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Sight Reading Pages: My quest to help students learn to read music

I've recently updated my music education section with sight reading exercises for Violin.  I use these pretty regularly with students who are on the point of being able to read notes to start them out with some very short and simple things to play to help them read lots of the same notes over and over again. These pages, in conjunction with the All for Strings books by Gerald Anderson and Robert Frost, have been a great way to help beginning students with their note reading skills.

They're still a work in progress, and the eventual goal will be to get them to the point where they can be stuck in a book for beginning students to use as daily warm-ups for note reading.  The pdf's on this sight are still in their early stages and need some refinement, but you can feel free to use them as you wish.  All of these resources will eventually also be made for use with Viola and Cello in the near future.  Here is the Link:  Educational Resources for Violin

The organization so far g…

Bach to Rock Violin Method Book Finished

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After getting a bit of time to finish up a long term project I've been working on, I was able to complete work on a method book for violin.  This first edition still needs some tweaking, but it is now loaded up on Lulu.com for printing.

Here is the link:



After a few crazy months getting things situated to move, there will be some new updates with projects that I've put together at 5-7am before my little boy is awake.  Some things to look forward to:  a new arrangement of "Come Follow Me" for violin and children's choir with piano accompaniment, some new small compositions, some updates in the education section with thoughts and with new free resources, and more.

Soundtrack Practice: Bi-Monthly Attempts at Weekly Warm-ups

Hey Everyone!

Hoping to get back into the weekly warm-up routine now that some things have settled down a bit.  Tommy's playing more by himself, I'm working a little less and have a bit more free time, and so I hope to get back to doing some more composing soon.  My first attempt at getting back into it was finishing this soundtrack practice.  This was originally intended for a video on YouTube.  I e-mailed the author to see if I could have the soundtrack be used for his video.  I never heard back, but kept working on it because it was still good practice.  I may create my own video now that will fit with the music but we shall see on that.  Here it is:



Some more things to come soon:
-A new hymn arrangement:  "Come Follow Me"
-More warm-up updates
-A new approach to composing which will hopefully yield at least one movement of a Symphony
-A small method book for violin that should be available for purchase through the Piano Gallery in Idaho Falls

Hope to send more up…

Weekly Warm-Up: "Pentatone" and Minimalism

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As a fun experiment, a decided to take a shot at some minimalism as a weekly warm-up.  Minimalism is where you take a few basic elements and develop art from them.  The idea is simplicity, although sometimes the results can be quite complicated in sound and appearance.  For example, here is a minimalist painting on the right.  It takes a shape and colors to form a painting.  the result is quite beautiful.

Composers can do the same thing in music.  An example is Steve Reich's clapping music:



The composer takes a rhythm and has people clapping it.  One group then shifts the notes.  This creates an amazing effect that sounds new and fresh even though it is the same rhythm again and again.

Another famous minimilist composer is Phillip Glass who wrote the music for "The Truman Show" and "The Illusionist" among others.  Again, he uses some simple ideas to create pretty neat music.

I tried my hand at this style of composition and came up with this:

Pentatone


This piece…

Perfectionism in Composition: The Ultimate Goal Creating Impassable Roadblocks

I am very much a perfectionist, and this comes out in almost everything I do.  From the simplest tasks at work to my artistic endeavors, I strive to make everything the best I can.  But where do we as artists draw the line between a healthy goal of achieving beauty (and even potentially a masterpiece) and the inhibiting and self-destructive pursuit of perfection?

Striving to write beautiful and powerful music has been my goal since I started composing many years ago.  However, I've recently realized that my own perfectionist nature has made me freeze up when dealing with the compositions I've been striving to write.  I currently have around 15 or more unfinished projects in various stages of development.  Each one was started with enthusiasm but has since become stagnant, and the main reason behind this is the desire to get everything "right" on it.

I pondered about this the other night while driving home.  I was listening to a piece on the radio and was criticizing …