Notes from the Feb, 7, 2017 Rehearsal

Hello Bytown Band Musicians,

  1. Note and tip of the week.
  2. Rehearsal notes for Feb. 7
  3. What is scheduled for February 14
  4. Music Links (including band pieces and links to music resources)
  5. Dates, Events 

1 In spite of the weather, we made music! Not to worry if you were not able to make it in for the rehearsal! We are still working on the rhythm patterns featured in the pieces, and figuring out our fingerings/slide positions for Ab and Db, as well as accidentals (sharps (#) and flats (b) not found in the key signature, or natural signs ( looks like a box made up of an upside down 7 and a right side up 7) which cancel out a flat or sharp. An accidental placed in front of a note will affect that note and other notes of the same pitch following that note, until the bar line.

2 Rehearsal Notes for Feb 7:

This week, we reviewed EE number 58 (with a percussion rock beat, piano and improvised solos).

In the Wake of Spring:  We are really doing well on the legato, smooth feel in this piece. In time, the notes in each section will settle in, and then the harmonies will be clearer. We tried our hand at conducting a four beat pattern and a guest conductor, Diane, from the clarinet section lead us as we played the first half of the piece. BRAVO!  We hope to have a few more guest conductors try their hand at conducting.

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   We then  played from the beginning to measure 40.  The percussionists lead us off with the same rhythm patterns as above, and we join in.

Celtic Air and Dance: we worked on the opening three measures and the ritardando (slowing down), and looked again at the woodwind parts in measures 4 – 10 .  The woodwinds are doing very well already, with the flutes carrying the tune and the clarinets playing ti ah—ti ah ta- a ta- a, ta, ta-a, ta ta ta ta-a. The saxes also have a gentle 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  GREAT JOB THIS WEEK, clarinets and saxes!! We did play on to mm 24, and the brass sound very strong here, considering it is only week 4!

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 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 14):

Review the long tones and continue to 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. Remember, it is not only fun, but important to 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 look at mm57 – 64  and review mm 33– 40, and then go back and play mm1- 40.  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. We will not be ready to play as fast as the recording for a few weeks, but we are certainly getting the feel for this piece!

Celtic Air and Dance:

(Feb. 14) mm53-67 (percussion especially mm35-36, and mm53-58)   mm 6 – 25 (especially flutes, clarinets and trumpets), and pick up to 25 – 28 (sax solo)


25 or 6 to 4      mm41-45 plus review above

In the Wake of Spring

Feb. 14    Please listen to the music link, and focus on listening to the whole, then listen again and focus on hearing your part in the harmony.  We will do a read through, and then go back and play specific chords, to help us pitch our notes and work on fine tuning  and tone.

Songs of Africa

Feb.  14    read mm 1 – 21 and mm 22-29   if there is time


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. :

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 ($15 for cotton T, $30 for polyester golf shirt…. Cathy will have some sample shirts sizes when she gets back.)

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)

Tuesday, April 11 extra rehearsal (to play through all our repertoire for the senior residence concert


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)