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Organizing your Music in a Notebook

Updated March 23, 2018
(let me know if soundfiles don't work)

There are several really good reasons for listening to the soundfiles of music you are playing:

  1. To get a sense of how the music sounds, its style, its phrasing, its harmonies
  2. Following your music while listening to the soundfile (not playing) helps you learn how your part fits with the whole and helps you learn to keep your place
  3. Playing along with the music gives you more opportunities to "practice with the group" than you can get just in rehearsals.
  4. Purchase the software, Amazing Slow Downer (from and you can practice with the soundfile slowed down to where you can play along. (Soundfiles must be on the same device where the Slow Downer resides; you can not use YouTube or soundfiles that are streamed from the web). For those of you cautious about what you download, this software site is safe according to Norton)

If you are new to working with soundfiles, DO NOT try to play along right away. Your first task is to listen several times while just following along in your own music (not playing), perhaps even using your finger to keep your place in the music. See if you can stay with the music, whether or not you can hear your own part (sometimes it doesn't sound like your instrument because you are playing the same thing as some other instrument and your part adds to the overall, but isn't itself distinguishable). Watch for things like holds or sudden loud spots or a change from legato to staccato to see if you can hear those as you listen. Until you can reliably follow along & keep your place in your music while listening and looking at your part, you will never be able to play along. Be sure to do the listening first or it is just frustrating! Once you get good at that, try listening and speaking your rhythms. Once you can do that, then try playing with it, although you may find that it is too fast for you to keep up.


WINTER/SPRING SESSION (these will open in a new tab in your browser)

  • Locomotive - (Link replaces the orchestral version that I posted! Wrong key!-Thanks, Gabe!) An exciting piece that tells a story! As you listen, you can "See" the locomotive hurling down the track! Fast, but not too technically difficult. And most DEFINITELY, watch the piece paired with scenes from Buster Keaton's silent movie, "The General". Gives the music meaning! -- Also, worth watching this YouTube version for how they hold instruments and other performance finesse details (esp percussion)
  • Courage - Beautiful, touching (although not much dynamic range in this recording)
  • KingAndI - This is recorded from YouTube - it is a good recording and a pretty good performance! (There isn't a demo available because it is an old arrangement). Some tricky parts, but we will help learn how to adapt the parts or leave them out.
  • Frbird - We will do this with solos, however EVERYONE will play the solos at first. If you don't own the original of this wonderful piece, purchase it and listen. This is our challenge piece, a grade 4. However, most of the tough spots (which will challenge our better players) are easily adapted for the novice players.
  • Phantom Regiment -This is an excellent recent performance of the arrangement we are working on — with one exception.  We have added four measures at the beginning and six measures at the end (at 47) and put in the trumpet fanfare, so when you are listening to this recording and watching your music, you need to count 4 fewer measures of rest if you have rests at the beginning, or skip the repeat if you have a repeat at the beginning.  (If you are a trumpet player, watch your music without the fanfare.)
    Here is an excellent performance of the arrangement for band done by Leroy Anderson himself.  It is different from our arrangement in a couple different ways: it has the trumpet fanfare at the beginning and end, it has triplets in places where our arrangement does not, it has an extra middle section that also includes the trumpet fanfare. . . AND — it is in a different key (a minor third higher than ours).  So, listen to it to understand how the trumpet fanfare works at the beginning and just to enjoy it but don’t try to follow your music or play with it.

The pieces below are from Fall, but we are likely to play them when we play at Senior Living Communitees during February and April vacation weeks.

  • EspanaCani This is a famous Spanish Paso Doble by Pascual Marquina Narro. The title means, "Spanish Gypsy". A Paso Doble was originally a Spanish dance, later used by the military as marching songs and then to introduce the matadors at the bullfights. So, as you play, you can think pride, passion and excitement! Put on your best sense of bravada!
  • Yesterday - One of the most (if not THE most) recorded piece ever, with over 3000 versions by various artists for various types of musical performances. Beware that there is more than one band arrangement; look at the arranger! There is no recorded demo version of this arrangement, as it is an oldie, but the link will take you to a YouTube performance by Banda de Noel (percussionists: they have someone playing on a drumset and he is not doing the parts as written).
  • GreatEscape - From the movie of the same name. No demo recording available, so the link takes you to a YouTube version of the same arrangement.


SWING BAND (these will open in a new tab in your browser)

  • Dreamsvl - this is a performance of our arrangement by my MS JzBd, 2001. A pretty strong performance, although a bit too much punch on the 2nd trumpet notes - should be more legato and the solo is missing the smooth slurs; but, pretty accurate rhythms in the solos (off in beat 2, meas 21 and 42, although what she did worked!). That was quite the dream-team group that year! And isn't that bari sax a wonderful anchor to the reeds! Mmmm. I recommend that you purchase this piece played by the Henry Mancini and His Orchestra. AND, here is a YouTube vocal version by Johnny Mathis and Monica Mancini (Henry's daughter)
  • Link to Late Night Diner (The composer calls it a "greasy" blues!)
  • Link to Birdland (our version)



From Fall, but will be used at Senior Living concerts:



Here is a document with comments, changes, corrections, cautions for each piece

  • A Cohan Cavalcade - soundfile to be found - I hope! Meanwhile, here is a decent middle school band YouTube recording (no dynamics, though).
  • AmzGrace - demo. Such a beautiful arrangement...
  • America the Beautiful - a gorgeous version.... (sorry that it cuts of abruptly at the end!)
  • AshFarewl This OUR recording from Spring 2014. Nice. There were a few notes that got out of control and the last note had too much cresc on it. Also, the snare & bass got off and came in 2 meas late into 52 and then tried to play at 60, but they were watching and I could get them back on track by 68! I have done this piece MANY times, but this is definitely one of the best performances of it - passionate, peaceful... Bravo!
  • BeachBoys: Fun, Fun, Fun!! This is not the demo recording (that was truncated), so there are some small error and some parts left out, and you can't really hear the woodwinds well most of the time.
  • Beatles - follow the link  for the demo.   It is only a partial recording, though.  Or you can play along with a YouTube performance at  Not the best performance (it is a middle school, after all!) but it is decent and will give you a feel for the piece.
  • Bogey - Here is a summer rehearsal from 2012 so you can play along. USN Band performance of the original - notice there is a part that we don't have in our arrangement.
  • GenGreene: A nice easy piece for us to put together, with a wonderful melodic line! (keep for Cape Cod Concert)
  • Gershwin - this is a recording of our rehearsal July 2012
  • GodBlessAm - This is the recording of the performance from our May 2016 concert
  • Greasy - this is a recording of my kids a few years ago - Some messiness and they don't get the subtleties (it was a, "we have 2 weeks before the concert - let's put this together...") But, you can play along and get a sense of the piece! It is an old piece and no longer in print and there are no YouTube renditions (there are some of the same title, but a different piece).
  • Johnny - This is the recording from the Cape Concert. Also find the original by Chuck Berry to get a flavor of the piece in case you don't know it.
  • Kentucky: (new soundfile - better interpretation & has all-important susp cymb)This is a classic piece; if you played in band as a youngster, you have probably played this one! Our goal is to play it better than you did as a kid!!! There is so much music in this arrangement of these Appalacian folk songs. As you listen, focus on listening to the harmonies as well as the melody.
  • KindGentle - what a piece... wow. Here is the demo version.
  • King of Rock & Roll (Elvis) - Here is a pretty good YouTube performance (ending a bit messy, so make sure YOU understand how it is supposed to go so we don't have that problem! BUT, I like the trumpet squeal up to the stratusphere if anyone wants to try that!)
  • Lassus - this is our May 2012 concert recording
  • LibertyBellMarch - this is our version, played by my WMS band. I found it the other day - bones got a bit messed up, but otherwise a solid performance! LibBell-Pryor - this one is performed by the actual Sousa band - he wasn't conducting, Arthur Pryor was (his lead trumpet player). Sousa wanted nothing to do with recording on these wax cylinders; he predicted it would be the downfall of live music (he was right) and coined the term, "Canned Music". No repeats due to size constriction of the cylinders and no percussion because it was too loud for the technology! LibBell-Brion - this is the modern Sousa Band with director Keith Brion (Sousa scholar). Great rendition, complete with the Liberty Bell as Sousa wrote it!
  • MilEscort: A great little march, actually by Henry Fillmore. Sousa once said, "I wish I had written that march!"
  • On the Trail (no sound file available yet)
  • PatrioticFest - nice arrangement and not very difficult. We will have the audience sing along.
  • RowanTree - This is such a gorgeous Scottish tune. Follow this link to see the lyrics.
  • Yankee / Chester - our July 4, 2012 rehearsal recording so that you can hear the repeated section. This link goes to the demo version.





Do you get confused with so many pieces of music in your folder? Here are some suggestions to help you organize your music



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Sudbury Valley New Horizons Music, Inc. at Wayland Middle School -- 201 Main Street, Wayland, MA