Rehearsal Notes for November 1, 2016

Hello Bytown Band Musicians,

In this note:

      1. Dates to Note:  Social Events, CONCERT DEC. 7
      2. Note and tip of the week.
      3. Rehearsal notes for October 25
      4. What is scheduled for November 8
      5. Band Representative for Bytown Beginners is John Telner (trombone)

  1. Social Activities: 

Thank you to everyone who provided comments on the social activity survey.   Based on your responses, we have planned the following casual activities.  Hope you are available for some of them!

1) This Saturday, November 5, meet for coffee at 10:30 AM at Mcdonald’s, 888 Meadowlands Drive E (corner of Prince of Wales).

2) This coming Tuesday, November 8, get together after band rehearsal at Paddy’s Pub, 1186 Bank Street (corner of Ossington).  A table has been reserved under the name, New Horizons Band.

3) Tuesday, November 15,  get-together for a quick dinner at 4:30 at The Greek Souvlaki Shack, 258 Bank Street (near corner of Cooper).

If you are interested in going to dinner to celebrate the end of our fall session on Tuesday, December 13  at the Mill Street Brew Pub, 555 Wellington, please let Sue know on Tuesday or email her at so she can make reservations.

Gary and Sue

ONHB CONCERT  featuring the Bytown Beginner Band and more!  

                    Dominion Chalmers United Church
                    Wednesday December 7 at 7:00pm 

  1. Tip of the week:  Bruce Pearson’s Law:    A + E = T. Simply stated A (Air) + E (Embouchure) = T (Tone). This means that the tone quality an individual produces on a musical instrument is determined by two factors: air (speed and direction) and embouchure.
    Listen to the tone you are producing (and listen to professional players for your instrument to have a concept in your mind), and aim for a clear, full sound which relies on air support and muscles engaged in the right places. In general, the corners of your mouth adjust the tension, and the centre is more relaxed, the airway is relaxed and open, and every fiber in your body is engaged and energized to support the sound. (Try standing, feet slightly apart, to play.!)


Whether you are playing loudly or softly, the air speed should remain constant.

Dynamic markings are in Italian… since many early composers like Handel studied in Italy, and adopted the Italian markings in their compositions.

fortissimo (ff)  = very strong/loud

forte  (f ) = strong/loud  –   playing requires more volume (quantity) of air than does playing softly.

mezzo forte (mf)  = medium strong/loud

mezzo piano (mp) = medium soft

piano  (p)  =  soft

pianissimo (pp)  = play very softly

forte piano (fp)   = strong at the front of the note, and then immediately soft (usually followed by a crescendo…. very gradually louder)


Strive for consistency of air speed whether you are playing loudly or softly.  Don’t “overblow”…. blastissimo is not a dynamic marking!
Again, remember that each of us is on our own learning curve!  You can’t beat the joy of playing music… and the potential for improving and polishing your skills in music is endless, so enjoy the journey! The New Horizons Band motto is“Your Best Is Good Enough!”

3.    Rehearsal Notes for November 1:

This week, we reviewed EE 17, 25 and 41, and looked at lines 38 and 49 in a round …. in fact a four-part round!

Sanctus: I am impressed by the beautiful tone that is developing!  Practice is paying off!!  We practiced moving through the notes, thinking of the phrases moving forward (horizontal thinking) rather than thinking note by note (vertically), which can sound plodding and pedantic.This piece is all about seemingly effortless and endless air, floating and yet a sense of forward movement created by gentle crescendos and playing right on the beat.  Great work!!

Crusade: First we did the transition from slow to fast, (mm 1-8 slow, m 9 GONG (hold/fermata), mm 10 clarinets and French horn alternate on an eighth note ostinato (repeated rhythmic motif) pattern, and then the altos then tenor saxes layer in!  We practiced our staccato to wake up our tongue (it is a muscle as well!). Remember tat-tat-tat-tat-ta (instead of ta-ta-ta-ta-ta). The forte markings earlier in the piece (mm 20, 24, 36) should be taken with a grain of salt… think “exciting mezzo forte“. We want to save the best forte for the end. Remember the fp (mm 22-23, 52-53) means to play strongly at the front end of the note, and then drop immediately to piano (p).  (or play p, and let others do the f)

Hanging tree: We worked on the ending to get the long accents (>) and balance the 2 contrasting rhythms. Also, we sang the melody to remember the singing style of the piece… play it like you sing it!

Calypso Bells: We played through the piece, and enjoyed hearing the exciting flute/oboe/clarinet trill at mm 37-38 with the eighth note pattern in the other voices making a gradual crescendo leading up to the low wind/brass playing of the melody, which they played with lots of power! The flutes are still overpowered when they have their turn at the tune at mm 29, but I heard them!

We had two brave percussionists, along with a surprise guest- Barbara Ann, a music teacher who recently moved here from Quebec City, and heard about our band!  She wanted to observe, but ended up having a great time in the percussion section!  We hope Danielle is recuperating well, and missed our friend David (and his zany humour!) and look forward to having a full percussion section again soon!

4.    Rehearsal Notes for November 8:

EE method book, practice 39 and 52.  These are more challenging pieces, so they will take a few weeks to master.  We will review 25, 41, and 49 (the round, which might end up in our concert program!)

Sanctus: “3 beats to a measure” can catch us by surprise when we are counting rests and then have to come in.  Prepare to play two bars in advance of an entry by raising your instrument and expelling the ‘old’ air for three counts, and then breathing in for three counts as you form your embouchure.  In your instrument sections this week, listen and blend with your neighbours. Try to hear when your neighbour breathes, and begin to think of a plan to “stagger breath” with your band friends to make the illusion that we are playing four bars on one breath. If necessary, one person could take a sneaky, quiet breath of air early, in a place in the phrase that is not noticeable, then that person can cover for someone else to take a later breath.  We don’t want to all be running out at the same time. In tricky sections, marking where you plan to breath, and putting an X in your music to indicate where your neighbour is planning a breath helps to make the phrase seem seamless!  Of course, we all punctuate the ends of phrases (musical sentences) by breathing together.  Breath together when it makes musical sense to do so.

Crusade: We will work on the transition again and 28-68.

Hanging Tree: We will do a run through to enjoy the piece, using our dah dah (dooey tonguing, not ta ta ta ta as in Crusade and Calypso Bells! We will be going back and working on the difficult parts, as well as the band balance, (listening to each other as we play). Although the melody is in fragments, think through the phrases like a singer!

Calypso Bells: Woodwinds and brass, Like the Hanging Tree, the articulation in this piece is so important…. tonguing and slurs everywhere!  Practice saying the articuation  ta ta (sh) ta tah-ya  tat. The overall feel will be lighter, but practice slowly by singing then playing the articulation! Percussionists, try making up a part for fun on your instruments for this piece, playing with the recording!  The important thing to remember is that it is the steady, jolly feel of the piece that the audience will enjoy, not whether you played a quarter note instead of two eighth notes in measure 20 … (and we are all playing the same rhythm there, anyway, so some will get the eighth note, giving the overall effect!). Measure 22 in percussion 1 part…. think in words and syllables:mudturtle ti ti ti ti low low.

5.   A BIG THANKS to Manny Villanueva, our“graduated” Bytown Beginners Band Rep, for his ongoing strong support of ONHB, and for sharing his time and organizational skills managing the percussion, and organizing events such as the highly successful Yuletide Fair, as well as several May Clinics. Manny has moved to the Elgin Encores to double the number in the percussion section.

Thank you to John Telner (trombone), who is our newly elected BBB Rep. John is a humble, kind, supportive musician, a great listener who loves to joke around (like all trombone players?), and he has the benefit of 1 year’s experience in BBB and ONHB! He was hoping for a big presidential-styled debate, but won by acclamation.

Happy Practicing!  Take a coffee break at 10:30 on Saturday! (Details above!)

Cathy and Felicia