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Organizing your Music in a Notebook

Updated February 15, 2017
(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.


FALL SESSION (these will open in a new tab in your browser)


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • WhipSpur: a classic Galop (which was a fast round dance of the mid-1800s and later turned into circus music). We will NOT be taking it at this tempo, but it will be good practice to see if you can keep your place watching the music, while listening to the soundfile!
  • Covington: This is one of the two pieces we will be playing together with the Cape Cod Band. Nice overture!
  • By now you should have purchased a copy of the Holst, so I am not posting that here. We are doing the 3rd & 4th movements.
  • With Orchestra (some winds and percussion) Star Wars Main Theme: OR
  • For Senior Living gigs this session: MusicMan, RowanTree, FullMoon, GenGreene, Gershwin


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

  • TBA



Linda has sent these soundfiles for your study - keep in mind that they are computer generated (and computers still don't play as well as people!!), so the tone isn't terrific, the dynamics are very abrupt and not at all subtle, and the staccatos tend to be jarringly short! That said, you can get a sense of how your parts fit together with the rest of the group!

Also, unfortunately, the balance is not very good between the different instruments on them, the mordents (short trills) in the Galliard don't come out, and there are a couple skips where the transitions didn't work right. However, they might give you some idea! (On the Rikkud - we don't have to take it as fast as the soundfile, but it will give you a sense of the piece.)



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!
  • 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.
  • KindGentle - what a piece... wow. Here is the demo version.
  • 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!"
  • Oregon - Great melody commemorating the travel westward of our pioneers, the excitement, the fear, the sadness.
  • 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