Alan Menken interview

Q & A with Legendary Composer of Film and Stage Alan Menken

Alan Menken is undoubtedly one of this generation’s most preeminent composers of film and stage. His work with Disney has helped defined the musical movie experience of countless young people, and his musical stage adaptations continue to innovate and leave audiences awe-struck, allowing us to fall in love all over again with songs like “A Whole New World,” “Part of Your World,” “Beauty and the Beast” and so many more. We were beyond honored to have the opportunity to ask Menken a few questions about his musical background, his process of adapting film music to the stage and just what it’s like to have Grammys, Oscars and Tonys solidifying a
Continue reading…

Ralph Peer Biography Contest

Music for the Masses. Win Your Ralph Peer Biography + A Musicnotes Gift Card!

Are you a fan of blues, folk, R&B, country or rock music? Chances are, you’re more familiar with the work of Ralph Peer than you might have known.  Barry Mazor’s new biography of the legendary music publisher and label A&R visionary takes a close look at just how influential and radically innovative Peer was, during a time in which music traditionally divided rather than united. Read a bit about Ralph Peer’s influence, and then enter for your chance to win your own copy of Mazor’s book, along with a $25 Gift Card, in the contest below! (Update: This contest has now closed. Congratulations to our winners, Jordana, Melissa and Joerg,
Continue reading…

Customer-Support2

A Day in the Life: Meet Musicnotes’ Customer Support Specialists

Have you ever wondered who’s answering your questions via email, live chat or over the phone? We asked our Customer Support Director Anna Fischer to share a behind-the-scenes look into the inner workings of Musicnotes Customer Support (we refer to our Specialists as ‘Superstars’ here at the office). Anna graciously agreed to take time out of her oh-so-busy holiday-season schedule and give us a look into a day in the life of your very own Musicnotes Superstars. As we head into the holiday (read: busy) season, we want to take the time to share a little more about the talented team of people who field your calls, emails and chat
Continue reading…

Counting musical notes

How to Count Music: Be Rhythm Ready with These Basic Tips

Are you a budding musician just starting to learn to read music? Maybe you have plenty of experience playing interpretively, but want to get a better handle on musical technique and hone your timing and synchronization. Either way, learning to properly count music is a skill that you’ll find helpful throughout your musical journey, not to mention absolutely essential if you’re planning to play with other people. The first thing you’ll need to learn in order to keep time is your basic note values. We explored note values in our “How to Read Sheet Music” blog post a while back. You can familiarize yourself with note values, as well as
Continue reading…

Let It Go and Let It Be

Should We Let It Be or Let It Go?

Years before millions of Elsas-in-training were belting out “Let It Go,” Paul, George, Ringo and John were imploring us to ease up and “Let It Be.” Both songs have seen cross-genre success, dozens of notable artists have clamored to cover each, and the duo of “Let It” tunes appears on the Musicnotes all-time bestsellers list. We thought it’d be fun to dig a little deeper into each of these momentous anthems. There’s no doubt in our minds that each holds a very special place in musical history, and that they both are as fun and beautiful to play as they are to listen to. Authorship It’s been noted that both
Continue reading…

Vice President Charles Dawes

Music Hits and Politics: It Was ‘All in the Game’ for One VP

There’s certainly no lack of discussion about music’s role in politics. From Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 3,” whose title “Bonaparte” was rescinded following Napoleon’s emperor declaration, to Pete Seeger’s “We Shall Overcome” and the counterculture movements of the 1960s and 70s, music, as with other forms of art, has not shied from politically charged commentary. However, for next week’s Election Day, we at Musicnotes have been fascinated by the story of a politico’s non-partisan musical ties. Mr. Charles Dawes served as the 30th Vice President of the United States, he won the Nobel Peace Prize, and the self-taught pianist wrote a signature tune that just happened to become a cross-generational music
Continue reading…

The Art of Choral Programming

The Art of Choral Music Programming

 Musicnotes is thrilled to announce the addition of renowned choral conductor, composer, arranger, artistic director and vocalist Jonathan Miller to the team.  Jonathan joins us while continuing his work with Chicago a cappella, an esteemed ensemble of professional singers he founded in 1993. In addition to overseeing the Musicnotes choral sheet music offerings, Jonathan graciously agreed to share his insights and expertise on choral arranging, vocal well-being, repertoire suggestions, choral music programming and more with all of us on the Musicnotes Blog. In fact, the latter topic he’s touching on today. The Art of Choral Music Programming: How to Captivate an Audience I am excited to be joining the Musicnotes
Continue reading…

Spooky Piano Themes

Melodic Spooks and Spells: Solo Piano Halloween Sheet Music

The cobwebs are all up, the jack-lanterns are lit and the spooky snacks are all set out for your guests… but still, the atmosphere for your Halloween party isn’t quite right. Yes, you’re missing the mood music – and, of course, there’s no better music than live music. The problem is, with the guests on their way, you don’t have time to figure out what to play … While Musicnotes has a great selection of Halloween Sheet Music for all instruments, in a social setting your best instrument will be the piano – so we’ve put together a list of some of our favorite spooky piano solos, perfect for your
Continue reading…

Oktoberfest sheet music

Learn About and Learn How to Play Fun Oktoberfest Music!

Each year in Munich, Germany, more than 6 million people gather to eat, drink and socialize celebrating all things Bavarian, as millions more gather for their own ‘Oktoberfest’ celebrations around the world. While the beer, brezen and würstl are consumed, revelers enjoy an array of traditional German tunes, often singing and dancing along. Here at Musicnotes headquarters, we like to celebrate Oktoberfest Gemütlichkeit by playing a wide array of German sheet music! Since the festival runs from mid-September through the first weekend of October, we wanted to be sure to get our oompah fix in with the Top 10 Oktoberfest Songs to play at your very own celebration. Traditional German
Continue reading…

Improvisation tips

Begin Putting the ‘Pro’ in Musical Improvisation

Perhaps the ultimate display of personal musicianship and expression, improvisation is a fantastic component to any developing musician’s study. Learning to play spontaneously isn’t easy, and it’s certainly a skill built on trial and error. However, there are a few things beginners can do to aid in their mastery of musical improvisation. First, you might be thinking, “I’m not a jazz guy, what do I need to practice improvisation for?”From Bach to Beethoven, improvisation has a storied history in classical music, allowing composers to show off their skills and attract attention and admirers. A recent study has even suggested that musicians who train in improvisation are able to unlock their
Continue reading…