USA in the Morning

Mr Mike's Musings

Favorite Music to Perform

I’ve been asked time and again what my favorite music is to perform. That’s a tough one because I love so many genres. It also depends on whether its for my class band or the marching band. I like music that is fun and upbeat for the most part. Just because its fun doesn’t mean its easy to play though. However, I find that the kids get more into those songs they enjoy regardless of how difficult they are. I like to find music that involves all pieces of the band too.

My all time favorite however, is Big Band Swing style music, like Glen Miller and Benny Goodman. Swing has a loud jazzy sound with strong rhythm. It began around the 1920’s in America but became a distinctive style of its own by the 1940’s.

My favorite song of all is “Sing, Sing, Sing” by Benny Goodman, a song that was used in the movie “Swing Kids”. In fact, I fell in love with the newer movie version and our marching band had a try at playing it too. They did rather well! Here is the song if you haven’t heard it before:

(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UJG5xJ993rw)

Another favorite of both mine and the band is a version of “Carol of the Bells” by Tansiberian Orchestra. It’s a hard one but the kids are loving learning this one. We had to adjust a few things like swapping the electric guitar with an electronic keyboard for example. We are hoping to be able to play it for the Christmas Concert this year.

(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sCabI3MdV9g)

For the required classical piece we had to have the kids learn, our favorite is Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, especially the canon fire towards the end. One year we were actually able to set up a few fake canons and add in some canon fire sound with the bigger drums. I think what makes this one so popular is that it starts out slowly and keeps working its way up to that rousing sound at the end.

I’ve noticed a new trend over the past couple of years in what my students ask to learn, which has been several pieces off of video games like World of Warcraft and Skyrim. For Skyrim it’s a tune called Dragonborn they requested the most. We even got together with our school’s vocal group on this one.

(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CMfx3MT8ge0&list=PL71A09829F786ECB3)

For World of Warcraft they chose Darkmoon Faire, which is a jaunty little medieval sounding tune that lets all of the different sections of the band join in.

(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uH-SpD4GEq8&list=PL7838EAB5C4B8EBC8&index=23)

Our list of favorites is always changing though as new movies, games and ideas come to us. We like to take old songs and give them a new twist from time to time too. It’s all about being creative for myself and my band kids, and our favorite songs to perform are the ones that have feeling to them. Its the passion behind the songs that make them fun to play in the end.

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