To my friends in instrumental music education, I hope the end of your school year is going well. When you begin planning for your ensembles next year, I hope that you will consider the following two works during your evaluation process. It is tough to balance the musical developmental needs of your students against the available repertoire. There are plenty of great choices available (from many people I call friends! :)), so I thank you in advance for considering these two works and deeming them worthy to share with your students.
Let Them Soar! (Grade 1.5-2, available from Bandworks). A concert opener for young bands. The message behind the music is a simple one of advocacy: If we continue to provide experiences in the arts to our students, there is no limit to the heights they can reach – Let them soar! While the main melody is stately and uplifting, I am especially enjoy the four-part round towards the middle of the work.
Eyes of the Dragon (Grade 2-2.5, available from FJH Music). I owe one of my students, Ryan, thanks for the inspiration for this work. He suggested the title during a marching band percussion sectional – many months later (after a considerable writing dry-spell) Eyes of the Dragon emerged! It is a programmatic work depicting a battle between a solitary warrior and a threatening dragon. There is a great deal of “frenergy” in between dissonant chords throughout the piece which adds to the dramatic themes that unfold. The percussion battery requires a number of players. It does not have underlying backstory as other monsters I have written about, but I consider the work a bit of a departure from some of the other works I have completed at this level.
Thank you friends and colleagues for your support – the fact that you have included some of my pieces at various points with your students is incredibly humbling. I have a number of projects on the horizon (that no longer rhyme with words like dissertation), I do entertain commission or guest conducting projects. I always welcome followers on Twitter (as long as you can wade through the Star Wars and College FB/BB references) and Facebook. Enjoy your summer, rest up (at least until marching band camp starts!), and I hope to see you all in the near future!