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Organizing your Music in a Notebook

Updated May 9, 2019
(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 (Most important reason!)
  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. You will not be able to determine when to play the very first beat, so come in on the next measure.
  4. If it goes by too quickly, see the next bullet
  5. 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)
  6. You can also slow down YouTube by clicking the gear and adjusting the percentage. You don't have the minute control of the speed, but it is better than nothing!

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 successfully 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. (See bullet #5 above)


SUMMER BAND SESSION Fall is below (these will open in a new tab in your browser)

  • Association: This will bring back memories for many of us!! Go download the original recordings for an extra nostalgic rerun! Fun! The link is not a complete recording, but a "sample". I found one pretty good YouTube version - it is still a live recording, so you will hear some mistakes (like the early entrance of the trumpet near the beginning...) so, don't take it as "correct" if you hear something different than you see in the music.
  • American Folk Song Celebration - no Soundfile. (Shall we make one this summer??)
    BE SURE YOU HAVE THE NEW VERSION, which says, "Printed May 1, 2019" in the upper right corner in tiny letters!
  • Take Me Out to the Ball Game: An easy, but tight and well crafted arrangement, but we will be playing it "in 1", so pick up the tempo as you practice! (Link takes you to a website - click on "listen"
  • GenGreene: A nice easy piece for us to put together, with a wonderful melodic line! One of my favorite of the easy marches!
  • Canyon - A classic American Orchestral piece; definitely find the original (orchestral version) and purchase & listen to it! This arrangement is themes from a few of the sections. And here is a link to the YouTube performance of this arrangement by the Concord (Massachusetts) Band (a very fine band in the area!). It is fun to watch the timpanist and the other musicians playing.
  • Swshsbuck - A great march! Fun to listen to and fun to play! Brush up on your syncopation and remember to keep the dotted eighth/sixteenths very jaunty! The two notes take up one beat and the sixteenth note is a very quick pickup to the next beat.
  • Dragoon - The difficulty in this piece is your ear anticipating where the time changes are. The piece was written down by Percy Grainger (Irish Tune from County Derry) as he listened to someone sing it. Being a somewhat sad song, and the singer, singing alone with no accompaniment, took liberties with the rhythms, sometimes holding a note out extra long, sometimes shorter (remember how that worked in the version we did of Horkstow Grange, also collected by Grainger?). In order to get that feeling, this piece has changing time signatures. For now, just listen to the piece and try to get it into your soul. As you start playing it, keep listening a lot and soon you will hear those odd phrases.
  • Rivers - A lovely piece as the river flows, separates and returns together.
  • WestSide this is a link to the demo of our version. (The "beeps" are so that people won't rip it off without paying the musicians just to enjoy listening to - who wants pleasure listening with beeps?!)
  • ApplachAM - Just gorgeous. Listen and imagine playing in the middle of this wonderful piece of music. Hey, and it is a quiet, lush, emotive piece, but nobody has died!!
  • Whalemen - a fun pair of Irish tunes. Watch out for the dotted eighth/sixteenth and keep that sixteenth note crisp and tight to the following note. Exaggerate the dynamnics.
  • GodBlessAm - This is the recording of the performance from our Dec. 2018 concert. Make sure you have the cut and changes!!


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

  • OKLAHOMA! 75th anniversary of the musical's opening. We will share in that. The arrangement is too old to have a soundfile (1982), but I love this arrangement! Here is a YouTube version that is pretty good. Sound isn't good, but the playing is (listen to those FortePianos!) Always remember that tempos will vary from whatever version you listen to!
  • GentlyTouch - so quiet, peaceful and beautiful... Get every dynamnic, articulations, nuance and make it gorgeous!!!
  • Lexington - nothing like a circus march! Not a "screamer", but a carousel march!
  • SymphFantast - Three sections from the 5 movement classic orchestral piece. Our challenger.
  • CottonJoe - DEFINITELY put this in the SlowDowner to listen to and practice with! We will be doing it in 4 (at least for starters). Put on your dancin' shoes! Here it is at 3/4 of the tempo.



SWING BAND (these will open in a new tab in your browser) TO BE POSTED IN THE FALL



  • Music for FALL to be posted soon.



Here is a document with comments, changes, corrections, cautions for each piece

  • 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!
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Barnum & Bailey's Favorite - a great circus march and a great arrangement! This is an external link, so you can not use it with the Amazing Slow Downer app. We will probably take it a bit faster than this.
  • GenGreene: A nice easy piece for us to put together, with a wonderful melodic line! One of my favorite of the easy marches!
  • Gershwin - this is a recording of our rehearsal July 2012
  • GodBlessAm - This is the recording of the performance from our Dec. 2018 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).
  • GreatEscape - From the movie of the same name. No demo recording available, so the link takes you to a YouTube version of the same arrangement
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • KindGentle - what a piece... wow. Here is the demo version.
  • King of Rock & Roll (Elvis) - Here is a pretty good YouTube performance (ending a bit messy, so make sure YOU understand how it is supposed to go so we don't have that problem! BUT, I like the trumpet squeal up to the stratusphere if anyone wants to try that!)
  • 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!"
  • On the Trail (no sound file available yet)
  • PatrioticFest - nice arrangement and not very difficult. We will have the audience sing along.
  • Phantom Regiment -This is an excellent recent performance of the arrangement we are working on — with one exception.  We have added four measures at the beginning and six measures at the end (at 47) and put in the trumpet fanfare, so when you are listening to this recording and watching your music, you need to count 4 fewer measures of rest if you have rests at the beginning, or skip the repeat if you have a repeat at the beginning.  (If you are a trumpet player, watch your music without the fanfare.)
    Here is an excellent performance of the arrangement for band done by Leroy Anderson himself.  It is different from our arrangement in a couple different ways: it has the trumpet fanfare at the beginning and end, it has triplets in places where our arrangement does not, it has an extra middle section that also includes the trumpet fanfare. . . AND — it is in a different key (a minor third higher than ours).  So, listen to it to understand how the trumpet fanfare works at the beginning and just to enjoy it but don’t try to follow your music or play with it.
  • QuietCourage - Beautiful, touching (although not much dynamic range in this recording)
  • 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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