[NEWSLETTER of DAVID E. SMITH PUBLICATIONS, LLC]

NEWSLETTER of DAVID E. SMITH PUBLICATIONS, LLC

VOL 6, NO 4, WINTER, 2004

 NEWSLETTER of DAVID E. SMITH PUBLICATIONS, LLC
VOL 6, NO4, WINTER, 2004


© 2004 Copyright of David E. Smith Publications
All Rights Reserved. Made in U.S.A.

Table of Contents
The Publishers' Space
Thinking...
Church Humor
The String Space
The Lone Arranger
The Brass Space
Christmas In The Heart
2020 Vision: The Normal Elementary General Music Program
The Percussion Space





 








First, what materials does one use for arrangement David E. Smith materials? The options pretty well exist in three areas: public domain, copyrighted songs, and free or original material. Which do we use for our publications? All three! Most of what we use are traditional hymns for three reasons: (1) public domain pieces don’t impose royalty costs as do copyrighted pieces; (2) the market we try to create and/or cater to is of a traditional and more conservative nature and so public domain materials will cover more denominational and independent institutions; and (3) traditional materials will tend to stand the test of time (alla Bach) as opposed to more “popish” materials which are hot today and gone tomorrow— this is particularly important in instrumental circles. Besides, copyrighted materials take time to administer (and they are worth the trouble) if it is a piece that we want to publish.

THE PUBLISHER'S SPACE
by David E. Smith


Why Be A Publisher?
Ministry or Business?
Art or Passion? Part II

What determines the price at which a piece of music will sell? There are many considerations, some of which are fairly obvious and some of which the consumer may never consider. Consumers do not likely have any obligation to concern themselves with why a piece costs what it does, unless they have a curious mind about it. Their concern is whether they can afford the piece, or desire it enough to make the purchase. The purpose of this dissertation is mainly to satisfy those who are curious about the process. There is an axiom in the business world that customers do not want to hear about your problems as a business person, they just want information about the product they are investigating. In other words, don’t whine to us, serve us! With those premises laid, let’s get into the particulars.

 

Over the last twenty years the typical royalty charge for the use of copyrighted materials has risen about 50%. So do we use new materials? YES! There was a day when Amazing Grace was a new song and I suspect there were those who may have questioned its use then. As far as new, non-song materials go we all can find them refreshing and they certainly have worth for instrumental works. There are those who feel that instrumental works that don’t have songs that a congregation knows have questionable usage value. But here again, there was a time that every song used by a congregation or school was new and it had to be introduced and learned and then developed or incorporated into regular use. (This rationale is not intended to be argumentative but rather to stimulate thought.) And again, the masses don’t always comprehend musical thought the way they do textual thought and so instrumentalists sometimes suffer a disadvantage in he use of their craft.

Secondly, unit sales. Unlike the vocal field where a song, song book, octavo, cantata, etc. are going to be sold in multiples to a given customer, how many oboe duets would you likely sell to a given customer? And while vocal materials will have a diversity of technical level, it would appear that the vast majority of it tends to be around middle level. On the other hand, in the instrumental field technical skill varies tremendously and to do a good publishing job we have to offer materials for beginners on up to highly skilled players and there are many consumers between. So, the simple economics of supply and demand influence production and sales. In other words, a vocal piece that might sell by the thousands or even tens of thousands is going to have a different price than that oboe duet, which might be a level four, is going to sell. add to that mix, the conservative nature of spending by most Christian institutions, and influences of economy, and things become even tighter.

In Part III, the discussion will concern individual production components and publication cost considerations.

To Table Of Contents





To Table Of Contents

THINKING...
by Harlow E. Hopkins


He was forced to tell her, in the presence of her husband, that in the course of the operation it had been necessary to sever a nerve which would cause the right side of her face to droop and that it was irreversible. Shortly thereafter the husband moved close to the side of the bed and bent over to kiss her. As he did so, the surgeon related, the husband caused the right corner of his mouth to droop thus causing his lips to conform to his wife’s lips.

The surgeon said that at that moment he felt he was in the presence of divine love.

Christmas reminds us once again that Divine Love came to earth in the person of Jesus Christ.

Reader, are you acquainted personally with that Love? It can change your life and give you a perspective which transforms your very being. The Love which brought Christ to earth can give you purpose and meaning which goes beyond one’s own ability to explain. A total metamorphosis awaits...

 





To Table Of Contents

CHURCH HUMOR


2. Many folks want to serve God, but only as advisers.

3. It is easier to preach ten sermons than it is to live one.

4. When you get to your wit's end, you'll find God lives there.

5. People are funny. They want the front of the bus, the middle the road, and the back of the church.

6. Opportunity may knock once, but temptation bangs on your door for years.

7. Quit griping about your church; if it were perfect, you couldn't belong.

8. The phrase that is guaranteed to wake up an audience: "And in conclusion..."

9. If the church wants a better pastor, it only needs to pray for the one it has.

10. Not only are the sins of the fathers visited upon the children, but nowadays the sins of the children are visited upon the fathers.

11. God Himself does not propose to judge a man till he is dead. So why should you?

12. To make a long story short, don't tell it.

13. Some minds are like concrete, thoroughly mixed up and permanently set.

14. I don't know why some people change churches. What difference does it make which one you stay home from?

15. A lot of church members who are singing "Standing on the Promises" are just sitting on the premises.

16. We were called to be witnesses, not lawyers.

17. Outside of traffic, there is nothing that holds this country back as much as a committee.

18. Peace starts with a smile.

19. The good Lord didn't create anything without a purpose, but mosquitoes come close.

 





At the first several rehearsals the group balked at playing the piece. I heard comments such as, “No one knows this hymn,” and, “Why are we programming a melody that no one has heard?” These comments were made despite the fact that this arrangement was the only unfamiliar tune in the entire fifty-minute program.

THE STRING SPACE
by Jay-Martin Pinner


The Nature of Music and Our Pedagogical Paradigms—
Musings and Ponderings, Part 2

A little more than a year ago a colleague wrote a stunningly beautiful arrangement of a hymn tune I had grown up with but which is rarely heard in Christian circles today. The poetry speaks powerfully yet tenderly about yielding our will to that of Christ. The text is wonderfully supported with a haunting melody by Carl Maria von Weber. I debated about including the new arrangement in a sacred concert performed on a week-long tour.

 

Why is including an unfamiliar hymn in a sacred concert perceived negatively? Why do we as music directors fell compelled to play or sing only those melodies currently known by those in our circle of influence?

With the influx of countless new compositions and arrangements, a proclivity to perform the “new” sets us up to abandon the old. We are in danger of leaving “the old paths” that Scripture warns us about.

What happened to our role as music educators and teachers? What happened to our mission to teach? It would appear that many Christian musicians have abandoned this mission.

Maud Powell, one of the great violinists of the early 1900s, describes performing out west in saloons with the only available pianos. In addition to familiar melodies she performed great masterworks to raise the level of understanding and appreciation by those in her audience, many of whom had only moments earlier left their gun belts hanging on the wall. She believed that part of her responsibility as a performer was to educate her audience. She made it her mission to teach everyone in her sphere of influence.

The tour group’s comments about playing an unfamiliar hymn had merit. Just as Alice Parker insists that the text is of paramount importance when composing and arranging, so our group could not hope to minister effectively if the audience was not familiar with the text of this new arrangement.

I am aware of a church in which Martin Luther’s great hymn, A Mighty Fortress, was unkown until the music director taught it to the congregation.

With that in mind I decided to teach this old hymn to the congregations on our tour. Whenever possible I encouraged congregations to follow the text in their hymnals as the group played, and I included two stanzas of the hymn text in the narration for the program. I hoped in this way to help re-introduce the hymn as another of the old tunes that is worthy to be sung and played in worship services for this generation.

As the tour progressed this new setting of an old hymn tune became a favorite with the group as well as with pastors and congregations. On several occasions people were moved to tears with the arrangement.

This was a poignant reminder that as a Christian musician I am not only singing, playing or conducting with excellence soli Deo Gloria. I am also a music educator, “teaching and admonishing.” While much new and worthy music is being composed and performed let us be careful to not abandon the old hymns and gospel songs simply because they have grown unfamiliar through neglect.

Our mission is to teach our congregations and audiences, to raise their levels of understanding and appreciation, and to provide a foundation for worship and culture appropriate for lives seeking to glorify our great God.

Jay-Martin Pinner is Head of the String Department at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. He coordinates the University’s Precollege Orchestra Program, and teaches courses in String Pedagogy and String Literature.

To Table Of Contents





To Table Of Contents

THE LONE ARRANGER
by Dana F. Everson


Years ago, before the Lord allowed technicians to create FINALE or SIBELIUS, there was a common question that would surface concerning whether or not to write music “at the piano.” Since many folks still use paper and pencil (with a big eraser), I think it’s time we answered this question for our readers.

Let’s begin by simply comparing and contrasting the use and non-use of the piano. Begin by examining the chart below.

This comparison speaks for itself. In the end, YOU are the one who decides what tools to use in your writing attempts. There was a time when the most sophisticated composers and theorists might say: “If you use the piano you are going to stifle your creativity.” “The best writers,” they would say, “never use the piano.” Certainly this is true of using any instrument to the exclusion of using your own mind and your imagination, but please don’t allow that kind of comment to prevent you from using the piano, or guitar, or any instrument to produce music that is well-written and glorifying to God.

Of course you should develop your “inner ear” as far as you possibly can. But don’t be intimidated by those who would declare piano as off limits for working out an arrangement or composition. Besides, Beethoven, Ravel, Prokofiev, and other not-so-mediocre composers and arrangers worked at the piano...you would be in good company!

YOU are the one who knows your writing skills and how best make use of the tools you have available. “Should you use the piano?” …A better question is probably: “When would using the piano be of help in my writing?” Happy pedaling!

 

Possible Advantages of the Piano Possible Disadvantages of the Piano
Hearing the melodic line at concert pitch Not hearing the various colors of instruments
Hearing the harmonies Percussive sound rather than continuous as in wind or string instruments
Wide pitch range available Writer may not have strong piano skills
Immediately hearing the notes Writer uses the piano as a “crutch” instead of a tool
Helps develop ear training skills Non-use of piano forces the writer to develop ideas from his head; therefore, limits creativity
Some pianistic playing techniques can transfer to other instruments. Writer can get into a “rut” where he only thinks in terms of keyboard instruments
Ability to improvise at the keyboard can stimulate possible writing ideas Some pianistic playing techniques do not transfer well to other instruments

 

 

 





To make ascending lip slurs easier, I recommend a couple playing techniques. As already mentioned, the back of the tongue should change position. As the lip slur ascends, the back of the tongue should rise. So if I’m slurring from a concert F up to a concert Bb, the back of my tongue should change from an “oh” vowel to an “ooh” vowel. For higher lip slurs, I use an “ooh-ee” shift. When lip trills are used (where the notes are a half or whole step apart), most of the change of notes is done with the back of the tongue and very little with the lips. Besides the back of the tongue change, young players trying to do ascending lip slurs should blow faster from the lower to higher note. The combination of lip tightening, back of the tongue rising and increased airflow help the ascending lip slur pop out with relative ease.

THE BRASS SPACE
by Phil Norris


The Wonders of Lip Slurs

When I introduce the subject of lip slurs to students, I usually begin by saying, “Lip slurs are the brass player’s push-ups.” The more I think about that statement, the more I realize how very true it is! For you readers who may not be brass players (brass players skip this paragraph, please!), lip slurs are the action of changing from partial to partial (no change of valves or slide position) without the use of the tongue, by the use of the lips.

The term “lip slur” is actually not a complete description of the process. In addition to the lip change, there is also a change of the position of the back of the tongue. The combination of lip and back of the tongue is what makes lip slurs work.

In most cases lip slurs are less a concern in descending slurs. The bigger challenge is an ascending lip slur. In beginners, ascending lip slurs are sometimes impossible and often difficult. If such players find them too challenging, simply ignore the slur and allow the player to tongue the slurred notes. In time, as the embouchure strengthens the ascending slurs will become accessible.

 

The benefits of lip slurs include: 1) increased strength, 2) increased endurance, 3) increased flexibility, and 4) greater control and awareness of where each partial lies on the instrument. On this fourth point, young players will understand more clearly how the overtone series works by doing lip slurs.

Aside from trumpets, most brass instruments can produce the fundamental of the overtone series (as a pedal tone on trumpets and trombones, as a regular tone on horns, euphoniums and tubas). The lowest regular note (which is an octave above the fundamental) on trumpets and trombones is the second partial. The third partial is a 5th higher that the second, the fourth partial is a 4th higher than the previous one, and so on. Any good music theory book will explain this in more detail (most of you probably already know this!). Lip slurs take you through the over- tone series very nicely, and with a developed embouchure, the proper tuning of various intervals will also emerge.

Since lip slurs are like push-ups, it’s important to not over-do them. A little each day is helpful; too much can cause excess lip strain and tissue damage. If this happens, a day or two of rest will help.

Some teachers recommend lip slurs as warm-up material. I don’t. I ask the question, “Would an athlete, say a sprinter, go out an run full-tilt without a warm-up?” Obviously no. Lip slurs are some of the most demanding physical actions brass players do, so they are best used AFTER a warm-up. After a warmup, lip slurs will not tax the player as much. Lip slurs before warm-up will likely leave the player worn out and unable to play for very long. How much lip slur practice should be done? This will vary from player to player a great deal, but some should be done each practice session. I also recommend some rest during the course of doing the lip slurs. Should lip slurs be played softly or loudly or mezzo? The more loudly you play them, the more rest you should include. Soft lip slurs are valuable for flexibility; louder lip slurs build strength. In either case, the tone should be substantial with fullness and flow to the blowing, not weak or pinched. Most brass method books have lip slur exercises, but the ones I’ve found most beneficial are found in Arban (many have been borrowed and placed in other books on all brass instruments methods).

In addition, I strongly recommend pedal tones for trumpet and trombone/euphonium players in conjunction with lip slurs (horn and tuba players should continue working the full lower range of notes possible as part of the practice routine). Pedal tones help to strengthen the lips while providing relaxation. Work downward as you seek to player higher. This helps upper range development appreciably when used alongside lip slurs. Finally, the goal is to place full concentration on music-making, not the skill. The physical conditioning lip slurs provide is a vital part of brass playing. Like other skills the goal is to have the greatest freedom to play the music without concern over the means.

Phil Norris is an Associate Professor of Music at Northwestern College, St. Paul, Minnesota, where he teaches and actively performs on trumpet. He earned his DMA at the University of Minnesota. Phil is past president of the Christian Instrumentalists and Direc- tors Association and continues to com- pile and edit the CIDA Sacred List of Instrumental Music.

To Table Of Contents





To Table Of Contents

CHRISTMAS IN THE HEART


It is Christmas in the mansion,
Yule-long fires and silken frocks;

It is Christmas in the cottage,
Mother’s filling little socks.

It is Christmas on the highway,
In the thronging, busy mart;

But the dearest truest Christmas
Is the Christmas in the heart.

ANONYMOUS





In most states, pre-service elementary classroom teachers are required to earn a minor in one of the core academic areas. Many people are surprised to find that states generally considered the strongest educationally do not allow their pre-service classroom teachers to select music as an undergraduate minor. At first glance, this might seem like an affront to a music profession constantly striving to justify itself as a core subject. Actually, it is the music education professional lobbied hardest to keep music organizations that have out of the mix of minor options for pre-service teachers. Why? Because elementary classroom teachers are expected to minor in a subject that they will teach (History, Math, English, Sci- ence). The music education profession does not want to promote a system in which classroom teachers who are amateur musicians are required to teach their own general music classes. Good general music teachers know their mission and know how to acheive it. This level of mastership costs the music specialist up to five years of preservice preparation and field-work, specialized student teaching, and a lifetime of dedicated growth in the field. Good general music programs are grounded in well-structured philosophy, fueled by a powerful mission statement, and guided by thoughtful aims, each aim having numerous actionable dimensions. Most undergraduate programs require pre-service teachers to carefully develop a working philosophy, so in the interest of time and space I will skip that step for the time being and offer a sample mission statement.

2020 VISION: THE NORMAL ELEMENTARY GENERAL MUSIC PROGRAM
by Rick D. Townsend, Ph.D.


 

Sample Mission Statement: Elementary General Music in the Christian School—We seek to provide music learning experiences through which all children can maximally develop their God-given aptitudes. In that quest, we believe that every child should partake in a broad range of appropriately sequenced music experiences throughout the preschool and elementary years, leading to independence as a musician, and resulting in sensitivity to the full range of feelingful impressions inherent in musical events. It is our goal that each child enter adolescence with musical skills that lay a foundation for appropriate aesthetic and affective music making and choosing, thereby enhancing the Holy Spirit’s work toward Christian maturity.

We, as music teachers, must not flinch in our constant, proactive efforts to persuade parents, school administrators, and pastors to develop and maintain a strong commitment to early childhood and elementary general music in the school. These are, by far, the most important parts of the school music program. The alternative is to continue the current practices in which too little music learning starting too late leads to too little true musical understanding, contributing to sustained immaturity in musical choices and sustained spiritual childishness and naivety. When all the key players truly understand music’s key role in the spiritual maturing processes, and come to understand that critical musical aptitude and preference development must take place during the first nine years, extensive early childhood and elementary school music programs will be a slam dunk.

The Aims of Elementary School Music—Throughout the past decade music teachers have developed, and been guided by, a comprehensive set of voluntary state and national music education standards. National music education standards, developed through systematic nationwide poll- ing of music educators during the mid-1990s, now serve as appropriate Aims to guide music curriculum development at all levels. Most states have used these national standards as a source for their own statewide benchmarks that, in turn, provide comprehensive guidelines for local curriculum development. State benchmarks can be found easily on each individual state’s professional music education association’s website. The voluntary national music education standards are as follows:

1. Singing, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music

2. Performing on instruments, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music

3. Improvising melodies, variations, and accompaniments

4. Composing and Arranging music within specific guidelines

5. Reading and notating music

6. Listening to, analyzing, and describing music

7. Evaluating music and music performances

8. Understanding relationships between music, the other arts, and disciplines outside the arts

9. Understanding music in relation to history and culture.

Customization for Christian School Music Programs Detailed lesson planning and classroom organization will be the topic of our next installment in this series. However, lesson planning is useless unless the teacher has adequate administrative support in the form of adequate numbers of music teachers, adequate scheduling, adequate funding, and adequate facilities to perform their duties. The next installment of this series will also address these critical elements of The Normal Christian School Music Program.

Rick D. Townsend currently serves as Director of Music Teacher Education and Director of Instrumental Music at Maranatha Baptist Bible College in Watertown, Wisconsin. With over 25 years of experience as a music teacher in public and Christian grade schools, he brings a broad base of experience to the subject. He holds the PhD degree from Michigan State University. Dr. Townsend has been published by David E. Smith Publications, Band World Magazine and the Journal of Music Teacher Education.

To Table Of Contents





The gong (or tam tam) should be suspended from a sturdy gong stand that will allow it to swing freely after it is struck. A gong mallet should be used. It looks similar to a bass drum mallet, but is much heaver so it will set gong in vibration better. The striking position should be just below center in order to produce a full sound.

THE PERCUSSION SPACE
by Billy Madison


How to play the Gong

Whenever a composer writes a part for gong or tam tam it usually doesn’t actually matter which one is used.

 

Although a gong can have a definite pitch it rarely matters what pitch is used. The only consideration is that the pitch of the gong doesn’t conflict with the harmonic structure of the piece.

A tam tam doesn’t have a definite pitch and the desired effect can be produced on either a gong or tam tam. Both gongs and tam tams come in a variety of sizes, but usually a larger one is desired.

 

Sometimes the gong should be “primed” by tapping it softly around the surface with either the mallet or your hand to set the instrument into vibration.

Even though this is not always necessary it allows for a much better and fuller tone when the note is played. Be sure that the “priming” is not audible by the audience.

If a full loud sound is not required then softer sounds may be produced by striking closer to the edge of the instrument. Rolls are produced by hitting the gong using several quick strokes with a single mallet.

Two mallets may be used, but aren’t really necessary. In order to muffle the gong you should use both hands or one hand and your leg to stop the sound at precisely the desired instant although the parts frequently indicate to let it ring.

Other types of mallets, sticks, and beaters may be used to produce a variety of sounds for special effects. Some contemporary composers have even written gong parts to be played with a cello bow, which produces a very unusual effect.

Some gong parts even require that the gong be lowered into a tub of water, which is another very interesting sound. Since gongs may be pitched there are some parts written for chromatic sets of gongs that can actually play melodies. Even though most gong (or tam tam) parts are usually conventional there are many possibilities available to composers. However it is used a gong is a very effective and dramatic instrument.

Billy Madison has taught instrumental music in the Arkansas Public Schools for 18 years. He holds both the BME in Instrumental Music and the MM in Music Theory and Composition from Arkansas State University. He studied composition with Jared Spears and Tom O’Connor. Madison has played percussion with the Northeast Arkansas Symphony since 1978.

To Table Of Contents




In earlier installments of this how to achieve it. This level of 2020 Vision series I have discussed (a) overarching principles for building a Christian school music program that ought to become normal by year 2020, and (b) specific guidelines for early childhood general music from infancy through 5 years old. The early childhood article leads us naturally to the current article - The Normal Elementary General Music Program.
Dana Everson holds the BME and Master’s in Saxophone Performance degrees from Michigan State University and a Master of Sacred Music from Pensacola the Christian College. He has over 100 published works.
Working at the Piano
1. Some people are kind, polite, and sweet spirited until you try to get into their pews.
A story came to my attention recently about a surgeon who had removed a tumor from the brain of a young woman.

Preach Christ Always
And As A Last Resort
Use Words.
St. Francis of Assisi

[top]

 
for ordering options: [ChurchMusic.biz] [Dealer List]

Copyright 2006 David E. Smith Publications, LLC.