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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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  • You've Got A Friend In Me; MaxQ
    by ★ Owner on October 17, 2010 at 7:52 AM
    2551 Views - 0 Comments

    I love a cappella singing of all kinds. I caught the close harmony bug as a kid because my dad was actively involved in SPEBSQSA, the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barbershop Quartet Singing in America. When my dad was active in my youth, barbershop was all about ringing major chords and dominant 7ths in a distinctly identifiable style. Many songs from outside the traditional folk songs and pop tunes of the turn-of-the-century were "made shoppable", but quartets stuck closely to what defined barbershop as an original American art form.



    In today's highly competitive Barbershop Harmony Society, the top quartets and choruses sing at a professional level and the members of those groups must be high aptitude singers who are able to devote hours of practice a week. They continue to perform music that fits the criteria for "barbershop," but that criteria has loosened a bit because the modern quartets are capable of so much more technical wizardry than their predecessors. As it is with all things, the art form has evolved.



    This is a video of 2007 quartet champions MaxQ at the Gold Medal hour, an informal sing for past champions, at the 2008 Barbershop Harmony Society Convention.




    This video demonstrates the vocal skill and range of all four men, their ability to seamlessly switch in a blink from a support role to the lead, their ability to ring tight jazz chords with added tensions that would never be heard of a barbershop competition stage, and their ability even in a casual perofrmance such as this to be entertaining and very aware of their presentation. And who doesn't like a good Randy Newman song? Makes ya smile! :-)

  • Student Project: Virtual Instruments and...
    by ★ Owner on October 26, 2010 at 11:11 AM
    2544 Views - 0 Comments

    As we approach the end of the first marking period, the high school students in my Digital Music Composition class are trying their hands at their first true creative composition assignment using MixCraft5. They had to create their own drum loops using virtual instruments, then select loops to create a song with a two measure intro, A-B-A form, and a two measure outro. The only other requirement was to apply at least one effect to either the entire project (global) or to an individual track. This student's work is a great example of what happens when you give someone with some music performing experience, intelligence, and a sense of musicality a tool like MixCraft. The student told me that the part he had the most trouble with was transitioning from the A section to the B section in a musical way, since loops end ubruptly and are designed to be repeated. I can't wait to get them to the point where they are writing all original material!

  • Great Performances - Dub FX Performs Lov...
    by ★ Owner on February 5, 2011 at 8:30 PM
    2514 Views - 0 Comments

    About two years ago, during my first months on Facebook, one of my friends introduced me to Dub FX. He's a street performer from Melbourne, Australia who specializes in dubstep music performed entirely a cappella with the aid of a loop machine. This video, now nearing 8 million views, shows Dub FX on the street explaining how he uses the machine to record, loop, and layer musical material into an accompaniment that he then sings the lyrics on top of. Throughout the performance, you will see him use foot switches to turn on and off musical elements and a foot pedal to add and remove reverb.

    Not only does it take some skill to operate the equipment live while performing, but it takes a strong sense of composition to be able to add and remove layers of musical content, not to mention being able to produce all the sounds with the voice and write original melodies and lyrics. This is musical creative equivalent of a double-shot espresso.

  • Great Performances - University of Minne...
    by ★ Owner on December 15, 2011 at 10:32 AM
    2489 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.


  • Optimize Your PC For Use With Mixcraft
    by ★ Owner on February 21, 2011 at 9:40 AM
    2480 Views - 0 Comments

    Upon updating my copy of Mixcraft today to 5.2, the installer opened up a thank-you page on the MixCraft website containing two YouTube videos. The first was a walkthrough with MixCraft's lead developer on the features added in release 5.2. The second is this video, entitled "Optimizing Your PC for Use with MixCraft". It is an excellent 12 minute walkthrough of adjusting settings within MixCraft and also on your PC to adjust system resources for the best playback and recording possible. If you use MixCraft for anything besides playing with loops, I highly recommend watching this video.

  • Great Performances - Kevin Olusola Beatb...
    by ★ Owner on April 18, 2011 at 9:28 PM
    2468 Views - 0 Comments

    I always admire instrumentalists who clearly demonstrate mastery of the technique of their instrument. Thousands of hours of repetition and skill building are necessary for even the most naturally gifted musician to be able to perform at this level of proficiency. Add to that Kevin Olusola's killer beatboxing to the mix, and suddenly an expressive piece of cello music takes on a whole new creative dimension. Classical purists would turn their noses up at this performance, but I find it to be innovative, expressive, and just downright cool.

  • Mike Huckabee On Art And Music Education...
    by ★ Owner on February 14, 2011 at 1:50 PM
    2458 Views - 0 Comments

    This video, via the good folks at SoundTree, passed through the Music PLN today. Whatever your political leanings may be, and whatever you may thing of Mike Huckabee, his message in this video, as far as I'm concerned, touches on the root of not only the benefits of an education in the performing and fine arts, but the essential need for our young people to be nurtured into more creativity.

    I really like the analogy he makes between students and computers. In his analogy, traditional education methods input raw data (memorized facts) into the student computer and expect the computer to reproduce that data. Without the arts to foster original thinking and creative processing, the students' computer has no operating system. Brilliant.

  • Great Performances - Mnozil Brass Spoof ...
    by ★ Owner on April 24, 2011 at 8:52 PM
    2445 Views - 0 Comments

    This is just a lot of fun. The Mnozil Brass, an Austrian brass band, give us some virtuosic playing all the while having some fun. Impressive rapid-fire key changes and double-tonguing work, and clever arranging, combined with some good showmanship. Be sure to search for more of their work on YouTube.

  • Bobby McFerrin Demonstrates the Universa...
    by ★ Owner on June 14, 2010 at 10:24 AM
    2428 Views - 0 Comments

    I saw this video shortly after it came out a year ago, but neglected to add it to my video page until now. Bobby McFerrin is one of my musical heroes, and here he demonstrates how every person has innate musical intelligence that our society stamps out of them. The pentatonic scale is indigenous to every culture on the planet, and I believe has connections to Sacred Geometry, cymatics, and many other fields of study that combine mathematics and energy.

  • Great Performances: Tribute to John Will...
    by ★ Owner on March 3, 2010 at 9:43 AM
    2416 Views - 3 Comments

    Marc Papaghin arranged, performed, and mixed all 12 parts of this himself. Fantastic arranging, performing, and musicianship!

  • Managing the Information Stream on the M...
    by ★ Owner on July 30, 2010 at 2:46 PM
    2320 Views - 0 Comments

    Managing the information stream on the Music Professional Learning Network website. VIEW THE VIDEO IN FULL SCREEN for best viewing. View part 2 of this walkthrough here:

  • Great Performances - OK Go and Pilobolus...
    by ★ Owner on July 30, 2011 at 10:36 AM
    2295 Views - 0 Comments

    I have used OK Go as a Great Performances entry before because their one-take videos are so visually enrapturing. I find their music to be mostly forgettable, but that doesn't take away from the innovative things they do on film.

    Their newest venture is no exception. Teaming up with the dance troupe Pilobolus and the folks at Google, the video has its own dedicated website at which allows browsers using Google Chrome to interact with the video in HTML5. That's almost enough to make me want to download Chrome. ;-)

    Here is the less-cool-still-really-awesome YouTube version.

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