NEWSLETTER of DAVID E. SMITH PUBLICATIONS, LLC
VOL 12, NO 1, Winter, 2010
© 2010 Copyright of David E. Smith Publications
All Rights Reserved. Made in U.S.A.
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The Publishers' Space
The Brass Space
The Lone Arranger Space
Words To Live By...
The Woodwinds Space
The String Space
The Percussion Space
The Ant and the Contact Lens
Preach Christ Always
And As A Last Resort
St. Francis of Assisi
THE PUBLISHER'S SPACE
by David E. Smith
David E. Smith Publications, LLC is now issuing the latest Catalog in a CD format—version 11.1. Just call, write or email for your copy. It includes the print catalog and seasonal catalogs in various formats. There are addenda, correction, demonstration and sound files as well as data in spreadsheet and database formats.
The Young Soloist and Young String Soloist Series have long been a well-received publication since its inception. It has had live sound accompaniments on cassette for years. It is now being produced with both wind and string sets in audio files, mp3 files and Smart Music samplings all on one CD (Inv. #189104.)
NEW to DESPUB offerings are full orchestra arrangements. There are two written by Dana F. Everson- Jesus Shall Reign, (#185905) and How Firm A Foundation (#185906) at level three and priced at $45.00 for the full score and a full complement of parts. Many of the pieces in the Psalm 150 Publications (a division of David E. Smith Publications, LLC) which have been in manuscript are being typeset and the scores redesigned. Two of the latest to go through this transformation are David S. Winkler’s Hymns Of Christmas Medley, (#SA7008,) and Fairest Lord Jesus, acc.(#SA1821.) The solo and piano renditions for clarinet and cello for Fairest Lord Jesus have also been edited and redone.
Other solos that have been “updated” are The Old Rugged Cross for flute, oboe, clarinet and violin. Also, Majestic Music Publications (a division of David E. Smith Publications, LLC. as well) has seen many works reset for page balance and cleaner printout.
You can keep up with all of these changes, additions and upgrades on the company web sites under the “What’s New” on the menus tab.
We have mentioned in the past our developing many publications in Smart Music. They are not yet available BUT, we now have a development team working on them and look forward to the time when we can announce that they are here! We will present them in several formats depending on what is appropriate to the piece. Assessment files—for pieces that are easier and most likely to be used in educational settings or personal practice—these are for solo and exercise pieces. Ensemble files which will allow you to select what instrument part you want to turn off and then play along with. These files will be developed for pieces of various levels and idioms.
The “What’s New” menu on our web sites will include Intelligent Accompaniment files which will be developed for solos at a higher difficulty level that will include more markers and greater flexibility. Some pieces may be presented with multiple file types where deemed appropriate or expected. We have yet to release our marketing strategies but they will likely use web site downloads or CD formats.
Speaking of web sites, we have just added hundreds of new “pdf” links on both of our web sites, www.despub.com and www.churchmusic.biz especially in the Christmas classifications. With other seasons and special days coming up you can search on www.churchmusic.biz for pieces that are designed for patriotic or wedding venues. Just go to “Search the Catalog” and select classification and then the holiday type for which you are looking.
At present we are working on some new genres even though we have most all areas covered. But, we will keep you posted in future issues of “Lines and Spaces®”.
Also, for those of you who attend conferences where we exhibit, you will notice that we have redesigned the configuration of our product offerings with the hope that it will make your browsing, selecting and purchasing easier. As always, your patronage is greatly appreciated!
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The notion that music and song are merely for amusements and that their effects can be laughed off is a deadly error. Actually they exercise a powerful creative influence over the plastic human soul. And their permanent effects will be apparent in our growth in grace or in evil.” A.W. Tozer, in The Powers That Shape Us “
THE BRASS SPACE
by Phil Norris
Students will regularly ask, “How can I increase my endurance?” Good question. Here are some ideas.
Perhaps the best way to increase one’s endurance is with a slow, well-paced warm-up. I suggest adhering to the principles of “Low and Slow and Soft.” Rafael Mendez began with a few minutes of simply blowing air gently through the instrument (lips in the mouthpiece) without any buzz. He would then very quietly bring the lips together firmly enough to allow a faint sound. After this he would play low and slow notes with generous amounts of rest. Robert Nagal limits his warm-up to interval shifts of thirds in the early stages of playing. David Hicks (Arizona State) and James Thompson (Eastman) advocate extended mouthpiece buzzing in the early minutes of playing. Dale Clevenger (Chicago Symphony) will often begin his day with warm-water applications to the mouth followed by simple quiet mouthpiece buzzing of a few low, comfortable notes. All these ideas make good sense.
Unwise warm-ups include loud playing, fasting playing, high notes and ascending lip slurs. Playing in these ways too soon guarantees quick fatigue that results from rapid swelling of the lip and embouchure tissue. Thinking of brass playing as an athletic event, it makes sense to stretch out and relax the muscles, trying to promote good blood flow to the embouchure muscles when you start out. So for best endurance, patience, gentleness and quietness should govern the warm-up.
Once a good warm-up is done, the player should gradually increase upper range and volume beyond the low-slow-soft beginning stage. Descending lip slurs and moderate use of ascending lip slurs may be used at this time. I recommend lyrical flow studies after the initial warm-up before proceeding to more strenuous techniques.
After the warm-up, Maurice Andre advocates resting MORE than you play during the course of practicing. It’s better to have several shorter practice sessions throughout the course of a day than one long, continuous session. Of course, with many students this simply isn’t possible. What’s to be done when practice time is limited? Depending on how much time there is to practice, resting as much as you play is a good starting point. If the player has less than half an hour, it still makes sense to warm-up patiently and gradually, and then the embouchure can handle a more continuous amount of work for the balance of the time.
Some things players can do while resting the lips and yet making use of the practice time can include: singing the music, fingering the part while singing, studying the music for repeated material or other aspects of rhythm, melody and harmony that help in understanding the music as a whole, and generally looking for ways to make the playing easier and more musical.
In addition to rest, there are strengthening habits that will build endurance. First and foremost are lip slurs, and lip slurs of varying types. The types include: 1) slurring adjacent partials back and forth; 2) slurring straight up and straight down; and 3) slurring where you skip over partials using wider intervals (5ths, 6ths, 8vas). Players need to do some of each type as a matter of course in each practice session, but not too much. A certain amount will add strength; too much can harm. Or as Herbert L. Clarke put it, “The principle is the same as that of a physician prescribing three drops of medicine that will cure, whereas a spoonful will kill.” He recommended practicing vigorous exercises “very softly.” It’s good advice.
Playing pedal or extremely low registers in the course of each practice session also adds to endurance. This relaxes the tissue, promotes generous blood flow to the muscles and at the same time strengthens the tissues.
Playing a certain amount of high notes in the course of a day will add to endurance provided there are 1) adequate rest, 2) the air flow is not compressed, and 3) the right and efficient mechanics of lip motion.
Blowing full, relaxed and quantitative breath will aid endurance. Blowing too tightly reduces the quantity of air to the lips and as a result, the lips must contract more to create and sustain pitches. Blowing without compression also reduces mouthpiece pressure. Anytime you can reduce mouthpiece pressure on the lips, you will improve blood flow and the muscles will work more efficiently.
Doing “callisthenic” exercises with the mouth is another way to improve endurance. For example, you can do “lip clamps” where you form a very firm “m”, pressing the lips together and holding it for a few seconds, repeating the clamp, like you would bench pressing or working isometric exercises of other muscles groups in the body. As a variation, you can localize the clamp but squeezing starting at the far side and moving the squeeze to the opposite. You can also move the lips out and away from the mouth, then pull the corners back as additional stretch and press exercises. There is also a product available called ChopSticks [http://www.liemar-tech.com/Chop-Sticks/] which includes an exercise manual that will provide a gym-like workout for the embouchure.
I read recently that as demands on muscles increase, they grow new blood vessels to supply more blood. This occurs in any muscle anywhere in the body, including the mouth. So, a reasonable increase in demand on the embouchure will produce similar increase in blood efficiency to the tissues. Even in a few days of increased playing activity, most players will notice improved endurance, so long as there is adequate rest. Also, the proportions of stress and rest change with increasing age or activity level. As we age, muscle tone does diminish and more rest and careful warm-up are necessary.
Very active players find that the normal levels of rehearsal and performance keep their endurance levels high, assuming adequate rest is had. All of these things will contribute to one’s overall endurance, but as stated at the outset, you cannot build endurance apart from adequate rest. The repeated stress-rest cycle of practicing is the only way to develop the embouchure. Too much stress and you do damage; too little stress and strength will not develop. Both are needed, and needed in the proportion right for each player. Some players need more rest than others, but everyone needs sufficient rest.
Phil Norris is Professor of Music at Northwestern College in St. Paul since 1993. He holds the DMA from the University of Minnesota, MM/Trumpet, Northwestern University and the BME from Grace College. He is also a musician, teacher and elder in his local church.
THE LONE ARRANGER'S SPACE
by Dana F. Everson
QUICK TIPS FOR ONE-COLOR WRITING
Often a church or school setting does not offer a wide variety of instrumental colors. Flutes, Trumpets, Alto Saxophones, Violins and Clarinets tend to be most common. Lower/larger instruments are usually more sparse and the players less developed in their skills. Mixing whatever colors ARE available is one way to present variety, but let’s focus on the one-color small groups for a literary moment:
Suppose you have three clarinets (or three alto saxophones, or 3 trumpets) and a piano. Sometimes the simplest possibilities are overlooked. Constantly go back to basics and review the possible variations. Here are some arranging tips to consider in order to get the most unity AND variety from such seemingly limited colors.
Vary the rhythm. Take the listener away from the highly unified color by leaning towards unexpected changes in tempo, in meter, or in rhythmic patterns.
Make use of mutes (brass and strings).
Change key more often than usual. Be meticulous and creative about articulations and bowings. You do not have to articulate the melody the same way on every repeat. Think of the different stanzas of the text: Each one has a somewhat different emphasis, so allow the instrumental adaptation to express those differences.
Vary the dynamics. Most wind instruments express a slightly different color at different volume levels. This can be done with all parts, or by dynamically highlighting one part while the others are significantly softer. Judicious use of crescendos/diminuendos can add much.
Use a cappella. The piano does not have to play the entire time. Let the pure color of the instrument(s) come through if only for a few measures. When the piano reenters the contrast will be welcomed. As well, rest the main color here and there so that some “fresh air” is allowed into the texture a few times during the arrangement.
Closely related to the previous suggestion, vary the texture. Monophonic, Polyphonic, and Homophonic fabrics provide wonderful options.
Make use of the special characteristics of each instrument. (For example: the throat tones of the clarinet, the low tones of the flute, the sliding potential of the trombone, the double stops option for the strings may all be used in appropriate ways.) Also consider the slightly different colors in the extreme ranges of instruments, particularly the woodwinds.
Realize the piano can be used in different ways to accompany. It can serve as a bass line, a countermelody or descant, or as homorhythmic support. Keep in mind, though, that no matter how much the sustaining pedal may be used, the piano is a percussive string instrument. Playing whole note chords at a very slow tempo does not have the same effect as bowed strings or wind instruments playing whole notes.
Review how the great composers featured single color instruments (For example: A Mozart Horn Concerto will demonstrate a variety of techniques to consider.)
Finally, DON’T OVERSTAY YOUR WELCOME! If you run out of ideas, don’t push the listener’s patience. Don’t keep beating the listener over the head until he cries out for relief from monotony…end the arrangement.
Dana F. Everson holds: Associate of Arts--Delta College, the BME and Master’s in Saxophone Performance--Michigan State, Master of Sacred Music--Pensacola Christian College, and the Doctor of Sacred Ministry--Northland Baptist Bible College, with additional music studies at the University of Michigan and the California Institute of the Arts. He has over 350 published works.
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Words to Live by...
Don't give up. Moses was once a basket case."
"Prevent truth decay. Brush up on your Bible."
"Under same management for over 2000 years."
"Beat the Christmas rush, come to church this Sunday!"
"Don't wait for the hearse to take you to church."
"Life has many choices, Eternity has two. What's yours?"
"Worry is interest paid on trouble before it is due."
"Wal-Mart isn't the only saving place!"
"It's hard to stumble when you're down on your knees."
"What part of THOU SHALT NOT' don't you understand?"
"The wages of sin is death. Repent before payday."
"Never give the devil a ride. He will always want to drive."
"Can't sleep? Try counting your blessings."
"Forbidden fruit creates many jams."
"Satan subtracts and divides. God adds and multiplies."
"To belittle is to be little."
"Don't let the littleness in others bring out the littleness in you."
"God answers knee mail."
"Try Jesus. If you don't like Him, the devil will always take you back."
“A clear conscience makes a soft pillow “
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The mystery of Christmas lays upon us all a debt and an obligation to the rest of (humankind) and to the whole created universe. We who have seen the light of Christ are obliged, by the greatness of the grace that has been given us, to make known the presence of the Savior to the ends of the earth. This we will do not by preaching the glad tidings of His coming, but above all by revealing Him in our lives. Christ is born to us today, in order that He may appear to the whole world through us.” Thomas Merton, Seasons of Celebration
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THE WOODWIND'S SPACE
by Harlow E. Hopkins
A request is made that when the student next goes to bed he/she
(1) Lie face upward and breathe normally, watching the expansion taking place in the abdominal area while at the same time noticing that the shoulders are not moving.
(2) The suggestion is made to place a book on the stomach and continue breathing normally.
(3) Then take in more air and see how high the book can be raised.
Once the book has been raised to the highest possible point, keep the book elevated and blow a small stream of air out through the mouth.
Next, an explanation should take place about the location of that membrane called the "diaphragm," located between the stomach and the intestinal areas.
When the player inhales, the diaphragm is forced downward into a concave position as the lungs expand. When the air has been used up the diaphragm returns to a convex position. The diaphragm cannot be directly controlled, i.e., one cannot voluntarily move the diaphragm.
Players "support" the tone by pushing outward against the waistband and at the same time blowing to produce tone. The pressure needed to support the tone should not create undue tension in the abdominal area, but it must be enough to keep the diaphragm down as lon as needed before inhaling once again.
Concerning raising the shoulders, we don't do it when we breathe naturally and little or no upward shoulder movement should be observed when inhalation takes place prior to producing sound on the instrument.
Raising the shoulders usually produces a drawing in of the abdominal area, thus reducing lung capacity. The primary point of difference should be seen in the amount of movement—the amount of expansion in the mid-section of the body. If done properly, one will even see/feel a little expansion in the back on either side of the spine.
Some teachers ask the student to breathe in deeply—then say "hup", continuing to keep the mouth shut. One can feel the abdominal muscles flex outward and downward thus keeping the diaphragm in a concave position. Then request that the expanded condition be retained while expending a small stream of air.
Suggesting that the student place her/his hands on the sides with the fingers to the front and thumbs to the back will give the person a good idea as to the correctness of the breathing process. If deep breathing is taking place, the student should feel expansion taking place on both sides of the spine mentioned last time, is one method of providing the player with the proper concept.
Standing with one's back against a wall, with the feet several inches away from the baseboard is another exercise to help achieve abdominal expansion while keeping the shoulders immobile.
Also, sitting on a chair, leaning forward, hands on the sides, produces expansion above the waist while promoting stationary shoulder position.
Harlow E. Hopkins is Professor of Music, Emeritus, Olivet Nazarene University, Bourbonnais, Illinois, and continues there as Adjunct Professor of Clarinet. He holds the D.Mus. From Indiana University,, Bloomington
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THE STRING SPACE
by Jay-Martin Pinner
OF STRINGS AND TUNERS
Precollege band directors are expected to have at least rudimentary instrument repair skills in order to keep student instruments playable for imminent rehearsals and performances. String orchestra directors are often surprised by and ill prepared for the repair and maintenance needs of their students. For this column I would like to address changing strings on the violin family instruments and the correct use of fine tuners. String students who do not feel comfortable tuning their instruments with the pegs should use four steel strings and four fine tuners. Normally this would include string students in elementary school grades 4-6 and middle school, depending on when the string program starts at a particular school.
Tuners are metal screw devices that attach the ball or loop end of the string to the tailpiece of the instrument and allow the student to adjust the open string pitches without turning the pegs for each string. Tuning with pegs involves using a sophisticated turning/pushing motion that is better suited for an older student’s larger hands.
There are pegs on the market that act like fine tuners and are much easier for a young string student to turn. One of the best such pegs is a Caspari™ peg. While these pegs work quite well it is still recommended that young students have a fine tuner installed for each of the four strings. (Because double bassists have easy-to-turn machines with gears to tune their strings no fine tuners are made for bassists.)
Steel strings should be used for elementary and middle school violins, violas, cellos and basses. Steel strings are preferable to gut or synthetic strings for young players. Steel strings respond quickly to fine tuners and generally have a longer playing life than other strings. One of the most reliable brands of steel strings is Super Sensitive, Red Label™. Steel strings may be purchased in fractional sizes for smaller instruments.
Except for an emergency the string size should match the instrument size. Using a .75 string on a .5 size instrument will leave too much wrapping in the peg box and the string will not vibrate well due to improper tension. When installing a string the student or teacher should follow several steps.
Change only one string at a time. If all four strings are removed at once the bridge will fall and the sound post could fall, necessitating a trip to a string repair technician.
Lubricate the string groove in the nut with pencil. Graphite in lead is a great dry lubricant. Use an old white candle (paraffin) to lubricate the groove in the bridge. Pencil lead can be used on the bridge but it leaves a black mark.
As you install a steel string start at
the peg, winding the string wrapping evenly so that the string drops straight from the peg down through the string groove in the nut, across the bridge groove and into the receiving arm of the fine tuner. (When re-stringing a double bass start by threading the string through the narrow slot of the keyhole in the tailpiece. Then wind the string wrapping onto the machine at the peg box, keeping the string as straight as possible from tailpiece to machine.)
If time allows only bring the string up to within a half step of the correct pitch. This prolongs the life of the string, especially those that are gut and synthetic. After settling overnight the string may be brought up to pitch. In an emergency any type of string may be brought up to pitch immediately. Steel strings will hold their pitch with minimal re-tuning. Gut and synthetic strings need several days of re-tuning before they will hold their pitch consistently.
Steel strings come with either a loop or ball on the end that attaches to the fine tuner. When the ball end of the string does not fit between the two prongs of the fine tuner the prongs can be spread further apart with a flat head screwdriver. Exercise caution during this operation or the prongs will break.
Fine tuners should not normally be used for non-steel strings. Nonsteel strings are not designed to fit fine tuners and they are much less responsive to fine tuners than steel strings. When a student graduates to gut or synthetic strings a fine tuner is left on the tailpiece for the E string on the violin. Violists often use a steel A string and have a fine tuner for it. Cellists will often use a steel A and D, necessitating the use of two fine tuners.
Students and teachers should regularly check to be sure that fine tuners are not “digging” into the top of the instrument under the tailpiece. Having the teacher loosen the fine tuner and re-tuning with the peg will keep such damage from occurring.
Jay-Martin Pinner teaches over forty violin, viola, cello and double bass students at Pinner Studios in Greenville, South Carolina. He is also a free-lance musician, guest conductor and adjudicator. To Table Of Contents
THE PERCUSSION SPACE
by Billy Madison
CONCERT BASS DRUM BASICS
The concert bass drum is one of the most important instruments in the percussion section. It is the lowest in pitch and produces the “fundamental” percussion tone. The bass drum is used to provide a steady beat, add impact, and add depth to the sound of the percussion section.
When striking the bass drum use a wrist action moving in and out instead of up and down. This will draw the sound out of the drum and produce the best tone. Strike the drum near the center for the best sound, but not actually in the center. Striking it in the center will produce a more staccato sound. A large medium-hard bass drum mallet should be used for the basic sound, but a variety of sizes and hardness may be used for different desired effects. Two mallets should be used for more rhythmically complex playing as well as for rolls. The mallet (or mallets) should be held basically the same as snare drum sticks, but with the back of the hand turned more downward.
In most instances the drum should be muffled during rests. This is done by placing the left hand on the left head gently to stop it from ringing. The right head should also be muffled with the right hand (occasionally) or more commonly with the right knee. Whichever method of muffling used it should always be done by the player after the note is played. It is not good to use tape, cloth, pads, etc. to muffle a concert bass drum. The drum needs to be free to resonate and produce a “boooooom” sound.
A good bass drum sound makes a huge difference in the overall sound of any ensemble, whether it is a small percussion group or a concert band or orchestra. The bass drum will be heard or even felt whenever it is played due to its acoustic nature. Frequently, the player will not hear the drum nearly as loudly as people who are at a distance from the drum. This is important to keep in mind when playing in order to maintain proper balance with the ensemble.
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.
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The Ant and the Contact Lens (A True Story)
Brenda was almost halfwas to the top of the tremendous granite cliff. She was standing on a ledge where she was taking a breather during this, her first rock climb. As she rested there, the safety rope snapped against her eye and knocked out her contact lens. "Great", she thought. "Here I am on a rock ledge, hundreds of feet from the bottom and hundreds of feet to the top of this cliff, and now my sight is blurry." Through the years many students have entered my studio with virtually no concept of proper breathing. In many cases they had never given it a thought! I developed the following plan to attack the problem. “
She looked and looked, hoping that somehow it had landed on the ledge. But it just wasn't there.
She felt the panic rising in her, so she began praying. She prayed for calm, and she prayed that she might find her contact lens.
When she got to the top, a friend examined her eye and her clothing for the lens, but it was not to be found. Although she was calm now that she was at the top. she was saddened because she could not clearly see across the range of mountains. She thought of the bible verse "The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth."
She thought, "Lord, You can see all these mountains. You know every stone and leaf and You know exactly where my contact lens is. Please help me."
Later, when they had hiked down the trail to the bottom of the cliff they met another party of climbers just starting tip the face of the cliff. One of them shouted out, "Hey, you guys! Anybody lose a contact lens'?"
Well, that would be startling enough, but you know why the climber saw it'.' An ant was moving slowly across a twig on the face of the rock, carrying it!
The story doesn't end there. Brenda's father is a cartoonist. When she told him the incredible story of the ant, the prayer, and the contact lens, he drew a cartoon of an ant lugging that contact lens with the caption, "Lord, I don't know why You want me. to carry this thing. I can't eat it, and it's awfully heavy. But if this is what You want me to do, I'll carry it for You. "
1 think it would do all of us some good to say, "God, I don't know why You want me to carry this load I can see no good in it and it's awfully heavy. but, if You want me to carry it, 1 will."
God doesn't call the qualified, He qualifies the called.
Yes, I do love GOD. He is my source of existence and my Savior. He keeps me functioning each and every day. Without Him, I am nothing, but with Him....I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Phillipians 4:13)
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Preach Christ Always
And As A Last Resort
St. Francis of Assisi