SmartPicks – Cartoon by Paul Hart

SmartPicks - Cartoon

cartoon coverCartoon by Paul Hart

Ensemble type: Concert Band
Difficulty: Medium Advanced
Recommended by: Ted Scalzo, Education Specialist

“If you want your students to improve their technical performance skills and have fun at the same time, this is your piece. Actually, it is their piece!”

Why did you choose this piece to perform with your group?

This piece is a nostalgic look at old cartoon soundtracks. My students chose this piece because of the many emotions and moods conveyed throughout the composition. They understood some of the difficulties in performing the work and were very willing to put in the time to make the audience laugh and smile.

What skills does it address, or what lessons does it teach?

Many technically challenging sections must be perfected to get the audience to feel (visualize) what is happening. This piece also teaches students to focus on communicating with an audience. We use our skills to make the audience feel something.

What are some teaching strategies you would recommend to teachers who are rehearsing this piece?

Break the piece down into smaller technical challenges and also work on perfecting the emotional intent-chase, energy, courting, humor, and slapstick. Allow your students to decide how to communicate best what the composer intends in each section.

Why would you recommend this piece to someone else?

If you want your students to improve their technical performance skills and have fun at the same time, this is your piece. Actually, it is their piece! Several styles of music are encapsulated within the entire work. Anyone who has seen a Looney Tunes or Tom and Jerry cartoon will understand what is being conveyed.

What memorable experiences did you have while rehearsing or performing this piece?

This was the last piece I performed with my wonderful students at Bay Shore High School. The fact that they chose it and we had so much fun preparing it is a memory filled with joy and laughter. Their pride in performing this challenging work and seeing and hearing the audience’s reaction is something we still talk about.

How did SmartMusic enhance the rehearsal process?

SmartMusic provided the students with a model and the ability to slow down difficult passages to perfect the style and nuance to communicate with our audience. My students said we could not have done this without SmartMusic as our practice tool.

What sections or measures needed the most attention?

Ensembles should work on measure 56 from day one. First, slow it down and have students gradually increase the tempo until they can perform it beyond the recorded tempo. We found going beyond our needs made performance effortless.

What interests you most about this piece?

Cartoon has a universal appeal to everyone, from the performers to the audience. It is a happy, uplifting, funny piece that students enjoy.

Add Cartoon to a playlist.

Click here to find more great SmartMusic repertoire with SmartPicks

Ted Scalzo is a music educator, having conducted wind ensembles, jazz and marching bands, instrumental lessons, and advanced music composition. Throughout his career in public schools, he has been an advocate of using technology to enhance and improve student and teacher instructional needs.
He is now retired from Bay Shore Schools and Hofstra University. Ted is currently Education Specialist for MakeMusic. In his free time Ted performs with several Big Bands in the San Antonio area and enjoys nature photography with his wife Grace.

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