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Alex Shapiro, composer email




For wind band
and prerecorded audio.

Composed by Alex Shapiro.

2024; Duration 3:33.
Published by Activist Music LLC (ASCAP).


Grade 2.5 and beyond.



score cover





Click the arrow below
to listen to a decent demo of






Play it loud!

SLUMP will be available for purchase beginning November 2024.

Full set: $80.
Score only: $15.






Relaxed, slightly slumping composer in her studio, 2-25-24. Photo by Dan Shelley.


SLUMP instrumentation







Relaxed, slumping black fox. Photo by Alex Shapiro.

A very chill, slumped fox on the rock in front of Alex's house on San Juan Island.





SLUMP was commissioned by James Mobley and the Brownstown Middle School Band, with the participation of the following members of the N-BEAM consortium:

• Brownstown Middle School, Brownstown, MI. James Mobley, Director, Consortium Lead School.

• Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, OH. Dr. Kenneth Thompson, Director.

• Exeter-West Greenwich Jr/Sr High, West Greenwich, RI. Gregg Charest, Director.

• Forest Hills Bands, Cincinnati, OH. Toby Biederman, Director.

• Indio High School, Indio, CA. John Freeman, Director.

• Keswick High School, Ontario CA. Andrew Siu, Director.

• Kromrey Middle School, Middleton, WI. Kimberly Reynolds, Director.

• Lake Central High School Bands, St. John, IN. Elliot Smith, Director.

• L.V. Berkner High School, Richardson, TX. Frank Troyka, Director of Bands (retired).

• Miamisburg Middle School, Miamisburg, OH. Ryan Wintersheimer, Director.

• Mukwonago High School, Mukwonago, WI. Emma Angoli, Director.

• New Jersey Arts Collective, Dr. Kimberly Burja, Executive Director; Dr. Darren Gage, Artistic Director.

• Shumate Middle School/Oscar A. Carlson High School-Gibraltar, Gibraltar, MI. David Brockington, Director.

• St. Clair High School, Saint Clair, MI. Micah Volz, Director.

• Traughber Junior High School, Oswego, IL. Rachel Maxwell, Director.

• University of Cincinnati Bearcat Bands, Cincinnati, OH. Christopher Nichter, Director.

• University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Warhawk Band Camps, Whitewater, WI. Glenn C. Hayes, Director.

• Woodhaven High School and Patrick Henry Middle School, Woodhaven, MI. Bradley Faryniarz, Director.


The New Band Electro-Acoustic Music (N-BEAM) consortium was created in 2016, with the mission of fostering the creation and performance of new EA concert band literature for younger musicians. The N-BEAM consortium thanks the Bowling Green State University College of Musical Arts, Dr. Kenneth Thompson, Director, for its sponsorship support.




Slumping river otter. Photo by Alex Shapiro.

A very chill, slumped river otter on the rockk in front of Alex's house on San Juan Island.




(email Alex for code access)

PERUSAL ONLY; not for performance or duplication.



9 x 12; 29 pages including cover and notes.


score, 9 x 12 single-side




Monk seal slumping. Photo by Alex Shapiro.

A Monk seal hppily slumps at Alex's feet on the North shore of Oahu.






"Sit up straight!". "Stretch out your diaphragm!". "Folks in the back: no slumping!".

Sound familiar?? While sharing tales of these typical frustrations with a band director one day, it dawned on me that a piece could serve as an object lesson. Throughout SLUMP, musicians experience the difference in their sound and energy when playing with hilariously poor posture versus when playing fully upright. Audiences will laugh at the spectacle. And maybe everyone will even enjoy the music!




PROGRAM BIO for Alex Shapiro Photo and bio


Alex Shapiro bio and photos








Here's the June 11, 2024 Canadian premiere of SLUMP
with the Keswick High School Concert Band,
Andrew Siu, conductor:





Sucia, slumping. Photo by Alex Shapiro.

One of Alex's cats, Sucia, slumps in her lap in the studio.






It is vital that the audio track be played very prominently, and be set at least as loud as the band.


SLUMP is fun for players of any age, but for younger musicians it will be especially useful for introducing them to new concepts. To get everyone familiar with the feel of the piece, take 3 minutes and 33 seconds of rehearsal time, and play the demo recording for the band: loudly! Ask the students to also listen to the MP3 demo several times on their own, to better grasp the rhythms and harmonies. In the first rehearsals, singing and clapping through the piece with and without the audio track at different tempi, will help everyone absorb the off-beats. At the outset, it should be explained that this is a visual piece as well as a musical one.

SLUMP is a "Grade 2 for the second half of the year when the students are more comfortable with their musicianship." The ranges remain conservative, the tempo doesn't vary, and unlike many pieces in Alex Shapiro's catalog, it's entirely in 4/4. With the exception of the main four-note motive, the music is largely step-wise playing that bolsters students' ease with chromaticism, and even introduces subtle jazz voicings.

Without question, the inclusion of the necessary choreography will require more rehearsal time than other pieces. But the object lesson will be worth it!

Incorporating the physical slumping and rising indications can wait until the students have the music well under their fingers, at which point the text boxes and accompanying slash marks can be clarified. Slow-motion slumps are noted by a slash indicating the start of the motion, followed by an empty bar with no rests, suggesting the continuation of motion. Sudden slumps are noted with a slash followed by rests, indicating that the motion occurs and is completed on the first slash.


Be sure to create ample physical space between the musicians and their music stands for standing up at the end, and especially for the moments of rapidly slumping over and of suddenly sitting up. We don't want anyone hitting their head, or denting their instrument! Every motion that's noted as sudden should be precisely choreographed: done in unison, and dramatically pronounced for best visual effect to the audience. The movement directions are a guideline, and it's likely that once in the band room adjustments will be made for what works best, with every ensemble taking a different approach!

The opening vocalization should sound mysterious and moody rather than like a full-throated choir, so that the audience can't tell if the voices are live or part of the track.The piece lends itself to lighting effects, possibly shifting from darker tones to bright light at the end when everyone stands and arrives at a major chord.

To assist as the musicians get comfortable with the music, rehearsal tracks pairing the audio with a click track are provided in three different tempi: 130 bpm, 145 bpm, and the official performance tempo of 160 bpm. Only the 160 bpm track may be used for performance, and that is the only tempo provided for the audio track without the click intended to be played through the stage monitors and the house speakers for the audience to hear.

Each conductor will come up with their own clever way of cueing the initial vocal entrance, in which the musicians sing softly while completely slumped over below their music stands— making it difficult for them to see the podium! Consider a sightline to the conductor's tapping feet. A low percussive downbeat can be heard two measures before the ensemble sings along with the track, and the pitches musicians sing between measures 11 and 25 are clearly doubled in the audio. The intro music is ambient, so rhythmic precision isn't imperative until m. 26.

Throughout the piece, a quiet, subtle doubling of the main melodies can be heard in the audio track, providing a little guidance if the students find it helpful to listen, or while they practice at home with the track. The majority of these additions have been mixed with the intention of remaining almost unheard by the audience.

When the snare drum player is partially "slumped" between mm. 78-through 84, they can be given the option to play whatever is underneath their instrument— the stand, for instance!






Bald eagle slumping. Photo by Alex Shapiro.

A Bald eagle slumps on a rock in front of Alex's studio.






All of the accompaniment tracks are aligned. The music uses stereo panning and imaging, so please ensure that the P/A setup in your venue is stereo, not mono.

The track without ANY audible clicks, to be routed to the stage monitors heard by the band, and to the house speakers heard by the audience, begins with a silent eight beat count-off.

Please avoid converting the audio file to a lower quality MP3 file.

A multitrack sequencing/playback application, and a small audio interface, are needed. If you would like software and hardware suggestions for your particular setup, please drop Alex an email, and she will do her very best to help. Or, to at least make you laugh.






Here's something VERY useful: a complete guide to the software and hardware setup for your ensemble room and performance venue.


pdf of tech setup guide




For musicians making a virtual performance recording of their part at home: here's a guide to basic recording and filming techniques!


pdf of recording guide




For anyone mixing all the files for a virtual performance recording: here's a guide to basic mixing techniques!


pdf of mixing guide




You are welcome to share the digital PDF parts with your musicians, but for copyright reasons you may only give them access to the audio track that contains the click, and NOT the performance track.

Written permission from Ms. Shapiro is REQUIRED before posting a virtual (recorded, uploaded online) concert or performance. For non-profit schools or community ensembles, Alex Shapiro and Activist Music LLC are happy to grant the necessary synchronization and mechanical rights at no cost, with the explicit condition that PRIOR to posting, the Director will contact Ms. Shapiro to show her the audio and/or video files so that if necessary, she may offer easy (we promise!) recommendations for improving the final product before it is made public.

In most cases this involves (yup, this is a helpful checklist):

--Assuring that the track is loud enough-- it is designed to be AT THE SAME VOLUME as the instrumentalists;

--Assuring that the instruments are not dry-sounding and have enough room presence (reverb) to match that of the accompaniment track;

-- Assuring that the relative levels of the instruments are balanced, and that significantly problematic passages within individual tracks are muted for the duration of the distracting notes, in order to achieve a better overall recording and make everyone proud.

Further up this page, you will find a very helpful downloadable guide to creating a good mix while retaining whatever hair you might have left on your head.

Ms. Shapiro is always happy to offer helpful feedback, so never hesitate to email her: JUST CLICK HERE.







Bob and Jake, slumping like pros. Photo by Alex Shapiro.

Alex's cats Bob and Jake, slumping like pros.






Zoom, Skype, Google Meet, etc. are wonderful tools for affordably bringing Alex into your rehearsal, without having to book a plane flight! She has a great time coaching students, and the difference between their musicianship at the beginning of the session and by the time it ends, is remarkable.

Alex can tell the ensemble about how the piece was created and engage them in conversation, and even show them how her digital project studio works! It's also easy to arrange to have her say hello to the audience during a concert, via a custom video. Webhearsals connect musicians to the real person-- and the stories-- behind the notes on the music stands. Get in touch with Alex-- her contact info is at the bottom of this page.

To see some examples of webhearsals, and the view Alex loves to share from her desk, click here.



Alex was an early adopter of online "webhearsals"! Here's one from December 2012 with Alex in her studio on Washington's San Juan Island, and band director Mary Bauer and the Mt. Mansfield Union High School Band far across the continent in Vermont.





Great Blue Heron, slumping. Photo by Alex Shapiro.

A Great Blue Heron slumps on a rock in front of Alex's house.



Signed SLUMP cover from Keswick HS students

Keswick High School band director Andrew Siu gave the Canadian premiere of SLUMP on June 11, 2024. He printed out the score cover so that his musicians could sign it and hang it on the band room wall!




Humpback whale, in slump-pose. Photo by Alex Shapiro.

A "Slumpback whale" glildes by Alex's living room.








Alex has written an extensive two-part article about electroacoustic band music and the uses of multimedia in the concert world. The essay, titled The e-Frontier: Music, Multimedia, Education, and Audiences in the Digital World echoes multimedia presentations she has given at The 2013 Midwest Clinic, the 2014 TMEA convention, and countless other seminars. It appears in the June and September 2014 issues of the magazine of the World Association for Symphonic Bands and Ensembles, WASBE World, and the .pdf is offered here with the very kind permission of the organization.

Click here for the full .pdf file readThe e-Frontier



Teaching Music Through Performance


Alex's unique electroacoustic wind band pieces for high school musicians, TIGHT SQUEEZE, and PAPER CUT, are featured in the field's best known book/CD series, Teaching Music Through Performance in Band, Volume 10, edited by Eugene Migliaro Corporon and released by GIA Publications December 2014.





Slumping deer. Photo by Alex Shapiro.

A slumped, sleeping deer at Alex's feet in front of her house.





Alexwith some of her music at the Hal Leonard rack at the Midwest Clinic, 2014.

Alex loves writing for band! You can listen to any of her other pieces by clicking here Alex's wind band catalog




Slumping fox. Photo by Alex Shapiro.

This fox knows how to slump!






The VERY best way to reach Alex is through email, by clicking here Email Alex!



Email Alex!




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