Notes for January 31, 2017

Notes from the January 31, 2017 Rehearsal

Hello Bytown Band Musicians,

In this email: 

  1. Note and tip of the week.
  2. Rehearsal notes for January 31
  3. What is scheduled for February 7
  4. Music Links (including band pieces and links to music resources)
  5. Dates, Events: SHIRT ORDERS and money DUE NEXT TUESDAY, Feb. 7.


  1. Congratulations on a great rehearsal! There has been great progress on playing with a sustained tone and attention to dynamics, as demonstrated in your playing of the warmups in line 52. Remember to use the recordings of the Essential Elements pieces as examples of the tone you are aiming to achieve, and do take every opportunity to enjoy live local concerts – concerts at the university or at DC are often free or by donation at the door.  The listening links for our band pieces are not of a consistent quality, but these links are very helpful for getting the melodies and rhythms in your ear, to support learning the pieces more efficiently and accurately. One way to learn rhythmic accuracy is to practice a couple of measures slowly with a metronome and counting the subdivision of the beats:  1 and  2 and  3 and  4  and, 1 and  2 and 3 and 4 and, (etc.).  Once you have the feel for the pattern, speed it up gradually and listen to the pattern.  You can make up a word phrase to help you remember the pattern accurately and easily.  Zoltan Kodaly, a great Hungarian music educator, and other music educators, have created syllables which represent various durations of notes.  Kodaly used  ta = quarter note,  ti ti (pron.  tee tee) = two eighth notes,  tiri-tiri  = four sixteenths,   ta- a  = half note,   ta-a-a-a = whole note  and  ta-m (pron. tah-m) = a dotted quarter note

2 Rehearsal Notes for January 31:

This week, we reviewed EE lines 52, 54 (in two part harmony!), and 58 (with a percussion rock beat, piano and improvised solos!).

Visions of Aranjuez:  we looked at measures (mm) 33 – 40.  Remember: low instruments and bass percussion play the rhythm “ ta-m, ta-m,   ta ta ta, ta-m   ta –m, ta ta ta.   High winds (brass and woodwinds can be called “winds”) play ta ti  ta ti, ta ta ta, ta ti, ta ti, ta –a ti ti , ta ti ta ti  ta ta ta ta-a-a, etc..    These rhythms are quite  tricky because of the flamenco style shift from a feeling of two in one bar to a feeling of three in the next bar (hemiola), but once you have it, these rhythms are used throughout the piece!  What a great sound we made when we sang our parts!!

Celtic Air and Dance: we worked on the opening three measures and the ritardando (slowing down), and took a brief look at the woodwind parts  in measures 4 – 10 .  The flutes are doing very well already on their solo here, and the clarinets will play a beautifully-written harmonic support which has a melodic feature:  ti ah—ti ah ta- a ta- a, ta, ta-a, ta ta ta ta-a. The saxes also have a gentle, “big cloud of air” harmonic part beginning with half notes( two beats each, starting on beat 1, after the flutes play ti ti on beat four of the previous bar) The sax part is:  ta – a  ta – a, ta – a  ta – a

25 or 6to 4   we looked at 45 to the end, where everyone has the  rhythm :

ti ti ti ta  ta   ta  ti ta – a – a .  You may wonder why the composer uses two tied eighth notes to represent a note of one beat in some places but not others. A quarter note is used when the note is on the beat, but two tied eighth notes are used (and played exactly like one quarter note) when it falls on the off  beat ( play on the “and”), and so tied eighths indicate you are playing a syncopated pattern on the off-beats.  This pattern sounds very jazzy… listen to it on the link!

We did not do In the Wake of Spring or Songs of Africa this week.  We will be selecting one Song of Africa to focus on this session.  Please listen to them and decide which is your favourite piece. The second one is catchy, but has tricky rhythms.  We may wish to do the slower last song, as it is a well-known anthem for Africa, and will contrast our other selections nicely, but Felicia and I are open to suggestions.


3  For Next Rehearsal (February 7):

Review the long tones in the first lines of EE as a warm up, and focus on correct posture, embouchure, and hand position.  Breathe deeply (stomach should move out as the diaphragm muscle expands down to make more room for the lungs to fill), and allow your air to flow freely and steadily with engaged lower abdomen and pelvic muscles. Review lines 14,17, 52, 54, 58, and look at 55 and 57.  We will try improvising again with line 58… so try making up some interesting sounds on your instrument!  Don’t worry about  the notes… try playing the highest or lowest note you can play, and use a trill, or move your fingers quickly and see what talking or wailing sounds you can make.  The note Concert G is a note that fits most of the chords in this piece nicely. Play along with the professional  Essential Elements recording for these pieces: online or using the CD in the book.   You will be supported to play in tune with a beautiful tone, with a steady beat, and the correct rhythm patterns as well.

Take a break and listen for pure enjoyment to our band pieces! (links below) Sing along with your part! Do the articulation (rhythms to “ta”(quarter note),  “ti”(eighth note) , “ta – a – a – a” (whole note),  “ta – m” (dotted quarter)) along with the recording.

Visions of Aranjuez:  We will review mm 33 – 40, and then go back and try from mm1 – 40 (remember, it is pretty much the same rhythm and notes throughout this section, so don’t worry… just practice the patterns slowly for pitch and fingering, and then try to speed up the pattern in one or two bar “chunks” at a time.

(Feb. 14)  mm57 – 64  plus review above

(Feb. 21)  mm 55-56 and mm79 – 80 plus review above

Celtic Air and Dance: Percussion solos at mm 4-5 (bells) mm35-36, and mm53-58 mm 6 – 25 (especially flutes, clarinets and trumpets), and pick up to 25 – 28 (sax solo)

(Feb. 14) mm53-67 plus review above

(Feb. 21)  63 to the end, plus review above and play 53 – end in band, slowly with attention to articulation.

25 or 6 to 4      mm 45 to the end (the little dot over or under a note is a staccato = play the note and release immediately, making a silence before the next note. (Try saying:  DI  dot dot DA   DA    DA   dot DA-A-A

Feb. 14 mm41-45 plus review above

Feb. 21 mm 13-14 plus review above

In the Wake of Spring     mm (29) 30 – 40

Feb. 14    review

Feb. 21  mm (13) 14 – 21

Songs of Africa   read mm 1 – 21

Feb.  14    mm 22-29   plus review

Feb. 21   read through if there is time. (possible ending change!)

Happy Practicing!

Cathy and Felicia


4     Listening Links

We have four charts selected for this session.  These pieces represent a range of difficulty, and listening to them several times will really help you to know the piece. The pieces are played at performance tempo, and so just listen to them to get them in your ear… we can’t play them at this speed yet, of course!

For flutes and clarinets, where the notes are too high or too many for you, try this:  – play notes down an octave; – use the oboe or clarinet 2 part; – only play the notes that you are comfortable with for now;-  only play on the first beat of each bar.

We have selected music which will take us travelling!  Some of these pieces have been designated as pieces that all ONHB musicians will learn and have in our repertoire, in anticipation of last minute or joint events where a band is drawn together from our whole membership to play (examples: city hall function, our upcoming trip to Ireland in late June 2018 – more info on our website, etc). Here are the links to some of the music we will be playing this session:

Celtic Air and Dance  by Michael Sweeney  “Drawing on the rich and varied tradition of Celtic folksongs, this piece opens with the touching and melodious The Parting Glass. The flutes and percussion take center stage on the dance-like Tha Mi Sgith (A Fairy’s Love Song), then the entire band gets into the act for the rousing finish.”

In the Wake of Spring    by James Swearingen “This beautiful flowing ballad evokes images of delicate blossoms and the warm sunshine of spring. You’ll find this piece a natural setting to work on phrasing as you bring out your band’s expressive side.”

Songs of Africa  arr.  Johnnie Vinson   We will choose one or two of these three pieces to learn.

“Drawing on the rich African musical tradition, here is a collection of three captivating themes in a miniature suite format. Included is Jikel’ Emaweni, a South African Folk song in a moderate tempo, the up tempo Zulu folk song Jabula Jesu, and moving national anthem of South Africa N’kosi Sikelel’ I Afrika. The percussion writing is exotic sounding but can be played using traditional instruments as well.”

Visions of Aranjuez  by Mark Williams  “Legends of the Spanish countryside come to life in this driving original by Mark Williams!  A fiery tempo combined with syncopated rhythms make this a rhythmically-driven crowd pleaser. Beginning quietly with only tambourine and triangle, instruments are added gradually, eventually building to a powerful and vibrant conclusion.”

25 or 6 to 4   by Robert Lamm, arr Paul Murtha    This Chicago tune has a driving, energetic rhythm and fast runs! We will try the level 2 arrangement (there are many different ones), and although the listening link does not play the whole tune, and interjects beeps (to protect the copyrighted material), another version at level 3 does play the whole tune below.

Our version (level 2, incomplete recording)

Marching band level 2-3 arrangement, full piece for listening :


Listen and watch professionals play to help develop your awareness of tone colour, articulation, and performance practices.

Joanna G’Froerer (flute) talks about Beethoven’s First and Fourth Symphony and demonstrates

Shauna McDonald (bio, link to listing of professional musicians in Ottawa

ALSO check out the Canadian Music Center for audio samples of recordings of primarily Canadian compositions and artists (search for your instrument… Here,  the clarinet is featured in Nightingales’ Rhapsody at You can spend hours listening to music samples on this site!

Alison Balsom (trumpet)

Karen Donnelly (NAC trumpet)

Search the internet or visit the library to discover and listen to top musicians on your instrument!  Look for lessons online by top pros.

Attend live solo concerts like the Friday noon solo concerts at Dominion Chalmers (donation at the door)  Celtic Fiddle is featured Feb. 3, 2017

Explore the amazing online Naxos music library:

Spotify is an music listening app with a modest monthly fee that allows you to search for ANY piece, and listen to it, create your own playlists, and save music you select to listen to offline (important for those of us who have limits on our data!). It also offers you suggestions for new-to-you music based on your listening selections and habits!

SmartMusic allows you to practice pieces in Essential Elements and a selection of other repertoire in front of the computer. As you perform a piece, the notes you play correctly will turn green, and pitches and rhythms which need correcting turn red as you play them.

Check out the New Horizons International Music Association, where you can read about other NHBs,  find out about events such as band camps, and discover the benefits of joining the NHIMA as a member (for the price of a lunch at a coffee shop!) at

Rehearsal notes especially for beginners:

Practice Tips:

  • 10 – 15 minutes at a time is the best way to practice at first, until your embouchure develops strength. Practice twice a day if you wish!
  • Pick up your instrument with the correct hand position at every commercial during your favourite TV show. Move your body to proper playing posture at the edge of a straight chair with no arms (or stand), and play a long steady note, with a consistent stream of air.
  • Play, or  take a break and “do the fingering”  without blowing, for two different pitches (like C – D – C – D), alternating back and forth, to get the feel of your fingers (or the slide) moving efficiently.  If playing, the tone of the pitches should sound clear, supported with strong, steady

Announcements:   ONHB BAND SHIRT ORDER DEADLINE  IS FEBRUARY 7, so place your order  this Tuesday if you would like one  ($15 for cotton T, $30 for polyester golf shirt…. Cathy will have some sample shirts, sizes.

Volunteer Positions:

Social Sparkplugs:  Sue Christian

Refreshment pack up:  ______________________

Refreshment buying:  Suzanne Anderson

Band Rep John Telner (trombone)

Key Dates

Sunday, April 9, 2017 at 3pm    Our concert at Dominion Chalmers (all 6 New Horizons Bands will play for 15 minutes each)

Saturday, May 6  1:20- 6:30   Intercity Band Clinic for New Horizons Bands from Ottawa (we are hosting!), Potsdam, NY, and Montreal, PQ

May- June   Spring Concert Band Session (all levels of playing welcome to join one BIG band to learn approximately 8-10 pieces)