Alexa’s Music Box – Now with a duet!

This week was fairly busy for me, and so I unfortunately didn’t have time to arrange anything new for my Representation Remixes series. However, yesterday, one of my young students helped me sort out a very simple duet for “Alexa’s Music Box” by Jean Coulthard. I want to stress how simple this duet is–I basically took the remaining notes from the piano arrangement and tweaked the octaves slightly–but simple’s better than nothing, right?

flute-Coulthard-Alexa’s Music Box-Optional duet – for (slightly more advanced) flute

Have a great weekend, everyone!


Representation Remixes: Skipping Rope, by Yelena Fabianovna Gnesina

Over the past half of a year, I’ve been making a real effort to expand my music collection to reflect the composers I’ve featured in my History Hunt series (and hope to continue to feature when time and health permit!). It’s been a real challenge, though, especially with my flute music collection. There are real gaps–so much so that I recently had to apologise to one of my students for only giving her music by white men to play so far when neither of us fit that bill.

So I’ve started to do some very simple arrangements to fill in the gap a little. Normally, I keep my arrangements as a perk for members of my studio, but addressing the incredible imbalance in core flute repertoire is something I feel very strongly about. So, I’d like to make these arrangements generally available.

The first one I’ve completed is “Skipping Rope,” by Yelena Fabianovna Gnesina. It’s found in the Grade 5 Royal Conservatory of Music repertoire book; the arrangement should be suitable for flute students playing at a Grade 1/2 RCM level.

flute-Gnesina-Skipping Rope (Flute and Piano parts)
flute-Gnesina-Skipping Rope-flute part (Flute part alone)

I hope you all enjoy, and please feel free to send me feedback! I don’t arrange music as often as I should, and so I could do with some constructive criticism.

Music, Math, and Art

People often talk about the connections between music and math, and I occasionally give my older students an unpleasant surprise by suddenly diving into fractions to show how the beat in their pieces ought to be divided. But Marshall Lefferts of Cosmometry is taking a slightly different tack, by exploring the mathematical connections of such musical fundamentals as the scale, the Circle of Fifths, and tritones.


A visual representation of tritones in relation to the twelve tones of the most common Western scale.

Even if you aren’t mathematically minded, the matrices are certainly pretty to look at! Lefferts’ diagrams become even more artistic in his followup piece, Tri-Tone Duality of Music.


Triads and how they relate to one another.

Music is beautiful even when represented with mathematical diagrams! Is anyone surprised?

Michael Jackson Goes to Japan

Anyone who’s been following this blog for a while will probably have figured out by now that I love covers. I can’t get enough of hearing people’s interpretations of well-known songs. I love witnessing the hard work they put into their music, and the way they share a little of themselves with their listeners.

This week’s cover that I adore is an arrangement of Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal,” led by professional musician Yoshimi Tsujimoto on the shakuhachi and backed by Yuko Watanabe and Erina Ito on the koto.

To learn more about all three musicians, check out this article. I hope they collaborate on other projects in the future!

Super Mario Strikes Again!

As a nearly lifelong fan of the Super Mario series (some of my earliest memories are of watching my cousins play Super Mario Bros. for the NES), I never get tired of listening to remixes of its main theme. The only thing better than finding a cool new remix, as far as I’m concerned, is finding a cool new remix and learning something in the process.

Recently, I discovered a video of a young woman in Taipei, Taiwan, playing her own version of the Super Mario Bros. Theme (and the Underground Theme), complete with sound effects. This time, however, instead of playing it on the violin, this performer plays it on the sheng. The sheng is a Chinese instrument that was first invented over three thousand years ago and remains popular in a slightly modernised form to this day. And apparently it’s perfectly suited to playing videogame music!

Happy New Year With the Wheel Of Musical Impressions!

Happy 2016, everyone! I hope you all had a great holiday and are ready to meet the new year’s joys and challenges head-on!

First of all, I have a little site news: on Christmas Day, I became a kitty foster parent for the first time, and I’ve already had my first success story! I’ve added a section on my website where you can see who I’m hosting as well as read about the kitties who found their forever homes with loving families. I hope that if you’re in the Ottawa area and looking to add some warmth and fuzziness to your life that you’ll consider adopting one of the cats from J’s Animal Rescue!

Second, here I am with my first musical link of the new year! I first learned of Jimmy Fallon’s Wheel of Musical Impressions a little while ago. Guests on his show are randomly assigned a singer to imitate and a song to sing. Since singers work very hard to have their own, unique sound and tend to be well known for the music they specialise in, the results can be pretty funny!

Here’s a video of Ariana Grande guest starring on the show, including the amazing duet she and Jimmy Fallon sing at the end:

If you’d prefer to skip to a singer/song in particular, you can click the links below:

Britney Spears singing Mary Had a Little Lamb
Aaron Neville singing Cheerleader
Christina Aguilera singing The Wheels on the Bus
Sting singing I Can’t Feel My Face
Celine Dion (and Sting!) singing I Can’t Feel My Face