to develop a solid vocal jazz choir.


Most SATB vocal jazz writing uses a concept called “four-way close” writing. This means that the harmony is conceived from the melody note down, with all chord notes (including upper-structure notes) in play. What this means is that the vocalists will often be singing much more dense and challenging harmonies than found in their traditional choral repertoire. The Sopranos almost always sing the melody, which is usually the easiest part. The Altos may have some challenging harmony notes, but more often then not they are still singing in a comfortable relationship with the Soprano part. The Tenors and Basses usually have the most challenging parts, so it is safe to say that your vocal jazz ensemble will only be as solid as the men that sing in the ensemble. Your male vocalists will need extra attention to develop their ears for this type of challenging harmony. In addition to traditional warm-ups, give your men some warm-ups that develop their jazz harmony senses: hearing and singing tri-tone 7ths and 3rds between the two parts, singing major and minor 2nds between parts, and singing major and minor 7ths between parts. These are just a few ideas that reflect the types of harmonic relationships found in vocal jazz writing.

Even though the Alto, Tenor, and Bass parts are often less melodic, they are just as important as the Soprano part. So, encourage the lower voices to think of their parts not only as harmonic support, but as melodic entities unto themselves. In New York Voices, we often talk about thinking in two planes at once: the vertical plane involves tuning, matching vowels and tone, and dynamics, while the horizontal plane involves the melodic direction of all four parts.

Vibrato or no vibrato? As I mentioned earlier, vocal jazz is a direct off-shoot of instrumental jazz. Since the Bebop era and beyond, instrumental jazz has used vibrato sparingly, more as a color or device than as a natural part of the sound. This developed both for stylistic and harmonic reasons. By the nature of jazz writing, straight tone often is required to allow the harmonies to resonate properly, whether being played by a big band, or sung by a choir. With that said, there is room for some vibrato at times. Some songs may incorporate a looser style or gospel influences where vibrato is more appropriate. You also may find that longer chords may allow for vibrato to be added once the harmony has been established. Also, the larger your ensemble, the less room there is for vibrato.

A couple of closing thoughts:

• Listen, listen, and then listen some more. The more jazz your students listen to, the more comfortable they will become with the idiom.
• When picking repertoire, be realistic about the reach and abilities of your ensemble. We would all love to sing Gene Puerling arrangements, Take Six repertoire, or the entire New York Voices songbook, but most groups are not ready for that level of harmonic and rhythmic complexity. Explore easier and medium level repertoire to find music that will challenge you and your ensemble, without overwhelming them.
• Lastly, if you have an instrumental jazz program in your school, try to connect with the instrumental jazz faculty and students. Your instrumental jazz instructor might be able to add valuable input, and you also might find a few instrumental students that would like to sing in your ensemble. Who knows, you might have a budding young singer sitting in the sax section of your school’s big band. Come to think of it, that’s how I got my start in all of this vocal jazz craziness!”

Choral Cache Thursdays, the series, will post to www.pendersbuzz.com a couple of times a month, with information from our staff, our publisher partners, guest bloggers and more. Come back to this site, or access it from our main Home Page, to find out the latest buzz!

(Article provided by Alfred Publishing, Co.)

Oklahoma Horn Day

It’s Wednesday — Midweek Newspeak for Band and Instrumental @ Pender’s Music Co.! As we begin 2011, we also begin a new initiative — The Pender’s Buzz — an added way in bringing content, resources, teaching tidbits & strategies, social media and more to our loyal customers. Today, we look to our Oklahoma City store for inspiration…

The University of Oklahoma’s Horn Studio hosts an annual workshop each year for horn players of all ages. While Oklahoma Horn Day is filled with Masterclasses and sessions that are led by artist/faculty from various Oklahoma universities, the day is always centered on a featured Guest Artist. This year’s guest is Julie Landsman, long-time principal horn of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra (a position she held from 1985 to 2010). She was born in Brooklyn, New York and is a graduate of the Julliard School, where she studied with James Chambers.

Topics for middle school will include classes on Horn Basics (Horn 101), and how to start developing technique. High School sessions will concentrate on solo masterclasses in preparation for State Solo & Ensemble Contest. Collegiate and Adult performers will be able to participate in masterclasses that cover solo literature and orchestral excerpts. There will be numerous opportunities for both individual playing as well as ensemble performance.

Anectdotally, Landsman’s Met audition was documented in the last chapter of the national bestseller Blink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell.

What: Oklahoma Horn Day 2011
Who: Masterclass with Julie Landsman, Horn
When: Saturday, February 19th, 2011
Where: Oklahoma University Music Department
How: Register in advance or at-the-door. Registration fee is $10.00 per person.

Midweek Newspeak for Band and Instrumental, the series, will post to www.pendersbuzz.com a couple of times a month, with information from our staff, our publisher partners, guest bloggers and more. Come back to this site, or access it from our main Home Page, to find out the latest buzz!

ASTA and You

It’s Tuesday — Time for Tuesday’s Tidbits for Strings @ Pender’s Music Co.! The Pender’s Buzz is our added way in bringing content, resources, teaching tidbits & strategies, social media and more to you, our loyal customers.

If you’re a string person, whether it be a teacher, student, or performer, you’re most likely aware of ASTA – The American String Teacher Association. This national organization supports string orchestra teaching and playing, by providing various resources and benefits that include an annual conference, membership competitions, advocacy initiatives and more.

But here’s something you may not know about yet: The brand new Eclectic Strings Festival, which is scheduled for March 17-19th, in Kansas City, MO. The Eclectic Strings Festival (ESF) is a three-day event that provides participants with the opportunity to work with nationally-recognized clinicians in their specialty areas. For 2011, it’s: Andy Carlson (fiddle), Christian Howes (rock), Martin Norgaard (jazz), and Randy Sabien (jazz). The event will culminate in a featured performance at the ASTA National Conference.

Who’s eligible to attend, you ask? Well, students in the eighth through twelfth grades during the 2010-2011 school year can apply, as well as registered participants of the National ASTA Conference, may participate in this event. The festival is sponsored by Yamaha Music Corporation, NAMM (The National Association of Music Merchants), and Alfred Publishing Co.

Tuesday’s Tidbits for Strings, the series, will post to www.pendersbuzz.com about once a month, with information from our staff, our publisher partners, guest bloggers and more. Come back to this site, or access it from our main Home Page, to find out the latest buzz!

Beethoven Bear, Sally Albrecht & TMEA, oh my!

It’s Monday — Elementary Music Monday @ Pender’s Music Co.! As we begin 2011, we also begin a new initiative — The Pender’s Buzz — an added way in bringing content, resources, teaching tidbits & strategies, social media and more to our loyal customers. And since our home base is in Texas, early 2011 is filled with preparations in getting ready for TMEA. So it’s quite fitting that our inaugural post begins with just that! So, here we go…

Don’t miss all of the great Alfred clinicians at the upcoming TMEA convention, February 9-11! Elementary sessions will feature Sally K. Albrecht who will help you discover amazing new resources for your classroom. For instance, check out The Cuckoo, a Mexican folktale for unison voices!

Plus, certified mediator and life coach, Peggy Bennett will give examples of how we hurt each other in our professional lives and how to mend the conflict. Be sure and check out Alfred’s full TMEA clinic schedule when you get a chance!

Did you realize that the popular piano course, Music for Little Mozarts, is also an innovative Classroom Course?

This series, which features Beethoven Bear and Mozart Mouse is especially for young learners, ages 4-6. And now Alfred has taken its accessibility to Classroom Teachers one step further, with the introduction of a Music for Little Mozarts website, that is full of free downloadable marketing materials, video demonstrations (check out the video for Music for Little Mozarts, Music Discovery Book 1) and more!

Elementary Music Mondays, the series, will post to www.pendersbuzz.com a couple of times a month, with information from our staff, our publisher partners, guest bloggers and more. Come back to this site, or access it from our main Home Page, to find out the latest buzz!