A Sneak-Peek Inside My New Book of Hymn Arrangements for Violin & Piano!

God of the Ages Hymn Arrangements for Violin by Lacie Bowman MusicORDER HERE

I am SO excited about my new book of hymn & psalm arrangements for violin and piano! I’ve worked on this book a long time, and it feels so fabulous to hold it in my hands.

f i n a l l y.

Here’s a little sneak-peek into the book!

God of the Ages Hymn Arrangements for Violin by Lacie Bowman MusicGod of the Ages Hymn Arrangements for Violin by Lacie Bowman Music

Choosing which hymns and psalms to arrange for this book was one of the funnest and hardest parts of the project. Fun because I love so many hymns and psalms, and hard because I love too many. Way too many.

But I had to narrow it down, so for this volume I chose the following melodies:

Be Thou My Vision
Come Thou Long Expected Jesus
Day by Day
Faith of Our Fathers
God of the Ages
Holy, Holy, Holy
Not What My Hands Have Done
Psalm 1
Psalm 71
Psalm 121
Take My Life and Let it Be
The Church’s One Foundation
There is a Fountain Filled With Blood
When I Survey the Wondrous Cross

These arrangements are designed to cultivate the young violinist’s technique and skill and are ordered in a progressive level of difficulty, starting with simple melodies and gradually introducing more complex rhythms, longer arrangements, and harmony in the violin part with the pianist carrying the melody.

I wrote these arrangements for the young violinist’s level, but they are also ideal for more advanced students who love to improvise.

The piano accompaniment parts are written at an intermediate level and are simple enough for the average pianist to learn without a fuss, but full enough to carry the violinist with the flow of a more advanced work.

God of the Ages Hymn Arrangements for Violin by Lacie Bowman MusicGod of the Ages Hymn Arrangements for Violin by Lacie Bowman MusicGod of the Ages Hymn Arrangements for Violin by Lacie Bowman MusicGod of the Ages Hymn Arrangements for Violin by Lacie Bowman Music

The Music Glossary at the back of the book provides simple definitions of the concepts found in the arrangements and can be used by students to learn and review new musical terms, symbols, and concepts while they are working on their pieces.

God of the Ages Hymn Arrangements for Violin by Lacie Bowman Music

The Teacher’s Guide contains a piece-by-piece outline of the skills found in each arrangement. New techniques and musical concepts are introduced progressively throughout the book, and this brief overview is meant to help teachers guide their young violinist through any potentially challenging skills new pieces may present.

God of the Ages Hymn Arrangements for Violin by Lacie Bowman MusicGod of the Ages Hymn Arrangements for Violin by Lacie Bowman Music – 

When I was 11 years old and learning violin, I desperately wanted a book of hymn arrangements to play, but there were none. That’s what made me write this one. I wanted a resource that families, siblings, friends, and churches could use and enjoy for a variety of settings and occasions – recitals, weddings, church, parties, sing-a-longs, and even just around the house.

So SHARE IT with all of your friends! (And don’t forget to order your own copy!!!!!)

God of the Ages Hymn Arrangements for Violin by Lacie Bowman Music

Click Here to Order.

The Story of the Incredible Orchestra: A Pictorial Review

#Review of The Story of the Incredible Orchestra | The #Music Blog, www.sfzmusicblog.com.  #kids #orchestra #reading #stories

Title:  The Story of the Incredible Orchestra
Author:  Bruce Koscielniak
Pages:  33
Reading Level:  Child – Young Adult
Audience:  Music Students, Families
Stars:  ★★★★★

I have been looking for a good children’s resource about the orchestra, but after hunting around for a couple of years, the stuff I was coming up with just was’t that impressive.  Shallow.  Goofy.  Boring.

Then a friend recommended this title, and well…  search over.

The content of The Incrdible Story of the Orchestra focuses in two main topics:

    1. The origin of the modern orchestra and its development.
    2. The history of each instrument in the modern orchestra.

At the beginning of the book, the author takes us all the way back to the Middle Ages – an era before the symphony existed – to teach us about the medieval instruments and ensembles that set the stage for the symphony as we know it today.

After that, the author traces the histories of the main instrument families and gives a layman’s explanation of how each instrument works…  along with lots of illustrations!

All of this is sprinkled throughout a pleasant overview of the four prominent musical periods that have developed since the orchestra’s birth. He even takes the last few pages to introduce jazz and the modern use of synthetics…  all in good taste.

It’s great!

But the content isn’t just great… it’s appealing.  And that is key.  The material is well-organized and interesting, and every page has colorful illustrations.

Stylistically, the artwork is unique.  It looks like an unlikely combination of hand sketches and watercolor paintings.  It is a tad busy, but the colors are soft, which keeps it from being overwhelming.  (FYI: The colors in these pictures came out a bit brighter than the colors in the book.)

 

#Review of The Story of the Incredible Orchestra | The #Music Blog, www.sfzmusicblog.com.  #kids #orchestra #reading #stories

#Review of The Story of the Incredible Orchestra | The #Music Blog, www.sfzmusicblog.com.  #kids #orchestra #reading #stories#Review of The Story of the Incredible Orchestra | The #Music Blog, www.sfzmusicblog.com.  #kids #orchestra #reading #stories

#Review of The Story of the Incredible Orchestra | The #Music Blog, www.sfzmusicblog.com. #kids #orchestra #reading #stories#Review of The Story of the Incredible Orchestra | The #Music Blog, www.sfzmusicblog.com.  #kids #orchestra #reading #stories

#Review of The Story of the Incredible Orchestra | The #Music Blog, www.sfzmusicblog.com.  #kids #orchestra #reading #stories

#Review of The Story of the Incredible Orchestra | The #Music Blog, www.sfzmusicblog.com.  #kids #orchestra #reading #stories

#Review of The Story of the Incredible Orchestra | The #Music Blog, www.sfzmusicblog.com.  #kids #orchestra #reading #stories

#Review of The Story of the Incredible Orchestra | The #Music Blog, www.sfzmusicblog.com.  #kids #orchestra #reading #stories

#Review of The Story of the Incredible Orchestra | The #Music Blog, www.sfzmusicblog.com.  #kids #orchestra #reading #stories

#Review of The Story of the Incredible Orchestra | The #Music Blog, www.sfzmusicblog.com.  #kids #orchestra #reading #stories

 

Concerns

I didn’t have any concerns with this book – the information was accurate, and there was no inappropriate content.

Summary

Studio library, family library, personal library, music classroom…  Go ahead and get it!  It’s great for every occasion.

You can get your copy on amazon HERE.

#Review of The Story of the Incredible Orchestra | The #Music Blog, www.sfzmusicblog.com.  #kids #activities #orchestra #reading

 –

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Robert Schumann & Mascot Ziff: Biography Review

 

Robert Schumann & Mascot Ziff | #Composer #Biography #Review on The Music Blog.  www.sfzMusicBlog.com  #music #schumann #composers #books #classicalmusic

 

Title:  Robert Schumann & Mascot Ziff
Author:  Opal Wheeler
Pages:  167
Reading Level:  Child – Young Adult
Audience:  Music Students, Music Teachers, Families
Stars:  ★★★★★

 

If I had to pick one work to describe this book, it would be adorable.  I love it!

First of all, it’s a fantastic overview of Schumann’s life.  Second of all, it’s just plain charming.  The book starts with the lad Robert and the many adventures he had with his faithful kitten, Ziff, at his heels.  The story continues through his musical career and into his happy life as a husband and father.  His family life – both as a boy and as a married man – was delightful, and this book highlights the sweetness of those relationships beautifully.

The illustrations are darling.  The biographies from Opal Wheeler’s Great Musicians Series are illustrated by various artists, but this one is my favorite.   They are black and white, but they’re very tastefully done – simple, sweet, and charming.  The work of this particular illustrator reminds me of old-fashioned Christmas Card artwork.  Love it.

Robert Schumann & Mascot Ziff | #Composer #Biography #Review on The Music Blog.  www.sfzMusicBlog.com  #music #schumann #composers #books #classicalmusic

Robert Schumann & Mascot Ziff | #Composer #Biography #Review on The Music Blog.  www.sfzMusicBlog.com  #music #schumann #composers #books #classicalmusic

Robert Schumann & Mascot Ziff | #Composer #Biography #Review on The Music Blog.  www.sfzMusicBlog.com  #music #schumann #composers #books #classicalmusic

Robert Schumann & Mascot Ziff | #Composer #Biography #Review on The Music Blog.  www.sfzMusicBlog.com  #music #schumann #composers #books #classicalmusic

And then there is the wonderful sheet music scattered throughout the book. Schumann wrote piles of music for his little ones, and thousands of boys and girls around the world have benefited from them.  Many of his pieces from Album for the Young are included, as well as snippets from his Sonata in G and others.

Even if no one in your house can play the music yet, try following along as you listen to recordings of the pieces. It’s a great way to acquaint yourself with the composer’s style and learn to recognize his compositions.

 

Robert Schumann & Mascot Ziff | #Composer #Biography #Review on The Music Blog.  www.sfzMusicBlog.com  #music #schumann #composers #books #classicalmusic

Robert Schumann & Mascot Ziff | #Composer #Biography #Review on The Music Blog.  www.sfzMusicBlog.com  #music #schumann #composers #books #classicalmusic

Robert Schumann & Mascot Ziff | #Composer #Biography #Review on The Music Blog.  www.sfzMusicBlog.com  #music #schumann #composers #books #classicalmusic

Robert Schumann & Mascot Ziff | #Composer #Biography #Review on The Music Blog.  www.sfzMusicBlog.com  #music #schumann #composers #books #classicalmusic

The writing style is interesting, quick-paced, and in story format, with a pleasant level of maturity.  It’s a great resource for little readers and would also be a fun family read aloud.

You can take advantage of the study guide (separate purchase) for the book, if you’d like to incorporate discussion points and quizzes into your group reading time.

 

Robert Schumann & Mascot Ziff | #Composer #Biography #Review on The Music Blog.  www.sfzMusicBlog.com  #music #schumann #composers #books #classicalmusic

Robert Schumann & Mascot Ziff | #Composer #Biography #Review on The Music Blog.  www.sfzMusicBlog.com  #music #schumann #composers #books #classicalmusic

Robert Schumann & Mascot Ziff | #Composer #Biography #Review on The Music Blog.  www.sfzMusicBlog.com  #music #schumann #composers #books #classicalmusic

 

Critiques & Cautions 

There are no inappropriate details in the book, but here are a few FYI cautions for parents to be aware of:

– Robert lies to a piano salesman in order to gain access to his pianos for a practice session.  It’s not portrayed as wrong – only as a little joke  p. 46
– Robert says that his music cannot be bound by rules.  p. 72
– Robert says that the fairies have blessed his little baby…  Which, of course, is absolutely ridiculous. p. 92

 

schumann.2In Summary  

This little biography is a fantastic overview of Schumann’s life and is definitely worth adding to your music library.

Music Teachers & Parents, it’s a great resource to spice up your student’s music history studies and would make great reading assignment for a composer of the month project!

You can buy it from Amazon HERE.

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Great Composers Coloring Book: Review

 

Great Composers Coloring Review & Preview.  Lots of pictures inside!  www.sfzMusicBlog.com  #classicalmusic #classicalcomposers #classical #music #teaching #resources– 

Title:            Great Composers Coloring Book
Author:        John Green, Paul Negri
Pages:         30
Audience:   Students & Families – 8 & up
Stars:           ★★★★


A coloring book of the composers – what a fun way to add a splash of color to your children’s music history!

Okay, that was a tad cheesy.  Moving on.

I really like this coloring book.  The illustrations are artistic and classic – no goofy cartoons, no impressionism, no unrecognizable modern art.  Personal taste aside, I think that’s particularly important when dealing with historical characters because it helps the individuals become “real” for children in a way a cartoonized character (or an unrecognizable modern glob) can’t quite pull off.

 

Haydn & Mozart in the Great Composers Coloring Book | Review on The Music Blog

 

This coloring book includes a good variety of composers from the Baroque to modern periods:  Bach, Beethoven, Berlioz, Brahms, Chopin, Copland, Debussy, Dvorak, Gershwin, Grieg, Handel, Haydn, Joplin, Liszt, Mahler, Fanny & Felix Mendelssohn, Mozart, Prokofiev, Puccini, Ravel, Rossini, Schoenberg, Schubert, Robert & Clara Schumann, Shostakovich, Sibelius, Stravinsky, Tchaikovsky, Verdi, Vivaldi, & Wagner. The composers are featured in the order they were born.

 

Verdi in the Great Composers Coloring Book | Review on The Music Blog

Violinist in the Great Composers Coloring Book | Review on The Music Blog

 

Another thing I really like about this book is that each coloring page has a short description of the composer under his illustration.  This helps children can get to know the composer a bit while becoming acquainted with his face.  The descriptions are concise — 50-70 words each — and do a great job sharing the most important aspects of the composers’ lives and work, along with a few fun music history tidbits to boot.  Here are a few samples of the descriptions:

SCHUMANN | Robert Schumann was born the same year as Chopin, and he also wrote some of the finest piano music of the Romantic period, as well as symphonies, chamber music and songs.  He was born in Germany and spent his life there.  He was an important music critic and helped many young composers.  His wife, Clara Schumann (1819-1896) was one of the greatest pianists of the nineteenth century.

ROSSINI | One of the most popular opera composers of all time, Gioacchino Rossini composed dozens of operas, including the famous Barber of Seville.  Born in Italy, Rossini traveled throughout Europe and was enormously successful in his lifetime.  His lively music is full of humor and delights the listener with many beautiful melodies.  One of his best known works is his William Tell Overture.

TCHAIKOVSKY | Among the very greatest of Russian composers, Peter Tchaikovsky wrote symphonies, ballets, operas and other works, including the beloved ballet  The Nutcracker, frequently performed at Christmas time.  In 1891 Tchaikovsky came to New York City and conducted at the official opening of Carnegie Hall.

STRAVINSKY | The Russian composer Igor Stravinsky is considered to be among the most important composers of the twentieth century.  His music was so different from anything before it that at the 1913 premiere of his ballet The Rite of Spring in Paris, riots broke out in the audience.  In 1917, Stravinsky met the great artist Picasso, who made a famous sketch of him.

One thing to keep in mind:  the illustrations are quite detailed for a coloring book. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, it does mean that the coloring book will be most appropriate for older children who can handle the fine lines and small coloring spaces.  I would recommend it for approximately ages 8 and up.

 

Beethoven in the Great Composers Coloring Book | Review on The Music Blog

 Schumann & Schoenberg in the Great Composers Coloring Book | Review on The Music Blog

Ravel in the Great Composers Coloring Book | Review on The Music Blog

Concerns


CHOPIN | Chopin’s description mentions that he lived with George Sands, and the picture is of him & Sands together at the piano.  Neither the description or picture is graphic, but since their relationship was inappropriate, you will want to know it is there.  Here is the description, along with the picture, for you to review:Chopin in the Great Composers Coloring Book | Review on The Music Blog

“Frederic Chopin has been called “the soul of the piano,” and he composed some of the finest music ever written for that instrument.  He was born near Warsaw, Poland, but moved to Paris where he spent most of his life and career.  Regarded as a great composer of the Romantic Period, he lived with the famous writer George Sand (shown here; she was born Aurore Dupin).  His Polonaise in A-flat Major, called “Heroic,” is one of the most famous piano works ever written.”

Younger children probably won’t catch anything strange from the picture or description, since neither is explicit, but you may need to discuss the issue with older, more discerning children.  Or, if you prefer, you can just tear out the page.

JOPLIN | Joplin’s description mentions that he played in social clubs.  True, social clubs of Joplin’s time weren’t anything like today’s, and hopefully your kids don’t even know what “social clubs” are anyway, but still…  just an FYI.

RAVEL | Ravel’s description mentions that he and his friends had “wild ideas on art and culture.”  I don’t think “wild” is the best word to describe Ravel’s ideas (Impressionism), but that’s how they chose to present it.  Just another FYI.

 

Tchaikovsky & Dvorak in the Great Composers Coloring Book | Review on The Music Blog

Conclusion

I think you’ll love it! Try talking about the composers or listening to their music while coloring with your children!  Have fun!

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Beethoven & The Chiming Tower Bells: Children’s Biography Review

 

Review of Children's Beethoven Biography by Opal Wheeler on The Music Blog Title:          Beethoven & the Chiming Tower Bells
Author:      Opal Wheeler
Pages:       168
Reading Level: Child – Young Adult
Audience:  Students, Teachers, Families
Stars:         ★★★★

 

This little biography is a great overview of Beethoven’s life. The book starts with Beethoven’s childhood and continues through his musical career, highlighting the major successes and disappointments he experienced as he worked.

The style is interesting, quick-paced, and in story format, though by no means immature.  It’s a great resource for little readers and would be a fun family read-aloud, too!  You can also purchase a study guide for the book, if you’d like to incorporate discussion points and quizzes into the book.

One NEAT feature of this series is the sheet music scattered throughout the story. Even if no one in your house can play the music yet, try following along as you listen to recordings of the pieces. It’s a great way to acquaint yourself with the composer’s compositions! In this volume, you’ll find excerpts of Beethoven’s sonatinas & sonatas, ecossaises, rondos, minuets, scherzos, and programmatic music.

The illustrations are sweet & simple.  They are black and white, but I find them very tastefully done.

[box style=”white” ]Ludwig Beethoven & the Chiming Tower Bells is from the Great Musicians Series.[/box] 

Critiques

I have one main critique of this book and the other books in the series:  In an attempt to keep things cheerful the author sometimes misrepresents negative elements of the composers’ lives and character so they don’t seem as bad as they really were.  There are two main examples of this in the Beethoven biography.

1.  Beethoven’s father was an abusive alcoholic, but the only portrayal we are given of him in this book is that he was a kind, affectionate father – taking young Ludwig on his knee, praising him for his accomplishments at the piano, etc.  Consequences of his irresponsibility are mentioned in the book (family having little food, having to sell household items so they didn’t starve, etc.) but only in the context that he was unable to make much money.  Nothing is mentioned of him being a drunkard, and so we are left with the impression that he was a loving father who just couldn’t find a good job.

2. Those that knew Beethoven tell us that he was proud, impatient, and struggled with outbursts of anger.   Here, we are given the impression that he was actually gentle and humble…  Quite the opposite!  I’m sure he had his sweet moments, but if those are to be mentioned it needs to be clarified that it wasn’t the norm.

I appreciate the author’s discretion in dealing with mature issues, and I am definitely not advocating that inappropriate detail should be included in the books – only that inaccuracies should be avoided.  It is better not to mention a topic than to slant facts so the reader will receive a more positive impression of the story than is accurate.  

There are no inappropriate details to address, but here are a few smaller items for parents to be aware of:

– Luck / Fortune is referenced in a number of places.  p. 33,46, 64
– It comments that Beethoven “just wanted to be alone” as a boy without clarifying that he was avoiding his abusive father.  As a result, the reader might get the idea that he didn’t like being around his family.  p. 19
– It is mentioned that Beethoven didn’t care about rules, he just wanted to follow the music as it sounded in his mind.  p. 95

WITH THAT IN MIND…  Let me be clear that despite the above critiques, I still loved the book.  It’s the best Beethoven kid’s biography I’ve read so far, and I definitely recommend it!

 

Ludwig van BeethovenIn Summary  

Music Teachers & Parents, it’s a great resource to spice up your student’s study of music history and would make great reading assignment – especially if you do a composer of the month!  Definitely worth adding to your music library.

You can buy it from Amazon HERE.

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New Shipment of Books!

 

I just got a new shipment of music books in the mail!  I’m super excited to get to reading and reviewing this stack of books for The Music Blog.

Here are the titles…  Have you read any of these?  Thoughts?

 

New Shipment of Music Books | The Music Blog

 

For Teachers

The Independent Piano Teacher’s Studio Handbook 450 textbook-size pages full of tips for establishing a professional private studio.  The subtitle is “Everything You Need to Know for a Successful Teaching Studio”, and it looks like it’s going to live up to that claim.  Looking forward to going through this one!

That’s a Good Question: How to Teach by Asking Questions.   I’ve found that asking questions is one of the most productive ways to help my students take more initiative in evaluating their music.  I was excited to find a book that develops this idea.

For Students / Musicians

The Perfect Wrong Note: Learning to Trust Your Musical Self.  This one was recommended to my by a fellow music teacher and friend [who also happens to be my sister-in-law].  Looks absolutely fantastic.  Thanks, Lily!

Piano Playing with Piano Questions Answered.  Written by renowned concert pianist, Josef Hofmann.  The first half of the book discusses technique and style. The last half is a lengthy Q&A section on all things piano.  There should be some great insight here.

Singing & Making Music: Issues in Church Music Today.  There are a lot of opinions out there about music in the Church.  This author seems to address the topic without sinking to emotional, ad hominem arguments.  I hope it’s as good as it looks!

For Children

The Story of the Incredible Orchestra.  I’ve been looking for a good book for children on the orchestra, and it looks like I may have found it!  Recommended to me by a friend and fellow music teacher – thanks, Hannah!

Robert Schumann & Mascot Ziff.  From the Great Musicians Series by Opal Wheeler.

Ludwig Beethoven & the Chiming Tower Bells.  Also from the Great Musicians Series.

Meet the Great Composers: Book 1.  An anthology of mini-bios and musical activities about the great composers.  Fun!

Famous Composers & Their Music: Book 2.  Another anthology of mini-bios and musical activities about the great composers.  More fun.  ;)

Great Composers Coloring Book 

I’m going to go get busy reading.

Have any other great books you think I should get that aren’t already here or on the Music Resources pages?  Please tell me!  I love recommendations.  :)