With the nation’s birthday approaching, it is appropriate to celebrate the men and women of the United States military, without whom we would not have the many comforts and freedoms we often take for granted. It takes all kinds of people to make our armed forces the elite presence it is in the world, and we honor each of their contributions, thanking them for all that they do for us.
Performance planning is rarely the highlight of any music director’s season. Designing your concert may be enjoyable in itself, but the stress that comes with finding the right music, keeping track of what you have and haven’t reviewed, and deciding on the best concert order can begin to weigh on anyone after a while. And, while it is necessary to do all this prep work in order to get to the part everyone loves, the time it takes to get there can be overwhelming.
That’s why J.W. Pepper created My Library, a free online service that helps you plan your performances. My Library is already available to anyone with a Pepper account. Once you log in to your account, you can launch My Library and get started.
Adding pieces to My Library is as simple as shopping around the site. As you browse our site, you will notice a new icon in the same place you can view scores or listen to the music. Clicking this small folder icon will allow you to add the piece to a folder you create in My Library. Add as many pieces as you want, whether you plan to purchase them now or return to them for future consideration.
Once you have your pieces, you can easily organize them into folders by concert season, school year, performance theme or any other method you prefer. In each folder, you can move the pieces around to test different concert orders. Because most pieces give you the opportunity to listen right from our site, you can hear your entire concert exactly as it will sound before you even purchase the pieces. That means time saved and no more leaps of faith when it comes time to buy.
Many of our customers are already using My Library to plan future concerts and loving the results:
@jwpepper I am OBSESSED with your My Library beta test.. I may or may not be already planning my Spring 2017 show… Best new feature!
— Jordan Plair (@jordanliane) December 8, 2015
“I just used the library to put my spring concert program together. It makes life easier! Thank you!“ – Amy Black
“Using it for the first time. I love that I can save all my favorites to one location and then organize by season or concert. Love it!” – Joyce Jingle
It is easy to get started with My Library and, in no time, you can finish the hard work of planning a concert and get to the fun of making music! Log in today and start planning your next concert online for free.
It is time again for arguably the biggest conference of the year for musicians and music directors, The Midwest Clinic. Every year, Pepper does its best to provide you with all the information available on what’s being played. We know you’re excited to see this year’s music and we’re excited to share it with you!
Get started by checking out our dedicated Midwest Clinic Online page. Here, you can listen to and peruse the scores, make notes, and bookmark the music featured this year. The page includes music for Concert Band, Orchestra, Jazz Ensemble, and Solo and Ensemble selections, sorted into convenient categories.
You will also find a link to our Midwest Clinic Pamphlet listing every piece of music featured at the clinic with links directly to our site to make finding each piece easy. A favorite of Midwest attendees for many years, this catalog includes the Pepper numbers for all the music at this year’s clinic. Be sure you pick up a hard copy of our pamphlet when you visit the Pepper booth.
We look forward to seeing you there!
The Midwest Clinic is coming up in December and Pepper will be there with a host of great guests. We’ll also be handing out the Midwest Pamphlet, which is your guide to the clinic, but right now we would like to present an inside look at what is happening at the Pepper booth, #807.
Pepper has been lucky enough to secure appearances from some of the top names in music this year, both at Midwest and at our corporate headquarters in Exton, Pennsylvania. One of the brilliant musicians we have the pleasure of hosting at Midwest is Tracy Harris, author of The Flute Boot Camp Manual. Tracy will appear at the Wingert-Jones booth on Thursday the 18th and spend most of the day with us discussing her new release and signing copies. Just a few weeks ago, Tracy was in our Exton office to present her Boot Camp to local flute students. We were able to make a great video with Tracy introducing the objectives of her camps and how they came to be. Check it out!
We are also pleased to announce that trumpet legend Roger Ingram will be stopping by our booth as well. He will be signing his new book, Clinical Notes on Trumpet Playing, and talking all things trumpet. In October, Ingram visited the Exton office to present his Trumpet Master Class.
But those are not the only marquee appearances at the Pepper Booth this year. Frank Battisti and William Berz will be signing their new book Sourcebook for Wind Band and Instrumental Music on Thursday, December 18 at 3:00 pm. Mary Jo Papich will be in our booth signing The Jazzer’s Cookbook on Friday at 9:45 am, and Joseph Kreines will be in our booth signing his book Music for Concert Band: A Selective Annotated Guide to Band Literature on Friday at 1:45 pm.
By now, you are definitely getting excited about the upcoming Midwest Clinic. Sure, you have plenty to get ready for with winter concerts nearing, but be honest; you have been looking forward to Midwest since last year.
My mother and grandmother were born and bred in Kentucky, something that I am most proud of. Having a Southern heritage is something that I wear like a new suit on Easter Sunday morning – with my head held high. We didn’t always have a lot at our house, but my mother’s five children were clean, well dressed, and well-mannered – or we didn’t sit very well the next day!
My Grandma Becky – everyone called her that, from the neighbors to all of the folks at church – was a wonderful cook. I can still taste her homemade chocolate pies and pumpkin cake! My mother learned from the very best! At our house, we learned to waste nothing. Before the fancy silver can with the black lid that said “Drippings” on it, there was just a coffee can – but there was always a can that sat near the stove, and each time bacon was fried, the bacon grease was carefully poured into that coffee can for later use in green beans, black-eyed peas, greens, almost anything.
Another tasty treat that we southerners love is butter! I learned that butter makes everything better! I put butter on everything from peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to pop tarts (don’t knock it until you’ve tried it). I’m not talking about that yellowish, artificial “can’t believe it’s not” stuff that I can instantly tell isn’t, but I am talking about the REAL thing. Good, softened, melted butter just makes everything taste so good. I guess I should probably interject here that you should not talk to your doctor about their opinion on this subject because I am sure it would differ from mine!
Oh, and iced tea! Nothing that comes from a can or a bottle, but tea that has sat out on the porch steeping in the sun, and then has a couple cups of white sugar poured into it – just puts a smile on everyone’s face.
As you can tell, I am so proud of my heritage. But everyone should be – for that is where we came from. It doesn’t matter what part of the country you call home, it is the memories that truly make us who we are. Another thing that I love about being Southern is the music. I grew up listening to country, country gospel, and southern gospel music, and I have often said that it runs deep in my veins. Music is such a huge part of my heritage, just like butter and green beans with bacon grease cooked in them!
J.W. Pepper offers a wonderful service called e-Clubs where we send complimentary e-mails to music directors that highlight new and best-selling music as well as go-to classic repertoire to assist you in choosing materials for your choir, band, piano or whatever musical interests you have. We have e-Clubs for instrumental directors, piano teachers, and school directors, and we have them for Church Choir directors too! We offer this great service for traditional worship, contemporary worship and blended worship, and now I am so excited that we even have one for SOUTHERN GOSPEL too! How about that! So it doesn’t really matter what your heritage is, we have something just for you – and all you have to do is sign up here! Go on now… oh, and before you go, would you pass the butter?
As I write these words, we are no more than a few days away from the hundredth anniversary of one of the great events in musical history. May 29, 1913 was the date of the first performance of Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, one of the most tumultuous first performances ever. The Paris performance was by the company known as the Ballets Russes, whose founder and leader Sergei Diaghelev specialized in bringing together the latest in music, dance, costume and design. The orchestra was conducted by Pierre Monteux, accompanying new choreography by Vaslav Nijinsky.
As was noted by many people who were at this first performance, a murmur of protest began in the audience from the very start of the music, which increased and redoubled as the dancers appeared in primitive costumes. Half the audience appealed for order, and the other half violently protested the music. The uproar grew into fistfights, and the police were called to keep order.
For my part, I first heard the Rite as a teenage high school student. With some curiosity, I borrowed the LP recording by Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic from the public library. I had never heard the work and was astonished at what I was hearing, and that music could be like this, so different from high school music appreciation classes or from the Haydn and Heller of my piano lessons. I listened to the recording over and over, with fascination and amazement, not believing that such a piece could actually have been created, and longing to hear it in live performance. A year later, I did manage to hear it in concert, by the Cleveland Orchestra conducted by Lukas Foss.
Hearing the Rite led me to listen to and to learn from other challenging works of music, and to begin to appreciate the effect that music could have on one’s very existence. If a single work could be said to change someone’s life, it was The Rite of Spring that did it for me.
In a future blog, I will delve into the details and differences of the varying editions of this work.
Read Part 2: The Rite of Spring at 100
As a musician and a person who deals with both the music business and the deaf world, I assumed as many do that students with hearing loss would never hear, understand or appreciate music.
Fortunately, as I began talking with fellow interpreters in schools, I learned that many deaf children (both with and without hearing aids and cochlear implants) were in music classes. This was enlightening and encouraged me to investigate instrumental music classes for deaf students and the incorporation of sign language into choral programs.
One of the first schools to teach music to deaf students was the Illinois School for the Deaf. They allowed the resident boys the opportunity to participate in a brass band. The band was supported by state and private funds throughout its nearly twenty-year existence. It gave students a musical outlet, provided functional music and entertainment for the other resident students as well as community members, and became a symbol of strength and ability among members of the deaf community. Fred Fancher, a deaf bandmaster from Tennessee, conducted the band. The band ensemble presented concerts in many towns and cities throughout the United States. NAfME reported that the quality of the music produced by the boys was very good. The band received a fair amount of criticism along with a vast amount of praise and was a most successful and meaningful endeavor. Even though the band has been defunct for more than fifty years, some music classes and activities at the Illinois School for the Deaf are still offered to students.
As more and more hearing-impaired children participated in the instrumental music program, it was discovered that, like hearing children, the ability to play an instrument helped the deaf children alleviate their frustration. Tim Lautzenhauser states in his book, The Art of Successful Teaching, “Music offers a chance to let go and express the rainbow of emotions we all feel, and through this experience expand our own realm of emotional expressions.”
The children were taught by developing a strong sense of rhythm, followed by breathing exercises, hand clapping, marching and body swaying to standard repertoire such as Old Mac Donald Had a Farm. Some children were able to play by reading the score. Just like with hearing children, music notations represents two things; a hand position on an instrument, and a time frame. However, the deaf child cannot “improvise” and must depend totally on sight-reading the music. Many deaf children remove their shoes for band or orchestra practice to be able to feel the rhythm from the other instruments.
According to the research done by Alice-Ann Darrow in 1989, schools offering music to deaf students start most students with understanding about how to keep a steady beat. Once that concept is understood, the next step is rhythmic training, and from there they advance to notation, tempo markings, and dynamic structure. Sound is not as much an issue as understanding the structure of music: how the notes blend and the individual attributes of the notes, which finger positions produce a note, and how long to hold whole notes, half notes and quarter notes.
Band and orchestra instructors require support when teaching deaf students. Parents, special education teachers, and audiologists can all offer help working with deaf students in the music classroom. The expense of this individual support is costly and oftentimes the interpreter has no music knowledge, making the job more difficult. As with most tasks, simply asking the deaf students what works is the best way to proceed. Let them lead in this area of their development.
Both digital hearing aids and cochlear implants have difficulty transmitting the fine tones of musical structure to the listener. It will be interesting to see how improvements in these aids will allow children to experience the joy of music in the future.
As the incorporation of sign language becomes more popular for both hearing and deaf children, many composers have added information about sign language (along with the actual signs) to their music.
Please view these musical selections which will help you bring signing and singing into your musical programs.
The 66th Annual Midwest Clinic for band and orchestra was a huge success! Meeting many of our customers and putting a face to a name is always exciting. Thank you for stopping by the Pepper booth to check out our exclusive offerings like our Editors’ Choice Online, and to introduce composers to our new My Score program.
We were please to sponsor several sessions and book signings with quite a group of talented authors and musicians.
In this day in age, more and more band directors find themselves taking on the role of choir director as well. Russ Robinson’s clinic, based on his book I Know Sousa, Not Sopranos!, gives insight to band directors in this situation. After his clinic, Russ stopped by our booth and met some directors who do exactly this.
Frank Battisti, the author of Winds of Change II: The New Millennium examined the American wind band from 2000 – 2010. This man is a legend! During his in-booth book signing, there was a line of customers waiting to meet him for the entire hour! His philosophies are inspiring for all.
Mark Fonder, the author of Patrick Conway and His Famous Band, took time to speak with every person who wanted to talk with him. His insight and knowledge on Conway, a post-Civil-War-era band director, is extensive.
If you missed our annual handbook of all the music performed at the clinic, here’s a second chance to have this critical Midwest Clinic information. We look forward to seeing you again next year, and in the meantime wish everyone great musical success!
Russ Robinson Frank Battisti Mark Fonder Edward Lisk
Our editors have their work cut out for them when choosing which titles to include in our Editors’ Choice series each year. We did some digging to find out which titles Pepper customers favored this past year and were pleased to see that, for the most part, you liked what we liked. Here is a list of the top 10 picks for both band and choir music, amongst you, our customers!
- Firework – Katy Perry, arr. Alan Billingsley – 10274183
- O Come All Ye Faithful – arr. Dan Forrest – 10312016
- All on a Silent Night – Becki Slagle Mayo – 10307377
- How Great Our Joy! – arr. Craig Courtney – 10312008
- Blessings – Laura Story, arr. Heather Sorenson – 10292259
- Jar of Hearts – Christina Perri, arr. Andy Beck – 10288773
- Tshotsholoza – arr. Jeffery L. Ames – 10276407
- If I Only Had a Brain – Harold Arlen/E.Y. Harburg, arr. Sally Albrecht – 10274821
- Earth Song – Frank Ticheli – 10027720
- Baba Yetu – Christopher Tin – 10277920
- Foundry – John Mackey – 10282825
- Jungle Dance – Brain Balmages – 10279417
- The Seal Lullaby – Eric Whitacre – 10281862
- Dynamite – Taio Cruz, arr. Victor Lopez – 10279716
- Above and Beyond – James Swearingen – 10280771
- Rolling in the Deep – Adele Adkins, arr. James Kazik – 10299425
- Firework – Katy Perry, arr. Michael Story – 10279776
- Ignition – Todd Stalter – 10280022
- Aces of the Air March – Karl King, arr. James Swearingen – 10280589
- Blue and Green Music – Samuel R. Hazo – 10281804
Were your top picks for 2012 included in the lists above? Tell us YOUR favorites!