Music engraving is an interest of mine. I’ve always been amazed at how the quality of engraving affects the readability of a piece of music. I recently discovered a piece that I like very much, but which I feel is poorly engraved.

The piece is “Shifty-Eyed Blues” by Phillip Keveren. It’s a great early-intermediate jazz . . . → Read More: Engraving

Here, Have a Chainsaw!

It occurs to me that I’m occasionally guilty of telling students they need to use a metronome without having taught them how to use one. It’s the musical equivalent of handing someone a chainsaw and expecting them to cut down a tree.

Pretend for a moment that you’ve never used a chainsaw. Now imagine that . . . → Read More: Here, Have a Chainsaw!

Composing for Kids

I had a rather interesting discussion with an editor yesterday about a new collection I’ve written. The book is a set of elementary level pieces, and I’ve been thinking a lot about a quote from the Russian writer Maxim Gorki. Apparently, on being asked how one should go about writing for children, his response was . . . → Read More: Composing for Kids

Rhythmic Augmentation

Something I’ve noticed in elementary literature is the practice of rhythmic augmentation. Since elementary students (Primer – Level 1 in Piano Adventures, for example) haven’t been introduced to 8th notes yet, composers and editors will write a piece using quarter notes instead of 8th notes and then choosing a very brisk tempo.

So a piece . . . → Read More: Rhythmic Augmentation

The Landmark Approach

I often take a “landmark approach” in teaching note reading to my students. I begin by giving them six flash cards – Bass C (2nd space on the bass staff), Bass F (4th line on the bass staff), LH Middle C (middle C on the bass staff), RH Middle C (middle C on the treble . . . → Read More: The Landmark Approach