Simple Gifts of Music, Mindfulness and Thanksgiving

As we prepare to share in heart-warming traditions, celebratory musical gatherings and, yes, retail-related reverie, we look back nearly 170 years to a song that provides a gentle reminder of gratitude in its purest form. “Simple Gifts” was composed by Joseph Brackett in 1848, and its melody and message are as relevant today as when the Shaker elder first penned the piece. The tune itself is instantly recognizable, having appeared in a number of variations through the years such as Sydney Carter’s 1963 “Lord of the Dance,” Aaron Copland’s ‘Appalachian Spring’ ballet, TV spots for cars and appliances, and covers ranging from contemporary Christian artists to rock bands. Joseph Brackett’s
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Music Crafts

Simple Musical Crafts for Kids: 12 Rainy Day Projects

Even if your little ones are a bit too young to start formal musical training, it’s a terrific idea to expose them to basic concepts like rhythm, pitch and melody. A fun and exciting way to get youngsters involved in their earliest musical training is by helping them to make their own musical instruments. We’ve scanned the web to find 12 go-to (simple) musical crafts perfect for a rainy day, a quiet weekend or really any time! Looking for something a little more advanced than the preschool-level activities below? Use these 100% FREE resources to teach little ones how to read sheet music: Beginner Notes sheet music, keyboard note guide, and keyboard apps for iPad
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Popular High School Musicals

The Shows Go On: Most Popular High School Musicals

School musical auditions will soon be upon us, which means directors are finalizing this year’s show selections. There’s no doubt that each year’s production leaves a lasting impact on all involved, after all, you can’t just erase thousands of hours of running lines and mastering  choreography. The Musicnotes team got to talking about our most memorable productions, and noticed quite a few of us, from all over the country, had performed in the same shows during our school days. That got us wondering: what are the most popular high school musicals of all time? Well, a quick internet search pointed us to this article, which compiles 75 years of data
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Marching Band

March On! 10 Benefits of Playing in School Marching Band

You’ll be required to play outdoors, in temperatures ranging from frozen to sweltering. We ask that you wear the most scratchy, ill-fitting outfit imaginable, oh, and did we mention it comes with a really special hat? And we’re going to throw in early morning drills and weekend events for good measure. Does that sound like a recipe for fun to you? Well, we proud band geeks wouldn’t have it any other way! It’s that time of year when high school band geeks around the country get to take center stage, er, field, and show their non-roll-stepping peers what they’re made of. In addition to totally killing your half-time performance and wowing all your classmates, it turns
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Marcy and Zina picture 2015

Q&A With Songwriters, Storytellers and Stage Stars Marcy & Zina

Longtime composing/writing team Marcy Heisler and Zina Goldrich create songs that turn mundane day-to-day occurrences into laugh-out-loud musical events. For example, did you hear the one about the coffee Cassanova? How about the suitor who wooed his sweetheart with Weight Watchers? Have to learned to beware of thespian charmers from charm city? The songbooks of Marcy and Zina have long been adored by musical theatre fans, and their quick, smart, quirky pieces are favorites for stage auditions. The duo has been honored with the Fred Ebb Award for Musical Theatre Songwriting, a nomination for Drama Desk Awards for Outstanding Lyrics and Music, and has toured nationally and internationally performing the
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Learning Cover

10 Musical Quotes for Piano Teachers

In celebration of this year’s national piano month of September, we’ve put together 10 of our favorite inspirational quotes for piano teachers, or any music teachers, to share with students. We hope you enjoy this collection of inspiring quotations, and please add your own musical musings in the comments section below! 1. “The slower you go, the faster you’ll get there.” -John Link 2. “You only need to practice on the days that you eat.” 3. “When you play, never mind who listens.” –Robert Schumann 4. “Music is a world within itself, with a language we all understand.” 5. “I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music.
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Choral Audition

Choral Audition Tips from 6 Stand-Out Choir Conductors!

What do you really need to do when you’re auditioning for that choir, small ensemble, choral competition or festival? We’ve asked several of our choral director friends at the top of their game to tell us what they look and listen for. They’ve graciously shared their wisdom with us so that we can share it with you. You’ll notice that some of our experts give similar advice on a few topics. Pay special attention there, and do what they say! Read on, and get ready for your BEST choral audition ever! Rollo Dilworth – world-renowned conductor and clinician, prolific composer and arranger, chair of music education and music therapy at
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Q&A With Superstar Pianist Lang Lang + FREE Sheet Music Download

He’s sold out great concert halls around the globe,  made Time Magazine’s ‘100 Most Influential People,’ and, at just 33 years old, Lang Lang is the most popular concert pianist in the world. We were beyond honored to get the chance to ask Lang Lang about his astounding professional career, including his latest venture, Piano Academy, featuring a series of books that are sure to influence the next generation of piano virtuosos in the making. (Enter to WIN your own copy of Lang Lang’s Mastering the Piano series, a $70 value, at the end of this post!) What’s been dubbed the “Lang Lang effect,” watching and hearing the exuberant, virtuosic
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10 Telltale Signs You Might Be a Theatre Kid

Do you  break out in random song and dance? Do you have a kitten named Grizabella? Have you spent hours upon hours searching out the perfect audition piece? Did you previously fail to fit our Band Geek, Orch Dork or Choir Nerd lists? Well, my musical friend, you might just be a Theatre Kid. There are more than a couple former Theatre Kids working at Musicnotes headquarters, and we’re always on the lookout for the next great Broadway, West End, Off-Broadway (or even Off-Off-Broadway) show to offer sheet music for. Take a look at some of our unmistakable Theatre Kid signs below, and offer your own Theatre Kid traits in
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Skill Building

The Best Sheet Music Selections for Developing Your Musical Skills

Are you looking to improve your finger dexterity or wrist flexibility? Do you want to increase sight reading speed and accuracy? Maybe you’re working on an overall mastery of scales, syncopation or repeated notes. No matter what musical skills you’re trying to advance, Musicnotes has a wide array of downloadable sheet music to foster and support your growth as a musician. We’ve chosen 8 works well-known for their skill-building and technique-advancing benefits. Take a look at our list below, and suggest any must-play pieces you have in your own musical skills portfolio. Skill-Building Sheet Music for Piano “Hanon’s The Virtoso Pianist“    Charles-Louis Hanon’s “The Virtuoso Pianist” is a staple
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