I recently stumbled on a great website for music educators, musicians, composers, and just about anybody else interested in music! It’s The Sound Exchange, hosted, created, and maintained by London’s Philharmonia Orchestra. One could spend hours exploring the wealth of information and activities on this site!
For example, one of my favorite pages to visit is the Instruments page, where you can choose from a list of symphonic instruments on the sidebar, and read all about the instrument’s history, construction, range, transposition, or any special techniques the instrument is capable of. There are also sound clips of the instrument available, and video clips of interviews with Philharmonia musicians on that instrument; interview topics include many insights into the typical play of the instrument (what is or isn’t expected by the musician), such that would interest a composer looking to write for the instrument and still be in the player’s good graces. 🙂
Take a look at this Violin page, as just a small example…
There is also information on the history of the orchestra, the typical seating of the orchestra, the duties of the conductor, quizzes and games, and information on history of sampling techniques and current practices. You can even “contribute your samples, loops or finished tracks to The Sound Exchange no matter what style of music it is, whether you’re a beginner or a professional”, and download others’ tracks!
But, wait, there’s more! There is even an opportunity for composers of all abilities to have their work rehearsed by members of the Philharmonia Orchestra and to receive positive feedback to improve their work. Check out the Composer Resource for more information.
I am truly excited about this site, and would recommend it to anyone interested in learning more about music and the instruments and musicians that make it possible!