Links to free score downloads

I’ve spent the morning looking for free downloads and found some stuff I thought I would share. I should add that I have been looking for simple piano scores to popular songs rather than classical piano.  There are some fantastic free sites out there for piano music http://www.freesheetmusic.net been a good place to start.

Sites like the following promise a lot but are either hideously complicated, broken, or not what they advertise.

http://www.sheetmusicengine.com

www.8notes.com  – this site is just confusing. If you go in through the main web page and follow the free links you can access a limited number of free gif files. However, if you follow a google link for a specific song, you’ll end up playing for it.

http://www.free-scores.com – This one goes under the ‘hideously complicated’ heading. There seems to be a lot of content but finding something useful is very difficult.

My most useful site for popular music has been http://www.pianofiles.com/ The listing here isn’t huge but it is varied and comprehensive.

Just as an aside there is a fantasic(ish) blog called http://truepianotranscriptions.blogspot.com/ It contains full transcriptions of possibly many piano pieces. However, there is no index of blogs, no blogger info, no list of pieces. It’s like an idea almost realised.

But by far the most useful overall has been:

http://www.free-midi.org

There are hundreds of free Midi sites out there. True, you do need a MIDI player. I have been opening the files in Sibelius which instantly creates you a full score.

 

Obviously I’m not the only one to have this idea so here is a selection of other bloggers who have made lists of free sheet music sites:

http://truepianotranscriptions.blogspot.com/ – A blogger who started played in Januray 2010

http://thepianostudent.wordpress.com  – A brilliant resource directory

http://worship1.wordpress.com/2009/08/20/tough-times-small-budget/ – Links to a website for free Gospel sheet music

 

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Free Jazz Lessons

We all know that the best way to learn a musical discipline is to have a tutor.  You learn at your own pace, the lessons are tailored to you and having to play in front of a tutor each week is a fantastic practice incentive.  Unfortunately though, tutors cost money and we don’t always have it to spare.

 

I have searched for a long time for a website that will offer free lessons in music theory.  Usually what I find is basic (Wikipedia for example) and often difficult to apply to the real world.  Today, however, I found one that I just had to share.

 

http://www.outsideshore.com/primer/primer

 

It looks dry and uninviting and like you have to pay to download it.  But be patient, scroll down and you will find some of the best free advice on jazz theory (including implementation) that I have ever come across.  There is everything here from a history of jazz to an explanation of scales and chords (which you can find anywhere but not usually this well done) though to applying theory to practice in improvisation and problem solving whilst accompanying other musicians.

 

Other good resource I found was www.jazzdatabase.com

I like the idea of this website; you write an article and post it here for free.  So the idea is you enjoy all the free advice and contribute as well.  Unfortunately there aren’t many contributors but that doesn’t mean some of the links aren’t fab.

 

For instance if you follow the menu to Jazz Theory then Miscellaneous you will be able to download a PDF by Bert Lion which is a great read if you are a theory nerd (like me.)  It also has a link to his website where you can download – for free – a whole range of transcriptions. Some even come with annotations to give you a batter idea of what is going on.

 

Staying with the jazz database website if you click on Transcriptions then Saxophone you will be also to follow a link to the www.saxsolos.com website.  Music here is not free to download but you can stream backtracks. You can then download the relevant PDF from the jazz database.

 

Now you have a great practice aid for free and a fantastic website explaining what you need to be working on.

 

Prelude to ‘An Evening with Snake Davis.’

I can stress enough how happy I am to be back in England.  Barely five minutes in the country and one of my favourite sax players is hosting a ridiculously cheap master-class.  It’s on Wednesday 30th March at The Spice of Life, Cambridge Circus, London.

 

Here are some of the subjects he will be covering:

  • How to form an individual sound.

 

  • How to achieve more expression, better sound, more control, more dynamics, better intonation.

 

  • An in-depth look at vibrato.

 

  • Adopting a less jazz and more pop/rock approach to the short solo.

 

But best of all is the open Q&A, so you’ll literally have the chance to ask him anything you want!

 

What more could you ask for for £5?

Here’s the link

http://www.sax.co.uk/snakemasterclass.html

An Evening of Jazz to Say Goodbye

I don’t think there can be a better way to say thank you and goodbye to South Africa than the concert I was in today. The Stellenbosch University Jazz department put on their first informal concert today and I was there filling in on tenor 2. (That’s thanks to a call at midnight two days previously from Felicia who had just been abandoned by her other tenor players.)  Even better, it was a fund raiser to try and get the band back to the Graham’s Town Jazz Festival, something I fully support.

The evening was glorious, if a little breezy. We had a small and regrettably underused outdoor amphitheatre with the various ensembles of the Jazz department taking turns centre stage. It was a chance for the new ensembles to play for a real, paying audience and for the new jazz band singers to strut their stuff.

But for me it was more than that. It was a chance to say goodbye to a lot of very good people, whom I like to count as friends, and it was a chance to have one last go through some scores I genuinely love. It also made me realise something. As we were playing though our last piece, a number with an Afrikaans title I haven’t a hope in hell of remembering (If you read this Felicia please tell me what it is!) I realised that although I am inherently British my time in South Africa had shown me something very important. I have a feel that I didn’t have before for rhythm and groove and it’s a feel that you can only get by coming here and playing this music with the people who are born with it in their veins. I’ll be the first to admit that when I first attempted to solo over it I stuck out like a sore thumb. You might as well have put a sticker on my forehead that said ‘European.’ But that got better with time and that feel something that I will take with me, when I return to England on Monday.

So thank you South Africa, Felicia and everyone in the Stellenbosch University Jazz band and every other ensemble I have played in since I came here. You have all given me something very special and I will never forget it. And if there is one thing that the Jazz Band has taught me, it’s that avocado’s make your hair curly!

2011 Saxophone Congress

How I wish I was in England for this one.  Having participated in the Single Reed Festival I know just how much you can get out of an event like this one!  And the scale here is so much bigger (no pun intended.)

The congress will be held from the 19th-20th Feb 2011 and hosted by Trinity College of Music at Blackheath Halls.

http://www.cassgb.org/news.php?id=61

And for those interested here is a page on the Musical Director Gerard McChrystal

http://www.saxsaxsax.com/