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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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  • Great Performances - Contrabassoon Audit...
    by ★ Owner on April 12, 2012 at 9:12 AM
    2797 Views - 0 Comments

    Contrabassoon, self painted by Mezzofortist

    For any of us who have ever given an instrumental audition for a band or orchestra, or for those who have had to sit on an election committe or adjudicators panel and listen to performer after performer for hours, I give you a memorable contrabassoon orchestral audition. The clacking keys, the gasping for breath, and the gutteral vibrations of the big horn blend sublimely with some of your favorite orchestral excerpts, including "Also Sprach Zarathustra", the march from Beethoven 9, "Petrushka", Holst's "The Planets", some Ravel, and ending with "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" (during which I swear there is a snicker). I guarantee you've never heard those excerpts quite like this. I also love the auditioner's classic audition lines: "Can I have another go?" and "Should I call you?"

  • Great Performances - Stjpan Hauser and L...
    by ★ Owner on January 28, 2011 at 9:05 AM
    2791 Views - 0 Comments

    Here's a great example of what I have decided to call "New Folk Music". Two performers, who have obviously mastered their instrument, stepping outside of what is typically accepted as the style of music performed on that instrument, and doing their version of an immensely popular song that has stood the test of time (at least the past 25 years or so, which in the modern music world is significant).

    They obviously have a film crew of some kind helping to put this together, as evidenced by the boom cam shots, and it has been very professionally mixed and edited, but looks can be deceiving, especially in the digital age.

    "New Folk Music" is generational in nature. Popular music has to a large degree become the emotional voice of a generation. We can all go back in time and appreciate music from earlier generations, and the more enduring music from those bygone decades is worth experiencing, but we all tend to identify with the kind of music that was popular in our youth. It's time for music teachers to ask themselves, "Which music is enduring the test of time, and which current popular music will join the songs in longevity?"

    We've been in a mass media mode of music consumption for over 100 years now, so the patterns aren't too hard to figure out.

    If you like these guys, make sure you also check out Apocolyptica.

  • Great Performances - Cambridge Singers P...
    by ★ Owner on June 10, 2011 at 10:32 AM
    2789 Views - 0 Comments

    This video was passed on to me today by one of my fellow chamber singers from my undergraduate days. The polyphony and harmony of 16th century vocal music is exquisite, and this piece is a prime example. The Cambridge Singers is a mixed-voice ensemble, but music such as this was often sung with all-male groups with two counter tenor parts. I used to be able to hit those high G's with ease - I can still get there, but only on a good day, and it's not nearly as pretty as it used to be.

  • Great Performances - Capitol Sax Quartet...
    by ★ Owner on September 11, 2011 at 1:01 PM
    2788 Views - 0 Comments

    I have a rather large number of incoming saxophonists to my school this year, so I was looking for a YouTube video to post on their class Moodle page. This one is smokin' hot! It was recorded live at Yamaha's Artist Service Center in New York City on October 8, 2005. The performers are the Capitol Quartet. It's a great demonstration of the various common sizes of saxophone, plus for those of us who know be bop, there's a nice little quote in the middle you may recognize.

  • Great Performances - John Eidsvoog Plays...
    by ★ Owner on December 15, 2011 at 10:31 AM
    2774 Views - 0 Comments

    This video was making the rounds today amongst my band director and musician contemporaries on Facebook today. This is so inventive and cool! Leroy Anderson was a master of the pop orchestra number, and this treatment of "Sleigh Ride" is not only rhythmically engaging but harmonically interesting.

  • Why An "A" Is Not Enough - A Demonstrati...
    by ★ Owner on March 29, 2011 at 8:59 PM
    2743 Views - 0 Comments

    This video features a high school honors band performing a portion of Frank Ticheli's setting of the American folk song "Shenandoah". First, the conductor has the band play the excerpt as it is written on the page, then he has them play it with 90% of the sounds correct (an "A" as far as report cards and tests are concerned). Finally, they play the excerpt as it is written, but with emotional expressiveness that only a live performing ensemble can deliver. Enjoy.

  • Hybrid Lesson On Chord Inversions Using ...
    by ★ Owner on February 11, 2011 at 9:32 PM
    2683 Views - 0 Comments

    Here is an example of a music theory lesson from my Digital Music Composition class. Students in this class meet on-site with my at my school, but log into the class Moodle page to read the assignment, watch screencast walkthroughs, and complete the project using MixCraft5 - all working at their own pace.


    The project web page contains a written description of root position and chord inversions for the C major chord as well as showing how inversions make for a more fluid chord progression going through the primary chords in the key of C Major (C, F, and G major chords). I use Noteflight to write examples of these chords and embed them directly on to the project web page.


    After the description and samples of the music theory, the students read the assignment requirements and a basic set of directions, then watch several screencasts that I made using another great web 2.0 tool called Jing  - the screencasts walk them through the project as I create a sample song.


    Hybrid learning (using web-based lessons and resources to allow students to work at their own pace) is an effective and versatile way to differentiate instruction between students of varying ability levels, allow students more freedom to be creative and self-directed, and so much more.


    Learning a music theory concept in this manner takes the theory immediately into the realm of application and creates a short piece of authentic music out of it. Students show their understanding of the theory concepts by playing the primary chords into the sequencer while reviewing previously covered material such as the elements of melody writing, using loops, virtual instruments, and effects.

  • Diamond Dance Concert Band Music
    by ★ Owner on July 22, 2008 at 2:42 PM
    2628 Views - 0 Comments

    This is an original work for concert band, grade 3 by composer Thomas J. West. Captions during the music will describe the musical events as well as the symbolism implied in the work. Visit the Compositions to order this music for your band.

  • Great Performances - Gustavo Dudamel Dan...
    by ★ Owner on February 17, 2011 at 8:13 AM
    2627 Views - 0 Comments

    Once again, Gustav Dudamel shows why he is worthy of attention.



    The Youth Orchestra of Venezuela is such a success story. El Sistema is such an important program not only for preserving classical music, but for creating social change.



    Dudamel's unbridled passion and infectious energy, combined with a reverence for the music and a willingness to break from tradition, make for the perfect storm. This video typifies all of those qualities in 90 seconds.


  • Great Performances - Chicago Symphony Or...
    by ★ Owner on April 11, 2011 at 2:28 PM
    2591 Views - 0 Comments

    My soul needed this today.



    Edward Elgar's Enigma Variations are one of the major works for symphony orchestra, and few movements of orchestral music are as moving, poignant, sensitive, and emotional as Nimrod. Music students need to be exposed to music of this level. It is simultaneously simple, yet has tremendous depth. Most students would dismiss it immediately as "slow and boring," but grow to love (or at least respect) it after spending time in ensemble with it.


  • Great Performances - Symphony of Science...
    by ★ Owner on September 6, 2011 at 1:14 PM
    2572 Views - 0 Comments

    symphony of science

    I have been a fan of Symphony of Science since discovering it two years ago. While music has always been the central focus of my life, I developed a strong interest in quantum theory, consciousness and the mind, cymatics, and spiritual geometry over the past five years. Symphony of Science is a marriage of the two. Producer John Boswell takes lectures given by some of our most prominent theoretical physicists, auto tunes them, and turns their words into an entire song complete with verses and a refrain.

    This most recent song, entitled "The Quantum World!" is perhaps his best work to date. These are the real mystical explorers of our age - trying to quantify the unquantifiable. The more we learn about quantum physics, the more we understand the interconnectedness of all things.

  • Great Performances #5: Glass Harp
    by anonymous on September 20, 2008 at 6:54 PM
    2556 Views - 0 Comments

    Nearly everyone has been annoyed at some formal occasion by someone at a nearby table running their wet fingertip around the rim of a crystal wine glass, producing that pure tone accompanied by a small squeak. Here is one gentleman who has taken the act of wine glass playing to a level of artistry. Playing the glasses in this fashion is a great example of how the brain can be trained to perform completely different rhythmic actions with the left and right sides of the body. He even rewets his right hand in a bowl while the left hand is playing! If you've ever tried to produced a sound on a wine glass yourself, you know how tricky it can be to get the glass to speak at all, let alone instantly and with short duration. There are several other good glass harp videos on YouTube that are worth watching as well. Enjoy.

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