The following videos were created by Tom and hosted on YouTube. There are a variety of videos here showcasing Tom's music compositions as well as providing music practice tips for both teachers and students.
Great Performances: John Williams Conduc...
by ★ Owner on July 5, 2014 at 12:18 PM
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I have shared two other versions of The Star-Spangled Banner on my blog before by the combined Academy Choirs from the four branches of the U.S. Armed Services along with the U.S. Army Herald Trumpets, and the stirring rendition by pop singer Whitney Houston.This new version is equally as stirring, yet faithful to the original. It was arranged and conducted by legendary film composer John Williams yesterday, July 4th, 2014 at the National Independence Day Celebration in Washington, D.C. Williams also incorporated service choirs and the herald trumpets for his arrangement, but his harmonic embellishments and dramatic portrayal are practically trademark Williams.It is my hope that this performance stays on YouTube, but if it is pulled down, I hope to find another performance of it soon, as I'm sure it will find its place among great versions of our National Anthem.
Beam Me Up! (Grade 1 elementary band 201...
by ★ Owner on June 27, 2014 at 7:08 PM
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A fun, adventurous piece for elementary band, Grade 1. Featuring the actual moment when the transporter beam is fired up! This piece introduces students to the dotted quarter-eighth rhythm, eighth note triplet, eighth-sixteenth combination for snare drum, trills for the woodwinds, and utilizes mouthpiece buzzing and scooping for the upper brass and an F3 to Bb3 glissando for the trombones. Works well with reduced instrumentation. Purchase online at http://bit.ly/TJWbeam Become a patron and support future compositions: http://patreon.com/thomasjwest
This music (c) 2014 Thomas J. West, ASCAP - All Rights Reserved
Great Performances: Simon Fitzpatrick Pe...
by ★ Owner on June 24, 2014 at 8:34 PM
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As a full time musician, I find myself enjoying and appreciating music by artists in all different types of musical genres. There's something to like in every genre (yes, even hip hop) and even if I cannot perform or write for those genres myself, I find myself drawn to the excellence and artistry that many performers put out there.
Solo guitar performance is a particular favorite of mine. I do not have the deterity to ever achieve much on a guitar myself, but I find myself drawn in by outstanding solo guitar players. The first time I heard a Kaki King solo, I was mezmerized. I felt similarly listening to Tommy Emmanuel, Preston Reed, and even Jake Shiamburuko on ukulele. Here is another to add to that list, only this time on the 6-string electric bass.
Simon Fitzpatrick is an up-and-coming bassist from England whose solo bass performances have been making the rounds on YouTube. This particular solo is his rendition of the Yes classic "Roundabout", which involves a little use of a looping pedal for some of the ostinati and a whole lot of amazing solo playing. Keep watching to the end - there's an applause break around the 2:45 mark. Such smooth execution - he makes it all look so easy.
Music Theory Basics, Part 2 - Arpeggios,...
by ★ Owner on June 18, 2014 at 9:54 AM
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http://thomasjwestmusic.com http://patreon.com/thomasjwest This is the second in a series of videos teaching basic concepts in music theory and music composition for aspiring musicians who already know how to read basic music notation and want to learn how to write for instruments or the voice. Follow the entire series on this playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLsDvltr-aokp2qAhlYE8_tQ1ngNGVabwM This video is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives License CC BY-ND http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/4.0/
Creating a Watermark on Your FINALE Musi...
by ★ Owner on June 18, 2014 at 9:51 AM
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Watch in HD to see all the details on the software menus!
Use an image editor such as Paint.NET to create a transparent watermark, then add it to your music scores in Finale. Watermarks are useful for branding your scores online or in print as draft copies to be used as samples for potential customers. This video uses Finale 2012c, but also works with other versions of Finale. Be sure to follow other helpful Music Education, Technology, and Composition videos on my YouTube channel.
Great Performances: Low Brass Version Of...
by ★ Owner on June 16, 2014 at 12:35 PM
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I actually started reading George R. R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire series before the HBO series based on his books became widely popular. I read them until the infamous "Red Wedding" scene in book 3, then put them down. I took issue with Martin's knack of spending thousands of pages to get you invested in characters only to kill them quite unceremoniously. It's a bit too realistic for my taste - not something I want to feel when reading or watching fantasy.
I watched season 1 of HBO's Game of Thrones shortly after season 2 aired, and I saw as much as I needed to.
This, however, is a really fun and well-done version of the title theme from the series done by all low brass instruments, including six players on the elusive contrabass trombone. Unless you have a great speaker system on your computer with a sub-woofer, I recommend watching this using headphones with good bass response.
Thomas J. West Music Update - June 2014
by ★ Owner on June 5, 2014 at 9:06 AM
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Watch this video for SIX BIG CHANGES coming to my website this June! Links not clickable in the video: ASCAP: www.ascap.com My Free-Scores.com profile: http://www.free-scores.com/Download-PDF-Sheet-Music-tomwest73.htm New Email Newsletter List: http://www.thomasjwestmusic.com/freenewsletter.htm The rest you can find in the video. Be sure to catch the last 60 seconds, it's kinda funny. Become my patron on Patreon! http://www.patreon.com/thomasjwest Join my new website email newsletter list (the old one is gone): http://www.thomasjwestmusic.com/freenewsletter.htm All the spambots were harmed in the making of this video.
Cornestone (Brass Quartet 2014) Thomas J...
by ★ Owner on June 1, 2014 at 8:25 AM
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http://bit.ly/TJWcornerstone Support this composer on Patreon: http://patreon.com/thomasjwest This brass quartet was written to be performed with the teacher on trumpet 1 and students in their second year of study on the trumpet 2, French horn, and trombone parts, grade 1.5. The French horn part exceeds the normal playing range for a grade 1.5 piece because the student it was written for was working on producing a full octave in the key of Concert Bb. The French horn content in measures 24 and 25 could be played down the octave as needed. Score sample (pdf): http://thomasjwestmusic.com/files/cornerstone-sample.pdf (c) 2014 Thomas J. West, ASCAP. All rights reserved.
River Run (Chamber Music 2014) Thomas J....
by ★ Owner on June 1, 2014 at 8:24 AM
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http://bit.ly/TJWriverrun Support this composer: Patreon http://patreon.com/thomasjwest Written for a very eclectic group of wind instruments that I taught during this particular school year, River Run is technically a grade 3, but contains 2nd parts that are intended for performers at the grade 2 level. The percussion part and French horn part are optional. More by this composer: http://bit.ly/TJWcompositions This music is (c) Thomas J. West, ASCAP. All rights reserved.
Music Theory Basics, Part 1 - Major Scal...
by ★ Owner on June 1, 2014 at 8:13 AM
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This is the first in a series of videos teaching basic concepts in music theory and music composition for aspiring musicians who already know how to read basic music notation and want to learn how to write for instruments or the voice. This video is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives License CC BY-ND http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/4.0/
Great Performances: Pentatonix Run To Yo...
by ★ Owner on January 30, 2014 at 4:38 PM
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As an contemporary a cappella enthusiast and part-time professional, I have been closely following the career of mainstream a cappella artists Pentatonix. It has been a pleasure to get to know many of the people behind the scenes who have helped PTX catapult into the limelight. I have gotten to see them perform live once and unfortunately could not stick around to chat with them. I really enjoy everything about their sound - they are pretty much the "perfect storm" of five voices - each person's contribution to the sound is indispensable, yet unique.
I waited anxiously for PTX Volume II to drop, hoping that it would be the album that sealed the deal for them in mainstream pop culture. It did not disappoint. With the exception of one track, the album is really a tour-de-force of a cappella music, showing how amazing and versitile the human voice is while putting the arranging and performing skills of the quintet on prominent display on both cover songs and original compositions.
As a professional music educator and self-confessed "chord junkie", there are few things that grab my attention more strongly than lush chords and equally lavish lyrics. Pentatonix, along with producer Ben Bram, wrote "Run to You" for PTX Volume II, and it was immediately one of my most favorite a cappella recordings of all time. Weaned on barbershop quartet music, my early a cappella favorites were the Singers Unlimited and Take 6. "Run to You" has just enough dissonance to make the point of the lyrics, and just enough emotional contouring to drive the sentiments home.
Now, Pentatonix has released another amazing video of this song in conjunction with FifGen Films, who gave us the record-breaking video for PTX's Daft Punk Medley and many of the videos distributed on YouTube by a cappella solo artist Peter Hollens. What I love about the video is that is doesn't get in the way of the music, yet manages to make an artistic impression of its own. I spent part of the video wondering how they could have worked in the reverse footage of the snowfall while the group members sang the song. I was impressed all over again when I disovered that the group had to practice lip syncing to playback in reverse in order to make the effect. Astounding, and a tribute to true creativity at work.
I have enjoyed watching Pentatonix grow from their formative days on Season 3 of The Sing-Off to YouTube paragons and globe-trotters. Most of the musical artists that I enjoy began their careers before I was old enough to follow them. My favorite pop artist will always be Billy Joel, with singer/songwriters like Paul Simon, Sting, and Phil Collins ranking high on my list. It is a different experience to watch a close-harmony singing group begin to take hold at what hopefully is the beginning of a long career and watch them affect popular culture.
This article (c) 2014 Thomas J. West. All content on ThomasJWestMusic dot com is licensed under a Creative Contributions Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 License. Please contact the author before publishing on or off-line.
Great Performances - US Marine Band Perf...
by ★ Owner on November 22, 2013 at 12:48 PM
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Today marks the 50th anniversary of the assasination of United States President John Fitzgerald Kennedy. While I am too young to have experienced this event in person, I understand the gravitas that events like this have on the consciousness of a culture. My first experience with such an event was when the space shuttle Challenger exploded during takeoff. I remember where I was when the mass school shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado occurred. And of course, I remember vividly the events of September 11, 2001 when the World Trade towers fell.
To commemorate the day, The United States Marine Band posted this recording of their performance of Robert LoPresti's most well-known work "Elegy for a Young American". It is a piece written to express the composer's own grief upon hearing the news that the President had been killed, and it encapsulates much of the sentiment of the country in the days following this tragic event.
I myself played the third clarinet part to this piece as a member of the PMEA District 1 Honors Band at Duquesne University in the winter of 1990 under the baton of the Hartt School's Stanley DeRusha (now at Butler University). This piece, along with many others that concert, shaped my musical life in very important ways.
On this somber occasion, music often expresses what words cannot. Allow the excellence of the Marine Band to speak of that tragic day, that we might not see another like it.
This article (c) 2013 Thomas J. West. All content on ThomasJWestMusic dot com is licensed under a Creative Contributions Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 License. Please contact the author before publishing on or off-line.
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