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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 - Mt. Lebanon Winter ...
    by ★ Owner on February 28, 2012 at 7:50 AM
    3646 Views - 0 Comments

    Yes, I'm a little biased, as this is my alma mater and the Winter Guard's director is a childhood friend of mine. Despite those connections, this is a very technical and artful indoor guard presentation of one of my favorite choral works of all time, Morten Laurisden's "O Magnum Mysterium". I have featured this piece before as sung by the incomparable University of Utah singers under Dr. Brady Allred here.

    The number of hours of work and repetition that goes into making a piece of art such as this performance is hard for people outside of performing arts to fathom. And this is a high school group. Whoever says that American public schools are failing us is speaking in complete ignorance. Performance art such as this empowers the performers to become better people as adults. It makes emotional connections that are indelibly etched into people's memories.

    Congratulations to the Lebo Winter Guard and to my friend Carrie Duffner and fellow director Jason Greenawalt. There's a lot of blood, sweat, and tears on that gym floor, hidden under the veil of Laurisden's masterpiece and a lot of technical know-how.

  • Great Performances - Lindsey Stirling Du...
    by ★ Owner on February 24, 2012 at 8:29 AM
    4056 Views - 0 Comments

    With the advent of social media and the democratization of communications, not only are regimes crumbling in the Middle East, but new forms of art and music are finding their way into the mainstream. What's the next big thing in popular music? Dubstep.It's big enough now that it is finding its way into the Grammys.

    Born in the dance halls of Britain, Dubstep has been quietly growing in popularity for about 15 years. I have previously featured solo a cappella Dubstep artist DubFX on my Great Performances series, and here today is another Dubstep artist who is blending the classical with the contemporary. Lindsey Stirling is a violinist, composer, and visionary who writes her own original music, makes the sheet music available online, and is filming awesome videos like this one. She's also majoring in Therapeutic Recreation at BYU and plans to work with at-risk teenage girls in the future.

    Lindsey's sheet music for this piece is available for sale here.

    Her inspiration for "Crystallize" was observing Dr. Masaru Emoto's images of ice crystals after being exposed to different types of emotions - a bit of controversial research I have been interested in and aware of for over five years. Read her description here.

  • Great Perfomances - Julian Bliss And Ash...
    by ★ Owner on February 9, 2012 at 8:09 AM
    3588 Views - 0 Comments

    There's nothing truly innovative about this video, but it is another great example of what happens when high musical and kinesthetic aptitude is paired with the 10,000 hour principle. Julian Wass was 13 when this performance before the Queen of England at The Queen's Jubilee occurred in 2010. He is accompanied by 23-year-old Ashley Wass, an equally accomplished pianist.

    What is important to note here is that this is high-caliber performing that is not of Eastern descent. So many prodigious young performers come our way from China and Japan, but this is due primarily to culutral differences there which I have discussed in other articles.

  • Great Performances: Walk Off The Earth P...
    by ★ Owner on January 14, 2012 at 11:04 AM
    3396 Views - 0 Comments

    This particular performance is not of the caliber I normally include in the Great Performances series, but the novelty of how it is being performed is worth observing. Walk Off The Earth is an Ontario-based independent contemporary band that specializes in inventive covers of popular songs and their own originals, This particular cover of "Somebody I Used to Know" by Goyte was shared with me on Google Plus. All five members of the band play one acoustic guitar, each taking a piece of the composition as their own. It's a very simple song going back and forth between D minor and C major in D dorian.

    Their other material is equally as inventive and interesting, incorporating loop pedals and unconventional instruments. This kind of creativity is sorely needed in contemporary music, and whether or not they are ever signed by a major label is really immaterial. Be sure to visit their YouTube channel and check out the other innovative materials they have posted (fair warning: they have potty mouths).

  • Great Performances - University of Minne...
    by ★ Owner on December 15, 2011 at 10:32 AM
    2500 Views - 0 Comments

    'Tis the season for holiday flash mobs!


    This is a particularly good one. It begins with a solo alto saxophonist playing in the University of Minnesota's Calson School of Management foyer. Singers begin to join in, and then security shows up. And THAT'S when it starts getting interesting!


    Well played, Golden Gopher School of Music, well played.


  • Great Performances - John Eidsvoog Plays...
    by ★ Owner on December 15, 2011 at 10:31 AM
    2777 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.

  • Great Performances - Swingle Singers Pe...
    by ★ Owner on December 3, 2011 at 8:55 AM
    2208 Views - 0 Comments

    Close harmony singing is a personal joy of mine - one that I have been actively engaged in on and off for the past 20 years. Over the past three years, I have made a return to contemporary a cappella singing after a long haitus. Coming back to a cappella in the age of Social Media has brought me all sorts of new access to groups and fellow enthusiasts that I have never had before. I mean, seriously - I'm Facebook friends with people like Barry Carl from Rockapella and I'm talking to members of The Swingle Singers on Twitter.


    This is the Swingle Singers' latest music video. It is a charming and poignant setting of the classic Christmas carol "O Come, O Come Emmanuel". The introduction depicts a walk through a snowy field with the winter wind blowing - all done with the human voice. The setting itself arranged by group member Clare Wheeler features tight contemporary harmonies that are my favorite musical sounds. I am a huge fan of the legendary Singers Unlimited, and this arrangement definitely has the influence of Gene Puerling floating among its harmonic and phrasing choices.

  • Great Performances - Bach Cello Suite No...
    by ★ Owner on September 28, 2011 at 7:53 AM
    3504 Views - 0 Comments

    Everyone in modern Western culture has heard this music before. Bach's cello prelude in G major is consistently used in the background of television commercials and is often the first cello solo that young cellists the world over ask to learn how to play. It's execution and interpretation have been scrutinized by cellists for hundreds of years, and it is pretty much required learning if you consider yourself a cellist.

    This morning, one of my students sent me the link to this clip, which demonstrates beautifully the pervasiveness of Bach's music throughout our culture and transcendent of time. From the Spanish film Die Stille vor Bach (The Silence Before Bach), this scene depicts approximately twenty cellists all playing the prelude while riding a vacant subway car.

    The juxtaposition of this beautiful prelude with the commonality of the subway is a provocative artistic statement, implying that Bach's artistry permeates even the lowest of places. Director Pere Portabella lets the music speak for itself with simple camera work and an emphasis on how this prelude is performed by cellists the world over for the last three centuries.

  • Great Performances - New Hot 5 Plays Jaz...
    by ★ Owner on September 12, 2011 at 2:56 PM
    3075 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 - Capitol Sax Quartet...
    by ★ Owner on September 11, 2011 at 1:01 PM
    2793 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 - Symphony of Science...
    by ★ Owner on September 6, 2011 at 1:14 PM
    2579 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 - The Cadets Perform ...
    by ★ Owner on August 15, 2011 at 6:47 AM
    3879 Views - 0 Comments

    This past Saturday, The Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps won their tenth world championship. Throughout this summer, the organization has made available for free their All-Access service, a great behind-the-scenes series of videos and recordings normally offered at a subscription rate. This video is from the parking lot of the new Meadowlands facility in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

    It's so fantastic to see and hear this video - not just because The Cadets performance is so precise and emotional, but the quality of the recording equipment and camera work helps to enhance the moment. There are other versions of this on YouTube, but this one will be one of the best. They also filmed a great version of their unofficial anthem, Ron Nelson's Rocky Point Holiday, at the same session.

    As an alumnus of the corps, I am proud that their 2011 program, Angels and Demons, beat out a highly competitive field to win this year. When I watched this video, my heart melted a little. I was a member of the 1993 incarnation of The Cadets of Bergen County, when On a Hymnsong of Philip Bliss was used as the ballad in our 1st place show In the Spring at the Time When Kings Go Off to War, featuring the music of David Holsinger. I posted this video on Mr. Holsinger's Facebook wall on Saturday, thanking him and corps director George Hopkins for giving me the opportunity to be a part of something so special.

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