By Bob Phillips

As a string teacher for many years, I always enjoy looking at new music. It’s a bit like opening a present! As an editor at Alfred, I see the music about a year before it is released. After releasing our Belwin Pop titles early for the first time, we are now preparing to release our new music collection for the 2013-14 school year. Things have changed from the days when we all spent a lovely summer day in an air-conditioned music store looking for just the right pieces to play that year. Now we depend on the internet and all the great websites to browse the classics or look for exciting new pieces. No matter what you are looking for, be sure it fits the skill level of your group. I would generally choose to play a slightly easier piece and play it with excellence than play a more difficult piece poorly. Of course, there are times that a challenge is called for! Keep your curriculum in mind as well and find tunes that provide the opportunity to teach the appropriate skills. Enjoy!