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Alex Shapiro, composer email




For three-part flex wind band, orchestra, or small ensemble, and optional prerecorded track.

Composed by Alex Shapiro.

2021; Duration 1:06 or longer, depending on tempo.
Published by Activist Music LLC (ASCAP).

For Robert Ambrose
and Sean Murphy.


Grade 0.5 and beyond: at a fast tempo, this piece makes a fun concert opener or closer!



score cover




Click to listen to the fast version!
Recorded by members of the
Georgia State University
Symphonic Wind Ensemble;
Robert J. Ambrose, conductor.



COUNT TO TEN is available as a
physical, bound set of score and parts
plus audio download,
or as a digital set of .pdf score and parts,
plus audio download.

Full set: $50.
Score only: $10.





Click here to order from Activist Music:




Click the icon to order the
print set from Murphy Music Press:

Murphy Music Press






COUNT TO TEN instrumentation


COUNT TO TEN was composed for the Murphy Music Press Beginning Band Adaptable Series. Edited by Robert Ambrose, Director of Bands at Georgia State University, and Mary Cogswell, South Dakota Bandmasters Association President, this growing collection of imaginitive pieces was launched in 2020 in response to the need for adaptable, flexible instrumental music for musicians at the earliest stage of their education.



"COUNT TO TEN is a special piece. One of my missions is to convince directors of beginning students to think outside of the box for the benefit and retention of their students. How about trying to reach kids who don't "buy in" to the method book or countless similar-sounding tunes? Don't get me wrong, these books/tunes have a place in the repertoire library, but they shouldn't be the only thing. Electroacoustic track, various meters and counting out loud are elements that could spark more interest for some kids, and knowing pieces such as COUNT TO TEN exist may be the thing that convinces them to stay in band. Diversified repertoire at the very beginning level IS possible and we owe it to our students to provide that for them."

Mary Cogswell
Camelot Intermediate Band Director
Brookings, SD
Beginning Band Adaptable Series co-editor







Enjoy watching two back-to-back performances
of the slower, and then MUCH FASTER
vocals-only versions of COUNT TO TEN
performed by memory
by the 4th & 5th Grade students of
Whitewater Unified School District
Lincoln Elementary School in Whitewater, WI
directed by Christine Hayes.






Read the heartwarming article that Wisconsin School Music Association State Chair and music educator Christine Hayes wrote for the April 2022 issue of Wisconsin School Musician about her 360 experience bringing electroacoustic music, mixed meters, and Alex Shapiro into the lives of her elementary school students at Lincoln Elementary School, Whitewater Unified School District: Read


Posted with permission of Wisconsin School Music Association, as published in Wisconsin School Musician, April 2022.


Hayes article-WMEA



Here's a spirited string orchestra performance in June 2024 by the students of the Fort Bend ISD Middle School Summer Orchestra Camp Vivaldi Orchestra, conducted by Donald Hale at Sartartia Middle School in Sugar Land, Texas:
















(email Alex for code access)

PERUSAL ONLY; not for performance or duplication.



8 1/2 x 11; 13 pages including cover and notes.

score, 8 1/2 x 11-single-side









By the time a person is four years old—long before their first fun wind band class—they can count to ten. So I've never understood why beginning music students are only given pieces in rigid, sometimes plodding, 4/4, 3/4 or 2/4 meters. Music, like life, is neither rigid nor plodding (well, at least not interesting music!). Thus, COUNT TO TEN is my contribution to the repertoire for beginning musicians who have a lifetime of wonderful, compelling pieces ahead of them that will be filled with chromaticism, syncopations, and mixed meters.


With its built-in drone and percussion parts, the piece is designed to sound good acoustically, but it will sound many times better when the students are paired with any of the cinematic-style accompaniment tracks—especially the "Full" version that combines all three elements of the percussion (strong downbeats and steady quarter beats), the Bb drone (for tuning and atmosphere), and the groove ostinati weaving through the music and adding a modern syncopation.


The premise is simple: count up, then down again from a grand peak of 9/4. This is not a time signature I would normally choose even for professionals, because it's easier to read subdivisions. But there's an important and purely psychological reason I opted for it here: if beginning musicians can achieve playing in 9/4, it may forever dispel any fear they'll have of large meters, and playing in 5, and maybe even in 7, will seem like a relative breeze. In other words, in addition to being a primer for contemporary repertoire, COUNT TO TEN is a middle school psyche-out: if you can count to ten, you certainly can count to nine!




PROGRAM BIO for Alex Shapiro Photo and bio

Alex Shapiro bio and photos










With the goal of giving every teacher as many options and tools as possible, there are four accompaniment track options.


Three are for rehearsal purposes:

1. PULSE only (more interesting sounding than a metronome);
2. DRONE only (helpful with intonation);
3. PULSE plus DRONE.


The PERFORMANCE track is the most compelling and is for both rehearsal and performance. It includes the PULSE, DRONE, and GROOVE.


Each of these accompaniment tracks is offered at four tempi/durations: 120 bpm (1:06), 110 bpm (1:11), 100 bpm (1:18), and 90 bpm (1:27).


Additionally, there is a set of tracks at 152 bpm for more advanced musicians!









TO BE USED IN PERFORMANCE (and rehearsal):



Percussion, Drone, and Groove tempo options:

120 bpm 110 bpm 100 bpm 90 bpm
Hear a demo of musicians and track
at 120bpm:
WAV file of demo at 120 bpm
Hear a demo of musicians
without any track at 120bpm:
WAV file of musicians-only demo at 120 bpm




TO BE USED FOR REHEARSAL (not performance):



Pulse only tempo options:

120 bpm 110 bpm 100 bpm 90 bpm
Hear a musicians-plus-pulse-only
demo at 120bpm:
WAV file of Pulse only demo at 120 bpm




Drone only tempo options:

120 bpm 110 bpm 100 bpm 90 bpm
Hear a musicians-plus-drone-only
demo at 120bpm:
WAV file of Drone only demo at 120 bpm




Pulse plus Drone tempo options:

120 bpm 110 bpm 100 bpm 90 bpm
Hear a musicians-plus-pulse-and-drone-only
demo at 120bpm:
WAV file of Pulse and Drone only demo at 120 bpm









Having the students play along with any of the audio tracks is optional, but the additional, cinematic sound makes everything sound better, and may inspire them even more!


Given the brevity of the piece, one effective concert suggestion is to have the ensemble first perform the slow version, immediately followed by the more exciting faster version!


With the goal of giving every teacher as many options and tools as possible, there are four accompaniment track options. The first three are for rehearsal purposes:

1. PULSE only (more interesting sounding than a metronome);
2. DRONE only (helpful with intonation);
3. PULSE plus DRONE.


The fourth track is the most compelling and is for performance, as well as rehearsal. It includes the PULSE, DRONE, and GROOVE.


The performance track includes a "ticking time bomb" kind of sound that gives a count-off and continues through the track. It also serves the function of a click, but is a little more interesting!


Each of these accompaniment tracks is offered at four tempi/durations: 120 bpm (1:06), 110 bpm (1:11), 100 bpm (1:18), and 90 bpm (1:27).


The initial performance goal is 120 bpm. There's no reason why musicians cannot also bring this up to the 152 bpm after that, and indeed, performing both versions back-to-back makes for a fun presentation!


The parts are designed to ensure that each of the students will interchangeably get to play the drone, play the moving line part, and singspiel the numbers of the time signatures. The percussionists play and singspiel simultaneously throughout the piece.


The singspiel may be vocalized as either a purely spoken number, or sung at the pitch indicated by the crosshead note, in any comfortable register. By the final 1/4 bars, musicians are invited to shout!


Each wind part contains an indication reminding wind students to raise their instrument up to their lips during their final measure of singspiel, in order to make a rhythmically smooth transition and quickly prepare their embouchure for sounding the first played note of the next bar. At the faster tempi, should students have any difficulty with this, it's fine if they don't vocalize the final number of the bar, thus allowing more preparation time. The percussionists will always be vocalizing the meter count.


Only one number between 1 and 9 in English has two syllables! It's psychologically easy for a student to slip into thinking of "seven" as two quarter notes, even though the music takes advantage of the word to use it as two eighth notes. Teachers may opt to have their students do as professional players sometimes do, especially at faster tempi: tell the musicians to say "set" instead of "seven". 


Interestingly, we pronounce the word "set", but it would really be spelled "sept", short for the Latin word for seven, "septum". This might raise fun questions about the month of September, inviting an explanation as to why the ninth month of the year is named after "seven". Supplemental teaching materials are available with COUNT TO TEN that delve into a variety of numeric and chronological topics, including the history of the modern-day Gregorian calendar and its predecessor, the Julian, or Roman calendar.









M. 20: all accents in Part 3 should be on beat 5 (as in m.19).


M. 22: Please add crescendos to Part 1, to match all other parts.










All of the accompaniment tracks include an audible eight beat countoff, including the track for performance, in which the click is designed to be heard by the audience.


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


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 helpful: a complete guide to the software and hardware setup for your ensemble room and performance venue.



pdf of tech guide









AND: for anyone creating a virtual performance recording: here's a guide to basic mixing techniques!


pdf of mixing guide









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.











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, will be 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.










Watch Richard Krishnan, the band director at the Joe Michell K-8 School in Livermore, CA, as he masterfully demonstrates his great idea of adding Boomwhackers to the percussion parts for COUNT TO TEN. Fantastic! If you have a full spectrum set of Boomwhackers and would like the part, email Alex!










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










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


Email Alex!





Musician Robby Burns and his son Thelonious, who knows how to count!

Musician and podcaster Robby Burns wrote, "My son Thelonious has requested that Count to Ten be played over and over again for the past 5-10 minutes. "Again!" he asked at the end of each time!".


Click the image to watch a toddler who's
already preparing for middle school band!



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