10 Tips for Sight Reading Music

10 Tips and Tricks for Sight Reading Music

Sight reading seems to be one of those challenges that either a beginning musician loves or has recurring nightmares about. For those of us in the latter category, we’ve consulted with music educators who specialize in the important skill of sight reading music to make it less scary and (maybe even) a little enjoyable! Practice beforehand… Time signatures and key signatures are, well, key to being a successful sight reader. For a quick review of how to understand time signatures and key signatures, check out our basic sheet music reading primer. First, familiarize yourself with and practice a wide variety of time signatures so that you’re ready for any situation.
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Lindsey Stirling

Q&A with Superstar Dancer, Violinist and Musical Innovator Lindsey Stirling

Lindsey Stirling is an innovator in every sense of the word. Her ground-breaking fusion of hip hop, dubstep and classical violin wowed judges and audiences alike as a semi-finalist on America’s Got Talent in 2010. She’s fashioned an international-career-launching  YouTube channel, with upwards of 650 million views, showcasing her electrifying compositions, dazzling videos and imaginative collaborations. Her latest album, ‘Shatter Me,’ is topping charts around the globe. And, Lindsey Stirling just happens to be one of the nicest, most genuine artists we’ve had the privileged of working with. We asked Lindsey if she’d mind sharing a little about her musical background, her tips for building a YouTube audience and what’s
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Challenging Classical Piano Works

Test Your Skill with Challenging Classical Piano Music!

Maybe you’re looking to pick a piano recital piece that’s sure to receive a standing ovation. Perhaps you want to impress friends at a impromptu dinner party session. Or, you could be on the hunt for a personal  challenge, classical piano music that will improve your finger dexterity or speed. Well, you’ve come to the right place! How difficult a classical work, or any piano piece, is to play can be interpreted many ways. Perhaps speed is a particular challenge for one pianist, while ornamentation is more demanding on someone else. Here at Musicnotes, we’ve opened up and explored our own portfolios to present to you works that have tested
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armed service songs

Memorial Day Music Class: The History of Armed Service Songs

Here in the US, we celebrate Memorial Day the final Monday in May to honor Americans who have died while in military service. Traditional festivities include parades, picnics and programs paying tribute to those who gave their lives in service to our country. Of course, these events are the perfect opportunity to feature the armed service songs from each military branch: “Anchors Aweigh” for the U.S. Navy, “The Caissons Go Rolling Along” for the U.S. Army,  “The Wild Blue Yonder” for the U.S. Air Force,  “The Marines’ Hymn” for the U.S. Marine Corps and “Semper Paratus” for the U.S. Coast Guard. Each of these armed service songs has a rich
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Peter Cincotti

Q&A with pianist, jazz prodigy and singer-songwriter sensation Peter Cincotti!

At age 12, he began to play piano professionally. At 17, he portrayed Frank Sinatra off-Broadway. At 19, he reached #1 on the Billboard Traditional Jazz charts (the youngest artist to-date to do so), and he had played for Stevie Wonder (read the story below). And today, Peter Cincotti is recording his fifth studio album, writing his second full-length musical (with sister, Pia Cincotti) and touring the world, captivating audiences with both his masterful renditions of jazz standards as well as his genre-spanning original works. Musicnotes caught up with Cincotti to chat about what it’s like going from a young prodigy to pop star, what influences his songwriting process and
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Funny jokes about music

Jokes for Musicians: Our 12 Most Favorite Musical Jokes

It seems there’s no shortage of humor coming from a music room. (Hey, we need a little diversion after practicing Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture” for the umpteenth time, right?) Check out some of our favorite jokes for musicians below, and be sure to share your favorite (all-audience-friendly) musical jokes in the comment section! Don’t worry oboists and viola players, you’re completely safe from our musical joke list! Percussionists, we really do still love you. 1. Want to hear the joke about a staccato? Never mind, it’s too short. Want to hear the one about fermata? Wait, it’s too long. 2. Don’t let you kids watch symphonies on TV. There’s too much
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Classical music influenced by nature

Classical Music Influenced by Mother Nature

Mother’s Day is just around the corner, and we’re sure you have all your sheet music at-the-ready to celebrate the special ladies in your life. We thought we’d take the opportunity to explore the classical musical influences of another sort of maternal figure… mother nature. From the obvious, like birds chirping and raindrops falling, to the more abstract, like the sound of river water swiftly rushing over a rocky bed, natural sounds and patterns have influenced classical composers throughout history. Antonio Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons,” for example, pulls inspiration from each of nature’s stages to create a 4-concerto work that’s become a beloved Baroque repertoire staple. (Download our sheet music
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Audution Suggestions from TV Shows

20 Great Vocal Auditions from ‘American Idol’ and ‘The Voice’

We don’t know about you, but some of us here at Musicnotes HQ are serious TV talent show devotees. With new seasons of ‘American Idol’ and ‘The Voice’ now in full swing, we’ve been filling many a weeknight cheering on our favorite contestants and critiquing their audition choices. These TV programs can prove to be a great resource for ideas to apply to your own upcoming vocal auditions or end-of-school year talent show selections. Below are some of the audition songs that have especially caught our ‘ears’ this season, and that we think would make great additions to a vocal repertoire. Most are Singer Pro arrangements, sheet music created for
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Graduation Songs for 2014

Pomp, Circumstance and Sheet Music: Class of 2014 Graduation Songs

If a picture is worth a thousand words, we think a piece of music can express a thousand emotions. May is just around the corner, and it’s time to reminisce on the past, look ahead to the future, and pick out  graduation songs that represent all of those feelings in the most meaningful way. We’ve gathered a terrific assortment of sheet music for graduation to help you celebrate the big day and commemorate your fantastic accomplishment. Check out our list below, including graduation song favorites, rock nostalgia, recent hits and even a few less-conventional options. We’ve also included a link to the song’s official video, so that you can be
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