Message from Doug – February 22nd
In a separate email, look for a PDF of our library listings. If you’re interested, browse the list and see if there’s anything you’d like me to add to the queue for our weekly challenges. I haven’t picked a date yet to go to Cornell to pick up music, but it will likely be in mid-March. So, no rush, but our access to the library is extremely limited. If you’ve got a request, be sure to get it in on this first visit.
Our next Zoom will be March 1. Here’s the playlist, with PDFs and mp3s.
Re our last Zoom meeting- not shockingly, several of our expected guests were no-shows. Feel free to extend invitations to friends and family who might be interested- it looks like we’ll have lots of headroom on our max attendees. Please have them email me so I can add them to my MCB guest mailing list.
Question of the Week: What’s your go-to song/music when you want to improve your mood? (It’s an eclectic selection of responses. Shockingly, no one mentioned Klingon opera.)
My go to song when I want to improve my mood would be Rock This Town by The Stray Cats. NF
My song is the uplifting ‘Passacaglia’ from Respighi’s ‘Ancient Airs and Dances’. WD
I usually put on CDs of Chopin, or, Band CDs. No one song. DC
My go-to music is the Arrogant Worms, a Canadian comedy trio. They’re playing right now, in fact. 🙂 HW
There are so many, but this is one that works: July 1963, a hot one in Windsor Ontario, and then came a HEATWAVE! This version is sung by Joan Osborne and the Motown studio band. Love the Bari sax solo! Gotta put a smile on your face! DG https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PTKFR3ra2ts
This week, we’ll start Argentum, a concert march by Canadian composer Louie Calleja. I’ve found three recordings to share. To be honest, none of them are flawless. Perhaps we’ll be the first band to record the definitive edition.
Warm-up Eb+: After the usual long tones, go for speed in groups of three or five notes. (12321, repeated several times. 123454321, repeated several times, 23432… and so on) This piece has lots of scale flourishes in some parts.
Practice Argentum 0 – G: The parts are very well edited with articulation markings, and a successful performance will require careful execution. Mp3 #1 is slowed for rehearsal, and mp3 #2 is up to speed- about mm=120.
Listening: mp3 #3 is by the Royal Regiment of Canada. Have a listen to the A section (0 – G) and see if you can hear all the parts, and hear the important lines clearly. For our performance, I’ll be trying for a difference balance. There’s a very nice also countermelody at D that’s getting buried right now, and I’d like to try a much lighter bass line.
Message from Doug – February 14th
Reminder- our next Zoom meeting is Feb. 15, 7:30 pm. The invitation link and resources are at the bottom of this message.
Don’t forget to ask your instrumentalist friends if they’d like to join us on our Zoom meetings. Heather sent out an invitation to our subscribers. Somewhat shockingly, we had seven subscribers interesting in watching the fun!
Let’s try a Question of the Week. Email me directly with your response, and I’ll collate and publish anonymously in next week’s Challenge email. What’s your go-to song/music when you want to improve your mood? We call all use a big of joy right now, so let’s share some mood-changers.
This week’s challenge is a one-shot: a beautiful ballad by Robert Buckley called “Memento”. There was no need to create slower-tempi mp3s for this one, and there are very few technical challenges. We’ll cover the piece in one lesson, and try it out “together” in a couple of weeks.
Warmup F+ and Ab+: Try long tones on F+, and slurred intervals on Ab+ (degrees 1, 2, 1; 1, 3, 1; 1, 4, 1 and so on)
Practice Memento (all): There are very few technical challenges in Memento. Strive asap to duplicate the legato, sustained airflow in the demo recording. I only see one note in the piece that’s accented!
Listening: As noted above, the band in the demo mp3 did a wonderful job executing a sustained airstream. Tuning is also excellent. After listening to the recording a few times following your part, try turning your music over and listening again. Concentrate on hearing the players who aren’t playing melody, and how they’re supporting the melodic line. Also, listen for the key centre changes- both those marked with a key signature change, and the quick wanders into other keys using accidentals.
Message from Doug – February 7th
Lots of extra stuff this week! I’ll put the weekly challenge stuff first (almost), but there’s lots of followup info below.
I’d like to suggest some extra homework.. It’s been great to see so many of the band members during our Zoom meetings, but there have been some notable absences. Section leaders, over the course of the next week or so, could you please try and make contact with the players in your section we haven’t seen? I’ve called the tuba players, and all are well.
We’ll finish up Resurgences this week. I’ll also include links for the pieces we’ll run through at our Feb. 15 Zoom meeting.
Warmup- F+: After a long tone scale, try something to push your brain. How about playing the scale in thirds- F, A, G, Bb, and so on. If you’re already good at that, try 4ths!
Practice Resurgences 101- end: In this recap to the A section, there’s enough familiar material that you shouldn’t need too much woodshedding. Dealing with tempo changes and no conductor will require a few listens to be able to anticipate properly.
Listening: mp3 #4 is a New Hampshire based group- an adult community band, I think. I quite like the timp player’s choice of hard sticks in the opening. There are some wonderful moments, but some real challenges in tuning. They don’t seem to have any alto saxes, but a strong horn section makes it work.
Thanks to John Sellens for these links to articles about Jack MacQuarrie:
Yuki had a friend pass along some interesting social distancing rehearsal software.
I’ve taken a quick peek, and it looks impressive but challenging. The video I watched suggested that it’s advisable to use ethernet rather than wifi, which will be a non-starter for some of us. I’ll investigate further and report back.
We had some good info shared during last Monday’s meeting:
We discussed inviting non-MCB members to our bi-weekly Zoom. It will promote interest in MCB from other musicians and help us stay in touch with our subscriber base. Heather agreed to contact our subscribers, and for musicians, we’ll start with your friends. Feel free to share the following with any band instrument friends that might want to engage with us:
Markham Concert Band is holding Zoom meetings every other Monday night, 7:30 pm – 8:30(ish). We have PDF music of our target pieces for the evening, and stream conductor’s video and mp3s. Everyone has their mics muted, due to the latency issue. If you’d like to play with us, please email Doug at email@example.com to receive the log-in info and loaner PDFs.
We already have one person interested- James, a trombone player.
Followup to Peter’s question- Euph trill Bb to C
I couldn’t find an answer, so I emailed Carina Lam, the euph soloist that debuted Kristie’s piece a few years ago. Her response was quick and detailed:
When I trill middle Bb to C, I also use first valve. (In the higher octave, I would do open valve.) I think the challenge with this interval here is having control of your instrument and ultimately having a solid lip flexibility to prevent that “break” in sound. What have you tried already? Have you tried the following?:
1) mouthpiece buzz
– gliss very slowly between Bb and C (get the pitches as in tune as possible)
– eliminate all breaks and aim for a steady clear pitch bend up and down
-work to keep your embouchure steady, reduced movement in chin/jaw in an effort to have steady airflow
-then once that’s all under control, start buzzing them faster in eights, sixteenths, sextuplets..etc.
2) half-valve on the instrument while playing the pitches Bb & C, following the same approach as buzzing
3) then try it again on the instrument and it should feel easier to achieve after regular practice, tongue /air coordination also impacts the output of the trill.
Peter, I hope that helps.
If you’re still reading- stay safe, and do something that brings you joy.