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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Learn how to read leadsheets

Learn How to Read Lead Sheets: The Theory Behind Music’s Most Versatile Pages

If you’ve searched through the catalog, you may have noticed pieces scored as “leadsheets.” If you’ve looked at a lead sheet, you may have asked yourself “Where are all the notes!?”  A lead sheet is a type of sheet music arrangement used by many instrumentalists, bands, and even vocalists. They may only be a page or two, but their uses are many! In this blog, we’ll go over some of the advantages of using lead sheets versus traditional piano/vocal/guitar arrangements, discuss what other useful information a lead sheet provides and find out how using a bit of music theory can open up new doors for our playing.  So, what’s
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How to Read Guitar Tab

How to Play Guitar Tabs: Learn to Read Tab Notation & Play Your Favorite Songs!

Have you always wanted to play guitar, but are unsure about where to start? Guitar tabs offer beginning and experienced musicians alike a quick guide to playing their favorite songs. In this article we’ll explain the basics of how to play guitar tabs, give pointers on reading tab notation, and get you started on the right note with a FREE song and symbol guide! What is Tab? Tablature (or tab) is a type of sheet music scoring specifically designed to help guitarists and bassists quickly learn how to play their favorite songs. In addition to helping the reader associate fret positions with the notes on the staff, tablature also provides
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Hitting the Wall

Tips to Bust Through Progress Walls and Practice Plateaus

We’ve all been there, the dreaded proverbial “wall.” It’s most commonly identified as a point in which, no matter how much you practice, you don’t feel that you’re advancing as a musician. These practice plateaus can (at best) be incredibly frustrating, and (at worst) cause you to believe you’ve reached your full potential and give up hopes of further improvement. Novelist David Foster Wallace wrote that the path to genuine mastery of any craft is “slow, frustrating. Humbling. A question of less talent than temperament.” If you look at your own path of musical improvement, it’s most likely not a straight inclining line but rather a series of peaks, small
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How to choose a music teacher

How to Choose a Piano Teacher

The benefits of learning to play music are indisputable, and one of the most important aspects in creating an exciting, valuable music education experience for yourself or your child is knowing how to choose a piano teacher. Communication styles, learning methods and preferred genres are highly personal, meaning that it takes a little bit of background work to choose the best music teacher FOR YOU. Below we’ll go over our 5 helpful tips for choosing a piano teacher, which actually may applied to choosing any music instructor, and our top resources to turn to for additional help. By following these tips, you can be sure to choose a teacher who
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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
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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
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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
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Encouraging Good Practice Habits

Make Practice Time Rewarding and Fun with These 5 Simple Practice Tips!

With the new school year now fully underway, many households are getting into their groove and finding the right routine. In any musical household, one very important (yet sometimes overlooked) factor of a successful school year schedule is practice time. Following school, homework, extra-curricular activities and sleep, musical practice may occasionally get pushed to the wayside or left until the last minute, which, as we know, doesn’t really help budding musicians expand their skills and reach their goals. We’ve narrowed down five simple tips for encouraging good practice habits that children can carry on throughout their musical careers. When practice is rewarding and ‘fun,’ youngsters will look forward to that
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Challenging Guitar

Test Your Technique with Challenging Guitar Tab Selections!

Are you a guitarist looking to expand your playlist and/or skills? In need of a piece to impress at a school or band audition? Well, you’ve come to the right place! We love guitarists, and guitarists love Musicnotes for our selection, reliability and convenience. Our awesome customers frequently come to us for song suggestions. So, we decided to provide a fun mix of guitar tab challenges that make great pick-up-and-practice skill-builders. These aren’t songs you’ll most likely master quickly, but rather works you’ll develop over time. How difficult a piece is to play can depend on a variety of variables. Speed, length, mood and dexterous fingering may all be factors
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