The (Live!) Music Goes On

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The COVID-19 pandemic has affected us all.  In my 26 years in the music publishing industry, few things have impacted music in our schools more profoundly.  Many school ensembles have been unable to meet or have done so in small groups or virtually.  Composers and arrangers have struggled without commissions and guest appearances.  Many (myself included) have experienced difficulty being creative during these uncertain times.  

Educational music publishers like Excelcia Music Publishing have had to adapt and do so quickly so that we can ensure continuity of education for our students.  Flexible music and digital offerings like E-books have been the focus of our attention as we have worked tirelessly to provide materials to meet teacher’s needs today.  I have always believed that an important component of what educators need to teach and inspire their students are examples of good musicianship.  At Excelcia Music Publishing, this comes through with professional level recordings of our pieces, which, prior to the pandemic, were performed by the fantastic professional group, the Tradewinds Recording Ensemble. These recordings helped educators choose appropriate literature for their ensembles and allowed them to demonstrate good ensemble sound, quality of tone, and musicianship for their students. 

Like many things, the pandemic has thrown a curveball into the process of recording live ensemble music.  It is simply not possible for a large choir, orchestra or band to gather safely in a recording space.  However, with a commitment to prioritizing live recordings with real musicians, my team and I creatively problem solved — and I believe we have cracked the code. We are combining the best in technology with the best in individual musicianship to provide teachers and students with high quality recordings.  I am thrilled that Excelcia Music Publishing’s entire Spring new releases — Concert Band, Orchestra, Choral and Jazz Ensemble — will be accompanied with professional recordings by real musicians.   

How are we doing it?  It starts with the best music we can find from talented composers who are committed to writing inspiring and educational music.  That is always priority number one at Excelcia Music Publishing!  Next, we are creating base “tracks” of the music with samples and manipulating them as well as we can to bring out the character and musicality of the works.  Once this is completed, we are recording each individual part, one musician at a time, with professional musicians. The recordings will then be edited and mixed into a final product.  This gives us the ability to provide excellent examples of playing and singing, while adhering to all necessary restrictions to keep all involved safe and healthy.

 Is it the ideal way to do our recordings?  Of course not.  There is no substitute for a full concert band, orchestra or choir to create the beauty and majesty of the music, but I feel our alternative approach has replicated our usual full ensemble professional recordings as best we can under the circumstances to create pedagogical examples of our pieces.  I am sure I speak for everyone when I say we can’t wait to get back to our full ensembles soon.  There is nothing like it, and music in our schools truly inspires so many amazing students each and every day.  I am proud of how hard Excelcia Music Publishing’s team has worked to help the (live) music go on. I hope you will like it too.

 

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Larry Clark is the founder and President of Excelcia Music Publishing. He is a well-known composer, author and clinician for bands and orchestras. His music is some of the most popular and most performed around the world for school ensembles. He has over 300 publications in print and writes extensively about topics of interest to educators and composers. For more information, visit his website.