In a previous post concerning summer activity at Stanton’s (‘Summertime – and the Livin’ is…Busy?‘, 8/12) we mentioned that listening to new publisher promotions is one of the many activities that keeps us busy during the summer months. If you’ve ever wondered how our yearly promotions are selected (at least from an instrumental perspective) or whether we get through all of the same publisher promotions you get each year, here goes…
It all begins in May and June when advance copies of publisher promotions begin to arrive. These are not the polished promotions that you receive in the mail, but burned CD copies and Word documents containing either a list of new titles, or for those really on-the-ball, new titles complete with written descriptions. A few publisher representatives also pay us a visit to discuss their new products/titles and just to catch up on how things are going.
Since music is ‘seasonal’, we begin by checking out all the new marching band titles from Alfred, Hal Leonard, Arrangers’, and Jalen/Matrix. The new titles are added to the appropriate categories on our website and listening library, as well as to our Marching Band Show Planning Guide (if you haven’t received your copy, give us a call 1-800-426-8742 – we’ll be happy to send one to you!).
Our orchestra/string specialist, Dan Clark, listens to all of the new orchestra titles. From these, he selects the ones that will be used on new orchestra music reading sessions and placed into the new Stanton’s Orchestra Promotion.
Our jazz education specialist, Ben Huntoon, listens to all of the new jazz ensemble titles and selects the best available for reading sessions and promotion. His primary criteria (besides quality and playability) is, “Would I have fun playing it?”
Lastly comes the most extensive list of titles – concert band. Three of our instrumental staff members, Kent White, Kris Lehman, and Ken Tilger listen to ALL of the new concert band music from all of the publishers (usually with complete recordings). You know that big pile of publisher promotions and CDs that collects on your desk every year? Yep, we go through that whole pile and listen to every single track! This year’s count currently stands at 482 NEW TITLES and we haven’t seen promotions from 2 smaller publishers yet.
The three of us give each piece of music a rating of 1-10. Our ratings are based on a combination of quality writing/arranging, educational usefulness, saleability, etc. Once we’ve finished listening (or it finishes us!), we plug the ratings into a spreadsheet. The pieces with the highest average ratings make our concert band promotion.
Write-ups are created for the pieces that make the cut – yes, we write our own because the publisher write-ups are often insufficient – the layout is created and then sent to the printer to be produced and mailed.
This is why Stanton’s promotions are worthwhile! The pieces we select are the best musically, the most useful for the classroom, and you know that we’ve reviewed them all (so you don’t have to – we know you have a million other things to do). Shop Stanton’s for all your sheet music needs!