Sunday, January 14, 2018

Playing a Rubik's Cube - Ted-Ed

This Ted-Ed video explains some mathematical principles that can allow you to make a chord progression using a Rubik’s Cube. For anyone who might be looking for inspiration while composing, this might help push you into a new direction.

The majority of the video explains group theory (which directly relates to how you can group a face on a Rubik’s Cube as well as a chord). Near the end, it describes putting different chords on each face of the cube (ensuring that the notes are different on the column, rows, and diagonal), scrambling up the cube, and then examining one of the faces. With the face that you decide to look at, you write down the chords after every single move you make to the cube. Eventually, it will go to the tonic chord once it has been fully solved, and by then, you would have a long chord progression that you can play around with until hear something you like. 

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Hear ye! hear ye! You are invitied to an evening of entertainment!

OCMS Symphony Orchestra will be holding an evening of holiday celebration on Friday, December 8, 2017 at 8:15 pm at Agincourt Collegiate Institute (2621 Midland Avenue, Scarborough, ON). Free community concert. Donations are welcome and appreciated.

Come enjoy an evening of good music, good food, and good company. Music by Beethoven, Mozart, Tchaikovsky, and Vivaldi. Desserts by our moms.

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

The Original Proclamation of Love

Have you tired out your social media with proclamations of appreciation for your lovers/friends/family? Have you lost friends due to annoying statuses?

Classical 96.3 FM takes song requests with an option to add your own message. Serenade your lover with Cavalleria Rusticana or passive-aggressively dedicate Dreams of a Witch's Sabbath to your horrible ex-roommate.

Click HERE to request a song!

Sunday, October 15, 2017

How Brass Instruments Work

Have you ever wondered how brass instruments work? This Ted-Ed video shows you the physics of it all, from the air stored in the lungs, to the vibration of the lips, to the sound coming out of the bell.

Depending on the combination of the valves pressed (or position for instruments using a slide), they can alter the length of their tube, changing which harmonic series it belongs to. From there, what dictates which note in the harmonic series (also known as a partial, or overtone) is being played is all dependent of the lips of the musician and how fast they vibrate.

For a more in-depth explanation, watch the video!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

IDRS 2018 Granada, Spain

The International Double Reed Society (IDRS) is hosting their 2018 conference in Granada, Spain. From now until the 15th of December, you may submit ideas and proposals at their new website address

Perform on front of world class musicians and show who you are, host a masterclass or share an idea that may be revolutionary and innovative.

Friday, October 06, 2017

Beethoven on Halloween

If you're looking for activities besides Trick-Or-Treating this Halloween, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra has something fang-tastic in store for you!

On top of his infamous Symphony No. 5 (showcased in the picture above), TSO will also be playing a number of Beethoven's other compositions on Tuesday, October 31st 8pm at Roy Thompson Hall. 

For more information, click here!

Friday, September 22, 2017

The Art of Turning the Page

Disclaimer: While this post is about turning the page, it is not about page turners who save pianist's sanity day in and day out. (Although we do have a funny video about piano page turners at the end of this post.) Nor is this post about page-turners as in the fantastical novel you couldn't put down last night. Rather this post is about orchestral musicians sharing music stands and turning the pages to the never-ending orchestral part of the never-ending symphony/suite/theme and variations. Happy reading!

Orchestral musicians follow long lists of etiquette that includes things like: thou shall not empty your spit valve onto another's shoes. Even the act of turning pages page require conformity to norms and etiquettes. Below are some tips for orchestral string players. (While woodwind, brass, and percussion players enjoying sharing the occasional Facebook post, they don't normally have the opportunity to share music stands with other musicians.)

Who turns the page? Whoever is sitting furthest from the edge of the stage, the "inside" player, turns the page. Wait! But what does the other person do? We will get to that in a minute. The inside player is in charge of turning the page and writing down markings during rehearsals. All of this can happen while the other person is still playing so be careful not to cover up the entire music part with your hand. Also try your best not to accidentally flip the entire music part onto the floor. It has happened many times before! Check with your stand partner when you can turn the page, sometimes it will be earlier, sometimes a bit later. Below is a demonstration video from a violinist regarding turning pages.

What does the other person do? Well, when the inside person is writing down markings and turning the page, the other person should keep playing! The other person who sits closer to the edge of the stage is known as the "outside" player. The outside player is in charge of brining the music to every rehearsal and performance. Basically the outside person is in charge of carrying the music and playing the part no matter what happens. Hence why they are sitting closer to the edge of the stage so that it gives the audience the mirage that there are no interruptions.

Other Tips and Tricks: Do double check that your music part is set up in a way where most page turns occur during rests. This may incredibly difficult for violins who never seems to have rest, but try! Also double check with your stand partner to make sure your page turns suit them. People have preferences and it never hurts to ask for some feedback and suggestions.

Now time for some laughs. Victor Borge and his son, the notorious timid page turner. Enjoy!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Pencil It In: Musicians and Pencils

The bond between musicians and their pencils cannot be denied. While the metronome may be the musician's best friend at home, the pencil is the musician's most trusted advisor during rehearsals. The pencil documents the many moments in rehearsal, whether, happy, sad, elated, desperate, fantastical, or anxious. The pencil witnesses, records, and reminds the musician throughout their musical journey. Whether it is a breath mark, an accent, a pair of glasses, or a cow, these pencil markings are privy to the time shared amongst members of the ensemble. Be a part of the experience and bring your pencil to every rehearsal!

For a more "serious" discussion of musicians and pencils, please read Jean Inaba's article "Pencil It In: One Thing A Good Musician Always Remembers At Rehearsal."