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Thomas J. West Music

Live webcam private music lessons, music education articles, compositions, clinician services, reviews

Video Gallery

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.

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  • A Demonstration of the new Vocal Remover...
    by ★ Owner on March 18, 2011 at 9:07 AM
    3138 Views - 0 Comments

    The folks at Sourceforge have been paying attention.

    As anyone who uses Audacity probably knows, there are several YouTube videos that teach you how to use the web's more popular freeware audio recorder/editor to remove vocal tracks from a recording. The new version of Audacity (1.3 Beta) now has this ability onboard as an item under the Effects menu. Simply select all, click on Vocal Remover, and you're done.

    The Vocal Remover feature doesn't perform flawlessly, because it depends on the way the original data was recorded. Vocal remover removes any center-panned sounds (voice or otherwise) from the selected region. Center-panned means that the data for those sounds appears identically on both the left and right channels of the recording. If your vocalist sounds like he's standing on stage left, Vocal Remover will not work. If the vocal is center-panned, but the reverb of the voice is not, you will still get an echo of the voice on the finished track. Also, any instruments that are center-panned will also disappear.

    Vocal Remover is a great tool for voice teachers to take a popular song that students want to work on and giving them a practice track that sounds a lot like the original. It is not flawless, but for educational purposes, it is very useful.

  • Great Performances #4: Van Cliburn Plays...
    by anonymous on August 30, 2008 at 2:55 PM
    3120 Views - 1 Comment

    Here is one of many great recordings to be found online of piano master Van Cliburn performing a portion of Frederic Chopin's masterpiece Polonaise in Ab from his Opus 53. If you don't recognize this music initially, wait for the reprise of the main theme and the thuderous finale. A few technical things to note here: notice the seemingly flawless transition from both hands playing the descending bassline in octaves to only the left hand performing the same thing. Also, note that with his flawless techical execution comes an ability to truly emote and draw forth the intended emotional content of the piece. Van Cliburn, as any great pianist, accomplishes this through complete and utter mastery of every fine motor skill required to execute the music physically and still have enough processing left over to be able to be expressive. As with any accomplished pianist, the piece is memorized in the course of perfecting it. Enjoy the work of one of the greatest concert pianists of all time.

  • Great Performances - Acoustix Sings Star...
    by ★ Owner on May 30, 2011 at 8:51 AM
    3107 Views - 0 Comments

    flag of America

    In honor of U.S. Memorial Day, I share with you today the official march of the United States of America: John Philip Sousa's "The Stars and Stripes Forever." This iconic march is so well-known that many Americans recognize both the intro and first strain melody and the melody from the trio. It also contains the most popular piccolo solo of all time.

    This particular performance, however, is not the traditional military band rendition. This version is sung a cappella by one of the most accomplished barbershop quartets of all time, Acoustix. This track appears on their album Stars and Stripes - a collection of patriotic and popular American music. The lyrics sung are actually Sousa's original lyrics, altered slightly for this arrangement. Happy Memorial Day - may these colors never run.

    You need Adobe Flash Player to view this content.

  • Great Performances - New Hot 5 Plays Jaz...
    by ★ Owner on September 12, 2011 at 2:56 PM
    3077 Views - 0 Comments


    The Hot 5 is a dixieland quintet of faculty and alumni from Bringham Young University that performs classic New Orleans-style jazz. This video of the group playing "When the Saints Go Marching In" for a group of cows in rural France is making the rounds on Facebook right now and is quite charming.

    This is the best jazz you've ever herd. It's incredibly mooving.

  • Great Performances #1: Victor Borge - Hu...
    by ★ Owner on July 23, 2008 at 5:49 AM
    3068 Views - 1 Comment

    This is the first of a series of videos, mostly from YouTube, of great performances. I use these videos to highlight aspects of musical mastery and music learning for the benefit of my readers. Today's video is one act from an entire two-hour show by the late Victor Borge (You can buy a copy of this entire concert here. It is a great show for anyone that loves classical music and laughing at the same time). His blend of comedic slapstick, witty use of the English language (and secondary one for him), and his masterful piano playing is evident in this routine. I suggest you watch it twice - once for sheer enjoyment, and then again with attention to the technical detail and precision required to not only play the music in time synchronized with two people, but the choreographed movements in and around eachother's bodies that had to have initially taken hours and hours of rehearsal to map the neural connections necessary to make it all "seem so easy."

  • Great Performances - Jonathan Conducts B...
    by ★ Owner on October 29, 2010 at 10:13 PM
    3060 Views - 0 Comments

    This video is hot right now - making the rounds on Facebook. And there's a very good reason - this three-year-old's musical instincts as he conducts the fourth movement of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony are uncanny. There are adults who study for years to anticipate the score and achieve the level of expression that this young man achieves. He does remind us, however, that he is only three when he gets an itchy nose, shouts out "This is my FAVORITE PART!" just after the 3 minute mark, and his grand finale complete with giggles when he loses grip on his baton. Sheer joy in music, and uncanny musicianship at the same time. Enjoy.

  • Great Performances - Bernstein Conducts ...
    by ★ Owner on April 1, 2011 at 8:21 AM
    3056 Views - 0 Comments


    Music PLN member Brandt Schneider shared this video today. There are so many things about this that are just simply superlative: Mahler's mastery of composition, Bernstein's embodiment of the music, the excellent performance quality of all involved, and more. I particularly was struck by the way the ascending motif at the 3:00 mark skillfully melts into the woodwinds as the piece takes it's last deep breath before the final chords of The Ressurection Symphony. I am also quite fond of Mahler's Ninth for completely different reasons.

  • Great Performances - Fred Omega Pye's Ma...
    by ★ Owner on November 19, 2010 at 8:06 AM
    3050 Views - 0 Comments

    In my days at Penn State, a very unique alumni of my chapter of Phi Mu Alpha lived in State College and visited chapter functions on a semi-regular basis. His name is Fred Omega Pye (which I always thought was the perfect name for someone who is a member of a fraternity with greek letters). I had never seen Fred perform, but stories of his prowess with anything that spins (batons, sabers, rifles, and the drum major's mace) were lefendary. Fred is now the color guard coordinator for the UMass Minutemen Marching Band, one of the premiere college bands in the country. The recent loss of iconic director George N. Parks has brought the band a bit more attention than usual. In the midst of it all, Fred recently posted this video from 2009 of his mace salute. I appreciate the opportunity to finally see FOP do his stuff. Enjoy.

  • Great Performances - The Kings Firecrack...
    by ★ Owner on June 25, 2010 at 10:07 PM
    3038 Views - 0 Comments

    The Firecrackers are a performance jump rope team made up of talented 4th-8th graders from the Kings Local School District in Ohio. They practice 2 hours a day 5 to 6 times a week. And you thought your high school marching band was disciplined!

    Check out their website at

  • Wondering - A Cappella Original
    by ★ Owner on April 5, 2012 at 8:36 PM
    2992 Views - 0 Comments

    About a year ago, I started composing and recording my own a cappella vocal tracks. It was an exercise in using a digital audio workstation and an exercise in creativity in the same project. I have done several recordings and uploaded them to my SoundCloud page. Today, I made a simple slide-show style video for one of my original songs, which I entitled "Wondering".

    "Wondering" was inspired by a ballad called "The Boy is Gone" by a professional a cappella group called The House Jacks. I had seen The House Jacks in April of 2011 and that song was on my mind when I was coming up with musical ideas to create and record.

    This track is available as a free download here.

  • Dalton Sherman Keynote Speaker - Dallas...
    by ★ Owner on August 29, 2009 at 8:00 AM
    2877 Views - 0 Comments

    If you teach anything at all to anyone in a public school, you will be inspired by this video.

  • The Genius of Eric Whitacre: YouTube Vir...
    by ★ Owner on March 23, 2010 at 10:20 PM
    2864 Views - 0 Comments

    Eric Whitacre is the Golden Child of modern composition. As this video demonstrates, he is still managing to innovate in an era when we've all "been there, heard that." This piece was performed by hundreds of performers from 12 different countries. Each person uploaded themselves singing a voice part to You Tube, and Whitacre's producer mixed them. You can even subscribe on YouTube or follow them on Facebook to find out when the next piece will be premiered. Guess who's joining the next one? :-)

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