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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 - OK Go and Pilobolus...
    by ★ Owner on July 30, 2011 at 10:36 AM
    2296 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.

  • Great Performances - Rockapella Sings El...
    by ★ Owner on July 11, 2011 at 7:50 AM
    1994 Views - 0 Comments

    Ok, I admit: I've got contemporary a cappella on the brain right now. We just had a combined rehearsal of the two summer Project-Philly a cappella group last night, and we're in the final 3 days of Project-Philly's Kickstarter campaign (we only need $230! Please help if you can).

    Today's Kickstarter update featured a classic Rockapella arrangement sung by the current incarnation of Rockapella. While watching that video from their recent Japan tour, I saw this one on the sidebar. "Ellie My Love" is one of my favorite originals that Rockapella has put out. Scott Leonard wrote and sings lead on this track, and this performance is rather subdued than the album cut in terms of vocal pyrotechnics. This rendition puts an even sweeter touch on a touching ballad.

    As I become more involved as an a cappella singer in my spare time, both performing with live groups and in recording and mixing my own a cappella tracks, I appreciate all that much more the showmanship, skill, and microphone handling technique that Scott displays in this video.

  • Great Performances - Cambridge Singers P...
    by ★ Owner on June 10, 2011 at 10:32 AM
    2788 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 - Acoustix Sings Star...
    by ★ Owner on May 30, 2011 at 8:51 AM
    3102 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 - Paul Simon Fan Perf...
    by ★ Owner on May 15, 2011 at 8:25 PM
    2260 Views - 0 Comments

    What would you do if one of your musical idols invited you to the stage to perform one of his songs? That is exactly what happened to Rayna Ford, a fan from Newfoundland who attended Paul Simon's performance in Toronto, Canada on May 7, 2011. Ford called out from the audience for Simon to play his song "Duncan" saying something to the effect that she had learned how to play guitar on that song. In a moment of pure spontaneity, Paul Simon called her to the stage, handed her a guitar, and let her perform the song herself. [source NPR]. What a fantastic, indelible life experience for Rayna, and what a moment of magnanimous music making for the Grammy-award-winning music icon.

  • Great Performances - Mariinsky Clarinet ...
    by ★ Owner on May 12, 2011 at 10:41 AM
    2210 Views - 0 Comments

    I have a tradition on Facebook of posting a YouTube video to my friends' walls on their birthday. Today, one of my friends from my days at Penn State got this video on his wall. He and I were both clarinetists and played together in practically every band on campus as well as both studying under clarinet professor Smith Toulson. Mr. Toulson also directed a clarinet choir made up of students from his studio. This piece was part of our repertoire. We didn't play it nearly this fast (or this cleanly). Great stuff - enjoy.

  • Great Performances - Cee Lo Green Thank ...
    by ★ Owner on May 9, 2011 at 12:55 PM
    2269 Views - 0 Comments

    The moment I saw this video, I started posting it to my site before it had even finished. Cee Lo Green, host of the hit television show The Voice and singer of the massive hit single "Forget You" took that hit song and rewrote the words to use as a tribute to volunteer firefighters everywhere.

    I find it very interesting that Cee Lo Green catapulted himself into the limelight with a song about his teen angst that features explicit and suggestive lyrics, and now he is turning that attention in many ways into a way to spread the wealth emotionally and socially. The original song itself is incredibly addictive, and the "clean" version has been all over the radio. The original YouTube video with the explicit lyrics has over 54 million views as of this posting.

    Cee Lo Green's tribute to firefighters is part of an effort by the Duracell company entitled Power Those Who Protect Us. Yet another great cause to support.

  • Great Performances - Peter Hollens And T...
    by ★ Owner on May 7, 2011 at 7:07 PM
    3710 Views - 0 Comments

    In my spare time from music teaching, I am a music hobbyist as well. I love contemporary a cappella singing and have been singing with groups off and on for about 20 years.


    Peter Hollens of On The Rocks fame has been putting out some fantastic a cappella YouTube videos since last fall, and his latest collaboration with the Grammy-Award-winning Swingle Singers is purely breathtaking. Peter's arranger, also associated with OTR, is Tom Anderson, and Tom has simply outdone himself this time.


    This arrangement and performance reminds me very much of my favorite vocal group of all time: The Singers Unlimited. Gene Puerling was a genius. The harmonies in this arrangement are a tribute to the quiet innovation that Puerling brought to contemporary a cappella back in the 1970's.

  • Great Performances - Esperanza Spalding ...
    by ★ Owner on May 1, 2011 at 7:10 PM
    2208 Views - 0 Comments

    This video was posted in the Music Professional Learning Network by Dr. Joe Piasno tonight, and I had to share it. Esperanza Spalding was the "Who is that?" name at the Grammys this past year, and she is simply fantastic. A lot of people can't sing as well as she can. A lot of people can't play the bass guitar as well as she can. There's even fewer people who can do both at the same time. Definitely going to have to catch some tickets to her show when she comes through Philadelphia.

  • Great Performances - Mnozil Brass Spoof ...
    by ★ Owner on April 24, 2011 at 8:52 PM
    2449 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.

  • Great Performances - Kevin Olusola Beatb...
    by ★ Owner on April 18, 2011 at 9:28 PM
    2471 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.

  • Great Performances - The Hellcats Drum C...
    by ★ Owner on April 13, 2011 at 3:13 PM
    2135 Views - 0 Comments

    Precision, consistency, and pagentry. The Hellcats Drum and Bugle Corps is a ceremonial unit attached to the U.S. Marine Corps Band at West Point. Here, their drum line puts on an exhibition performance at the 2010 Drum Corps International World Championships. These men are carrying on a legacy in rudimental drumming that stretches all the way back to the founding of West Point in 1778. Learn more about the Hellcats here.

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