Calling All Xylophonists

2 Marimbas

Keeping ensembles going during the last few months of isolation has been difficult and in some cases impossible. The meeting apps are passable for discussions now that most people has learnt the etiquette of multiscreen meeting but for ensembles they are nowhere near ready. I have tried collaboration using the shared recording app Bandlab which was good for the band members that dabble with technology and impossible to fathom for others. In the end I made a backing track, sent each band member their part and the track and asked them to record it and return it. A few hours of matching and mixing in the studio and the track was ready to return for a listen. Hours and hours more in the studio and the track was ready to broadcast. To see the first attempt at this plus fun with video visit Dr. Pete’s Salsa Band page on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/DrPetesSalsa/ from Friday 19th June.

Xylophilharmonic

The next project is bigger and better than the last and features the xylophone. At least eight xylophones in the score, although some marimbas are allowed as well, and the final work could easily include more parts depending on demand. Added to the eight xylophone parts are also timpani, snare drum, bass drum, clash cymbals and a one player percussion vibra-slap, maracas and triangle parts.

All I need now are the players to record it. The instruments needed are one and a half octave junior instruments (2 parts) in the key of Eb, 3 octave C to C (2 parts), 3 and a fifth octave F to C (2 parts) and 4 octave C to C (could be marimba).

I am looking at an initial deadline of 1st July 2020 to get the recordings to me in whatever format possible, from the phone as a voice memo, video or proper recording using studio techniques, any method the easiest way possible for you. If enough people are happy to be filmed then the miming to the finished track can be organised later.

Contact

To be part of this project please email drpetescomposition@gmail.com and I will attach all 13 parts to Xylophilharmonic with the backing track in Mp3 format for xylophonists to choose the most suitable part. This is a two week project to get the music together and hope you can be involved.

Any questions please don’t hesitate to ask and if you know of someone who would like to get involved then please pass the information/music on.

(c) P R Birkby 2020

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2020 Parlour Music

With music students in the UK not able to work in bands and ensembles due to social distancing and closed venues it seemed the right time to compose music for the home ensemble. Not a return to the Victorian parlour music of piano and voice but all drum and rhythm orientated with accompanying instruments.

Part of the tambourine family

Just right for the lapsed brass, guitar or keyboard player to dust off the instrument and join the drummer in the family as they play on the practise pad (book, pan, chair…) or drum kit if they are lucky.

Three books of original material now published at https://payhip.com/prbpnews

For drums and guitar (including TAB): https://payhip.com/b/384L

For drums and brass: https://payhip.com/b/z2C5

For drums and keyboard: https://payhip.com/b/FLMB

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Coordinate those hands and feet

A series of exercises for musicians. Especially useful to percussionists and drummers and those instrumentalists that tap their foot in time to the music.

Warmups

A series of exercises devised with the aim of consolidating rhythmic awareness: how certain rhythms relate to others, how to divide the beat into equal parts and how to develop the coordination between hands and feet.

YouTube tutorials available for:

Warm-up 1                https://youtu.be/13V7xQuNW1k

Warm-up 2                https://youtu.be/ggssbME-o4c

Warm-up 3 (Linear) https://youtu.be/FcllfcgCsgM

Warm-up 5                https://youtu.be/HpVD_hHcgh4

Download the written material from my sheet music shop Payhip.com/prbpnews:

Warm-ups 1, 2, 3 & 5                      https://payhip.com/b/VgcN

Enjoy

© P.R.Birkby 2020

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When Blog Turns To Vlog

0 Opening title

What once was a gentle pastime of thinking about a subject then writing five hundred words about it and posting with some appropriate images has become much more technical.  In these times of isolation on-line videos are now expected as well as on-line meetings and teaching on-line lessons.

Unfortunately the technology, and especially the broadband speed in many parts of the UK, are not quite up to the task in hand.  Teachers and pupils are having to adapt to time lags, delays and the fact that the person on the other end may at least freeze or at most disappear at a moment’s notice.

I have jumped in to this on-line Wild West with my own vlogs, hope it will become a series, all about composing and how to play with sound and become a composer.  The first vlog is on YouTube at https://youtu.be/pFWJGRryy7E

1 1 Sunrise over trees

Please have a look and if you can use it with your students please do. Will I still be isolated and vlogging in six months time? Who can tell, a different set of technology at work to crack that one. I hope all my creative colleagues keep going and get more young people involved.  These are very different times to anything we have experienced and we need to keep reinforcing the importance of the arts and culture to everyone in difficult times.

Keep safe and hope to see you at the end of all this.

(c) P. R. Birkby 2020

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Be Part of the Band

Out gigging at the weekend and saw this picture from http://www.musiciansunite.com that sums up our community Salsa Band very well. Thank you.

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Music Teaching

Always focus on what the student needs without being influenced by external pressures.

The best coaches get their students to believe in themselves. Inspire the students to do more than they think they can.

Mistakes and failures are the most valuable teaching opportunities. Promote experimentation, improvising and the environment to try things out. Feedback on everything that happens and you will both learn.

Never lose the excitement and enjoyment that music can give and pass on your enthusiasm for music to everyone.

(C) P. R. Birkby 0202 2020

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Beware the free online shop, goodbye Sellfy

Four sessions for hand percussion

When you are composing music and consider the self-publishing route beware the shopping with a regular monthly outlay sites unless you are going to be assured of selling 30 or 40 items of music per month. A brief history:

My music has been available online for many years now, I have always used ‘free’ sites to host the PDF downloads although never a shopping site, monthly rental format such as Shopify, as sheet music is never going to be in the blockbuster sales category. The ‘free’ part means there is no charge to host the titles and a percentage of the price is paid when something is sold. This model is great when used for recorded music on the Bandcamp site.

This week I was checking one of the hosts, the one where my music is all priced in dollars, and this was the banner message: Your current plan on Sellfy (Legacy) will be discontinued on Feb 1st, 2020. To keep your store active upgrade now. A pricey monthly fee for a site that has never promoted anything and has only hosted approximately 180MB of data. Bye bye to the time spent on creating the work in the right format for that site and for me goodbye Sellfy as it is not good business to pay for something that will never make a profit, composing is not a vanity project.

From February Payhip is the site for selling the sheet music as downloads, all priced in £s, with a few free musical (mainly percussion) crosswords and word searches. The recording are available at https://urbanskyline.bandcamp.com/ Some are free/pay what you want and others are priced in dollars despite my best efforts to change that into £s.

Thank you to everyone who has supported me in the past and hope to write music for many more of you to enjoy in the future.

Keep performing, composing, listening and having music as part of your life in 2020, best wishes, Peter.

Link to the Bandcamp site for recordings: https://urbanskyline.bandcamp.com

Link to download sheet music: https://payhip.com/prbpnews

© P.R.Birkby 2020

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Make jazz jazzier with a flexatone

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DIY Percussion 2

It is interesting to see from the blog statistics that DIY Percussion is a favourite. With this in mind here are some more DIY Percussion tips.

Never forget, it is all about the sound.

Listen to everything and sometimes you will find a sound that really appeals to you. Some of the instruments made/collected from this ethos are:

Square brass rod, about 1 yard long (a little less than a metre) that contrasts really well with a triangle.

A fire alarm, fired pot rather than metal, collect them before they are all put in the skip sound.

Different short lengths (in pairs) of curtain pole, sort of claves or pitched wooden clicks.

Splash guard (stainless steel) from an industrial kitchen, a great thunder sheet.

Keys, never throw them away, bunch them together to add subtle sparkle to many a track.

Recycle, as the sleigh bells in the picture, put together in different ways to give contrasting sounds.

Merry Christmas and have a new year full of sounds.

(C) P.R.Birkby 2019

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Dozens of Duets for… the drum and percussion titles

Snares

In all the Dozens of Duets series the standard of both parts are similar throughout to give the option of student with student or student with teacher for learning and performance. The standard of the Book 1s is beginner (accessible after a few lessons), Book 2s and 3s have music that is of a similar standard to the first few grade examinations. The landscape layout is screen (tablet or projector) as well as print friendly.

All the downloads are priced at £1.08p which includes the tax element for digital downloads. They are priced at this level because they were conceived and created as downloads. If you would like a printed copy in the post (UK customers only) they are available at £4.50p each, email orders to mailto:prbpnews@btinternet.com

Dozens of Duets For Drums Book 1                    https://payhip.com/b/qHwg 

The first collection of twelve duets for the beginner drummer/percussionist includes examples of some different styles of notation: full stave, single stave, slash, with stems up and stems down to prepare the student for the many different ways that percussion music is presented in scores and parts.  Both parts are at a similar standard for lessons with students in pairs.

The download: A 2.5MB PDF with cover, contents and 12 duets in A4 format.  Eleven of the duets fit on one page (on two separate staves throughout) with the final work being two pages long,

Dozens of Duets For Drums and Percussion Book 2     https://payhip.com/b/gQzR  

Twelve more duets using easy to read rhythms that can be used to explore the instruments found on many percussion trollies.  Rhythms include influences from Cuban, Brazilian, Spanish, military and dance music styles.  Experiment with different instruments in the duets to find if they can all play the same rhythms and listen to the blends of sounds to create interesting textures.

The download: File is a 1.9MB PDF in A4 format and includes cover and contents pages and all the duets. Each of the duets fit on one page (on two separate staves throughout).

Dozens of Duets For Drums Book 3                    https://payhip.com/b/vBrJ

Composed for two snare drums or snare drum with tom tom the twelve duets introduce some pop and Latin styles of music as well as music from a more orchestral tradition.  The music has been edited to include a number of styles of notation to prepare the student for the different ways that percussion music is presented in sheet music.

The download: File is a 2MB PDF and for printing the book is 23 pages in A4 landscape format, the final seven duets are two pages long starting on an even page number.

Dozens of Duets for Timpani and Drum Book 1            https://payhip.com/b/to6X

The collection contains twelve pieces for the beginner timpanist with a drum accompaniment line.  All works in this collection can be performed on two timpani (no pedals) with the drum part for snare or hand drum.  The A Little Action duet on page 8 uses snare drum and tom tom together.  The standard of both parts are similar throughout to give the option of student with student or student with teacher for learning and performance.

The download: A 1.7MB PDF with cover, contents and 12 duets in A4 landscape format.  Each of the duets fit on one page (on two separate staves throughout).

Dozens of Duets for Keyboard Percussion Book 1      https://payhip.com/b/sSkd

Twelve duets for the beginner keyboard percussionist with both parts at a similar standard.  All works in this collection can be performed within two octaves, C to C, and part 2 can fit on standard tubular bells (chimes), C to F.  The duets can be performed on two of the same instruments or any mix of percussion keyboards and if the instrument has 4+ octaves the same instrument.

The download: A 3MB PDF with cover, contents and 12 duets in A4 format.  Each of the duets fit on one page (on two separate staves throughout).

Dozens of Duets for Keyboard Percussion Book 2      https://payhip.com/b/T4Fk

The second collection of twelve duets for the beginner keyboard percussionist includes examples of contemporary, latin, pop and classical music styles with both parts at a similar standard.  The duets can be performed on two of the same instrument: glockenspiel, xylophone, vibraphone and/or marimba or any two from the list and if the instrument has 4+ octaves the same instrument.

The download: A 5MB PDF with cover, contents and 12 duets in A4 format.  Each of the duets fit on one page (on two separate staves throughout).

Dozens of Duets for Keyboard Percussion Book 3      https://payhip.com/b/GVrU

The third collection of twelve duets for the beginner keyboard percussionist includes examples of classical, pop, game and contemporary music styles with both parts at a similar standard.  The duets can be performed on two of the same instrument: glockenspiel, xylophone, vibraphone and/or marimba or any two from the list.

The download: A 4.6MB PDF with cover, contents and 12 duets in A4 format.  Each of the duets fit on one page (on two separate staves throughout).

Enjoy the music, best wishes

Peter

(c) P.R.Birkby 2019

 

 

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