THE J. W. PEPPER BLOG | DELIVERING MUSIC SINCE 1876

THE J. W. PEPPER BLOG | DELIVERING MUSIC SINCE 1876

THE J. W. PEPPER BLOG | DELIVERING MUSIC SINCE 1876

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Instrumental

The Influence of Jazz: Resources for Your Students

Jazz Appreciation Month may not have gotten as much attention this April as in years past, but there are certainly no time constraints on...

Sight-Reading Exercises for At-Home Music Practice

Sight Reading Music Practice Now is the perfect time to work on sight-reading skills. Students can use their moments at home to strengthen their ability...

Connecting Technology and Music: The Virtual Orchestra Project

The executive director of the National String Project Consortium (NSPC) didn’t mince words when she described the effort involved in completing an extraordinary virtual...

How Dave Matthews Band’s Jeff Coffin Made It Big by Being Prepared

Internationally known for his saxophone playing and improvisational prowess, Jeff Coffin is also a composer, educator, and author. When not on stage with the...

5 Tips on Student Retention in Music Ensembles

Have you been in this situation before? It’s the start of the school year. You have returned from a summer of planning and preparation....

Adding Orff Instruments to the Music Classroom

For nearly a century, the Orff approach has been used to help children explore the world of music. This experience usually includes opportunities for...

Composing for the Student Ensemble: A Composer Forum, Part II

Composers have many considerations when creating pieces for student ensembles. Among other things, they have to ensure their works have the right balance of...

The Inside Voice: An Interview with Larry Clark

Larry Clark is an ASCAP award-winning composer with over 300 publications in print. For over 20 years, he has been a much sought-after composer,...

The Women in the Brass Section: How They Found Success

Trombonist Amanda Stewart compares it to a slow-moving glacier – the gradual acceptance of talented women playing brass instruments in the United States’ most...

John Mackey’s Unusual Path to Composing Success

Originally from Columbus, Ohio, composer John Mackey grew up without formal music lessons. Though his mother played the flute and the family owned a piano,...

Roll Out the Accordion – Polka Music and Oktoberfest

Alex Meixner’s hands fly across his accordion when he plays crowd favorites at Oktoberfest celebrations across the country. The talented musician, who is known...

Classical Crossover Band Inspires Students

Two worlds collided for cellist Nicole Myers as she traveled back to her Pennsylvania high school to give a performance as a professional musician....

The Inside Voice: An Interview with Concertmaster David Kim

David Kim paused after playing a few exquisite bars of music on his Italian violin. The concertmaster of The Philadelphia Orchestra seemed concerned that...

Jazz Appreciation Month: A New Program for Students

As a jazz educator and president of the Jazz Education Network (JEN), I have seen literally thousands of lives impacted by studying improvisational music...

Managing Your Music Ensembles with Cut Time

There are many moving parts involved in managing music ensembles. Between keeping track of inventory, communicating with students and parents, coordinating volunteers, planning trips,...

Louis Armstrong Continues to Shape Contemporary Music

Throughout the year, Pepper has been celebrating the 100th anniversary of the first jazz recording by sharing interviews with modern jazz legends, descriptions of...

Something New and Exciting – Affordable Steel Drums for the Classroom!

One of the staples for any general music classroom, regardless of level, is instruments: barred instruments, recorders, rhythm instruments, percussion instruments, piano or electronic...

Jazz 100: Christian McBride and the Future of Jazz

In the orchestral world, the bass section is often underappreciated, being relegated to the back of the ensemble and assigned the vital yet rarely...

Orff Instruments: Classroom Essentials

Whether a music teacher uses the Orff approach or not, almost all have had some interaction with the wonderful instruments that are associated with...

Jazz 100: Jazz History Hot Spots for Your Bucket List

Throughout 2017, Pepper has joined the musical world in celebrating 100 years of recorded jazz. An integral part of our national history, jazz music...

Jazz 100: Eddie Palmieri – Keeper of the Flame

Eddie Palmieri is a pioneer of Latin and Afro-Cuban jazz music. One of the greats, alongside contemporaries Paquito D’Rivera and Arturo Sandoval, Palmieri has...

Choosing Orchestra Music – Playing to Your Strengths

Every spring, orchestra teachers anticipate getting next year’s rosters. They give a good indication of the instrumentation they'll be working with in the coming...

Jazz 100: Centennial Birthdays

The year 1917 was monumental in jazz history, but not just because it was the year of the first official jazz recording. Some of the...

Taking Your Marching Band to the Next Level

In all areas of the country, marching band is a vital part of the high school fall experience. While the type of band your...

Jazz 100: The Influence of Jazz

Stylistically and culturally, jazz music has had an enormous impact on American music, influencing many of the most beloved musical minds of our time....

Jazz 100: A Century of Recorded Jazz

Jazz is widely considered the first purely American musical art form, and with good reason. Nothing epitomizes the nature of our nation quite as...

Meeting the Minds Behind the Music

Listening to a master speak about their craft is one of the most enlightening experiences one can have. That was the thinking behind Pepper’s...

The Inside Voice: An Interview with Brian Balmages

Composer Brian Balmages’ sheet music can be found in music rooms across the nation. He has written music for every skill level from very easy to advanced....

The Inside Voice: The U.S. Army Brass Quintet

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...

The Inside Voice: An Interview with Wynn-Anne Rossi

Wynn-Anne Rossi is known to the music world as a talented pianist, dynamic composer, and dedicated music educator. Throughout her life, she has combined...

Make Pepper Part of Your Summer with Pepper Live

As graduation days approach, we know what’s really on everyone’s minds: summer vacation. And while days at the beach or camping in the woods...

Jazz With Pepper Hosts David Liebman

On September 10, 2015, Pepper welcomed world-renowned saxophonist David Liebman, the latest music legend to take part in our Jazz with Pepper master class...

Music in the Air: Outdoor Classical Concerts

If there’s any time during the year that’s best for introducing classical music to the uninitiated listener, it’s summer. Thanks to seasonal changes in...

14,000 Pipes, 90 Years: A Tour of the Austin Organ

Pepper's own Rocco Richardson had a chance to speak to Scott Fredericks, minister of music at St. Matthew Lutheran about their famous Austin organ,...

Pat Martino: Here and Now

When hearing about the prospect of meeting and interviewing Pat Martino, all we could think about here at Pepper was how much we love...

Six Essential Videos for Roger Ingram Fans

Here we have a fantastic selection of videos from Pepper's interview with jazz trumpet legend Roger Ingram.  Listen to Ingram talk about his new...

Jazz With Pepper Hosts Pat Martino

On Wednesday, February 11th, the Jazz With Pepper series continued with a visit from guitar legend Pat Martino.  Eager musicians of all ages filled the...

Meet Debra Reilly: Grammy Music Educator Award Finalist

Recently, Pepper had the privilege to speak with Debra Reilly, a 2015 Grammy nominee for the Music Educator Award.  Ms. Reilly teaches and directs the string programs for Springhouse and Orefield...

5 Unexpected Items to Bring to Midwest

By now, you are definitely getting excited about the upcoming Midwest Clinic.  Sure, you have plenty to get ready for with winter concerts nearing,...

An Evening with Roger Ingram

They came to hear one of the masters.  High School musicians, old-school jazz players and everything in between from all over the Philadelphia area. ...

Three Marching Band Horror Stories

Trying to keep a rehearsal running smoothly with a collection of musicians is difficult enough as it is.  Add to that the unpredictable outdoors,...

Necessities for Marching Band Maintenance

With limited resources for many music programs these days, proper instrument upkeep has never been more important.  While you need to handle major repairs...

Qualities That Make a Great Student Leader in a Marching Ensemble – Part 3

Over the past few posts, we have been discussing the qualities that define an excellent student leader.  The first two traits this three-part series...

Qualities That Make a Great Student Leader in a Marching Ensemble – Part 1

With marching band season gearing up once again, directors find themselves looking to their flock of students in search of that indispensible percentage that...

Band Composer Series: Frank Ticheli

I recently had the honor of interviewing composer and teacher Frank Ticheli. In addition to composing, he joined the faculty of the University of...

Band Composer Series: Garwood Whaley

Looking back on my high school and college percussion studies, I recall working through many of Garwood Whaley’s books.  I particularly liked working with Recital...

In Memoriam: W. Francis McBeth

We were all deeply saddened to hear the news that Francis McBeth passed away Friday, January 6th.  Dr. McBeth was a very well respected...

Band Composer Series: Sean O’Loughlin

Sean O’Loughlin is a rising name in the music world.  His music is characterized by vibrant rhythms, passionate melodies, and colorful scoring. Commissions and conducting...

Band Composer Series: Larry Clark

Larry Clark's pieces have been performed internationally and appear on numerous contest/festival lists.  He  is an ASCAP award-winning composer with over 200 titles in...

Band Composer Series: Michael Sweeney

A graduate of Indiana University (Bloomington), and Director of Band Publications for Hal Leonard Corporation in Milwaukee, Wisconsin Michael Sweeney has over 500 publications...

Band Composer Series: Brian Balmages

An active composer, conductor and performer, Brian Balmages' fresh style of composition has put him in high demand for his wind, brass and orchestral...

Band Composer Series: Robert Sheldon

Recently, I had the privilege of interviewing Robert Sheldon, Concert Band Editor for Alfred Music Publishing, and was able to gain some insight into the...

‘Tis A Gift

I recently enjoyed a Ballston Spa Community Band concert while attending the New York State School Music Conference in Albany, New York. Prior to...