Musical Magic – Method Book Review

Musical Magic (increasemusic.com)

The “Musical Magic” method book includes three levels, beginning, intermediate, and advanced, and includes several different options for use in the classroom. Each level includes an individual student book, levels 1 and 2 has a full band rehearsal book, and level one includes a book entitled “Rehearsal Preps and Pieces” as supplemental material for the full band. While there is no specific teacher book, there is enough material for students to work on individually and corporately that the teacher should be able to adequately teach the concepts without much difficulty. Below I have provided a brief outline of the features and contents of each of the different books in this series.

  • Three levels:
    • Level 1—Beginner: includes Book 1 (individual), Band Rehearsal Book 1, Rehearsal Preps and Pieces (full band supplemental).
    • Level 2—Intermediate: Book 2 (individual), Band Rehearsal Book 2.
    • Level 3—Advanced: Book 3 (individual).
    • Level 1: Beginning
      • Book 1 (Individual)
        • Contents features: care of instruments; “First Magical Moments” page; Foot tapping and counting; daily warm-up page; information boxes on the top of pages.
        • Concepts taught: rhythms, tempos, dynamics, styles, repeat signs, pick-up notes, lip slurs for brass instruments, the natural sign, enharmonic tones, accidentals, scales, chords and arpeggios. All these concepts correspond to the full band book, and there is a glossary for easy reference.
        • Positives:
          • Includes the syllable “too” written above some of the first notes to help students remember how to articulate.
          • Things are explained clearly and procedures for learning music simple.
          • Includes octave and interval exercises for the clarinet, which is great.
      • Negatives:
        • “Too” is not a syllable that should be used for clarinet; “tee” is best. If this error is made, it is possible there are others.
        • On the PDFs I examined there was no color on the pages; a black and white method book might be rather boring where a colorful book with important information highlighted in color would be nice.
        • I did not see any clarinet duets included, and it didn’t seem as though the material was much more complicated at the end of the book.
  • Band Rehearsal Book 1
    • Corresponds with the individual student books.
      • Material covered in Book 1 are re-introduced and reviewed frequently.
      • Group exercises review concepts and allow the band to practice these together (ex: breath marks, quarter notes, dynamics, etc.)
      • Includes several concert scales for the band to play together.
      • There are several full band pieces as well as several small-ensemble pieces for brass and for woodwinds.
  • Rehearsal Preps and Pieces
    • Designed to supplement the individual lessons.
    • Each instrument has opportunity to play the melody as well as the harmony to allow students to develop both their solo and accompaniment playing.
    • The beginning pages contain an anthology of music elements which bands are required to learn to perform music successfully. Brief exercises allow beginning groups to concentrate on the concepts being introduced and more advanced groups to quickly review them.
      • Concepts: breathe/play/rest together; unison vs. harmony; multi-measure rests; repeat signs; different articulations; dynamics, style, and tempo; rhythms at varying difficulties; and concert Bb, Eb, F and chromatic scales.
      • Includes 26 pieces arranged for full band. These pieces vary in difficulty, length, and styles.
        • Some pieces appropriate for concerts, others for sight-reading.
        • Students get to experience many musical styles.
        • Level 2: Intermediate
          • Book 2 (Individual)
            • Teaches new rhythms for all instruments. Includes syncopation, cut time, 2/2 time, sixteenth notes, eighth note followed by two sixteenths (and reverse), compound times taught (3/8 and 6/8). (Snare includes triplets.)
            • Rhythm Challenges are included for use in rehearsal or as “pass-offs”.
            • Tempo and style: marcato, largo, legato, ritards are included.
            • Other concepts: enharmonics, accidentals, explanation of scales.
  • Band Rehearsal Book 2
    • Follows the concepts presented in the individual student book.
    • Includes exercises in unison/octaves, and for full band.
    • Meter: 3/8, 6/8, and 2/2 are presented and developed in the ensemble.
    • Rhythm: syncopation and sixteenth notes are taught and practiced. Triplets and dotted-eight notes, which are not in Book 2, are introduced in the band.
    • Exercises: rhythm exercises and warm-ups are included. Short etudes are included for practical study, while longer pieces allow for development of performance-based skill.
    • Level 3: Advanced
      • Book 3 (Individual)
        • This book currently available only for flute, clarinet, trumpet, and saxophone. The rest of the books are still being written.
        • There is no full band rehearsal book at this level; concert repertoire acts as a supplement to the material in Book 3.
        • Includes fingering chart (with alternate fingerings) and glossary of common musical terms.
        • Complex rhythms are explored in individual etudes meant to aid in learning the material and information necessary to an upper-level player.
        • High notes not included in the first two levels are introduced.
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About Lady Fair

Lady is a musician with a bachelor's degree in music education. She plays multiple instruments and has participated in numerous musical ensembles, giving her a wide variety of experiences and knowledge to use in her teaching career. Of her ensemble participation, she has fifteen years of band experience, nine years choral, and four years in orchestra. Éowyn's primary instrument is clarinet, with voice and piano being close secondary instruments. Throughout her musical education career she studied voice and clarinet simultaneously. In addition to clarinet, piano, and voice, she has also studied violin and oboe at the college level, and also plays recorder, tin whistle, and other instruments in the woodwind family. If you ask her, she will say, "I chose to major in music education because I have a desire to use my knowledge and experience in music to share its beauty and foster a love of music in the hearts of my students. I hope to encourage my students to try their hardest, feel like they have accomplished something, and give them a life long passion for music." Lady currently teaches private lessons on clarinet, sax, flute, oboe, piano, and voice, and recently gained a position teaching orchestra and chorus at a local middle school. She is also a member of the Once Upon a Dream woodwind ensembles.
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