Monday, March 24, 2014

New Recordings Available: 2014

Alfred Publishing recently posted new recordings of this year's new music and, as usual, they're spectacular. The sheet music isn't ready just yet, but you can listen online for free and you can buy each song for just $.99 USD.

This year, all three pieces are written for the beginner end of the spectrum, mostly for intermediate and late beginners.

March of the Wood Elves: The pizzicato pulse and sly melody set up the imagery of rows of tiny soldiers marching across the forest floor. The music builds and breaks into a rustic dance before returning to the regimented, military rhythms and quietly stomping into the distance.
Listen here

Winstride: This is a sunny, optimistic piece that offers beginners some fun counting challenges. The middle section goes into a minor key and includes some call-and-response before returning to the main theme.
Listen here

Zuma Breakers: Named for a popular Southern California surf spot, this piece is a rollicking tribute to the surf rock scene of the 1960's and artists like Dick Dale, The Ventures, and Jan and Dean. Everyone gets a shot at the fun melodies and this piece would make the perfect encore at your next concert!
Listen here


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Oscar Post-Mortem 2014

I had my best Oscar Night ever, correctly picking 19 out of 21 categories! That's 90.5% - so much for all the hype over "the closest races in years." Here's a list of winners, with my correct picks in bold:

Best Picture: 12 Years a Slave
Best Director: Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity
Best Lead Actor: Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyer's Club
Best Lead Actress: Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
Best Supporting Actor: Jared Leto, Dallas Buyer's Club
Best Supporting Actress: Lupita Nyong'o, 12 Years a Slave
Best Original Screenplay: Her
Best Adapted Screenplay: 12 Years a Slave
Best Cinematography: Gravity
Best Film Editing: Gravity
Best Sound Mixing: Gravity
Best Sound Effects Editing: Gravity
Best Score: Gravity
Best Song: "Let it Go," Frozen
Best Art Direction: The Great Gatsby
Best Makeup: Dallas Buyer's Club
Best Costumes: The Great Gatsby
Best Animated Feature: Frozen
Best Foreign Language Film: The Great Beauty, Italy
Best Documentary Feature: 20 Feet From Stardom

I thought the show was really fun, but, as always, I could do without the montages. Ellen was a great host and kept things light. She seems to be bulletproof in a thankless and often-criticized role and I hope she gets asked back again. 

I can't imagine that I'll do better at my picks next year, but there's a little room for improvement. For now, it's back to the music!