Here are some of the things that went on here at your favorite woodwind blog during the past year.
- The runaway hit of the year in terms of sharing on Facebook/Twitter/etc. was my look at “the amazing shrinking woodwind section,” a sort of commentary on how woodwind doubling has changed since the mid-20th-century “Golden Age” of Broadway. Some more doubling-related items: a look at the clarinet for saxophone players, a musing on playing multiple woodwinds in recital, and the question of the “main” instrument.
- A number of the other articles that got a lot of traffic and social media love were related to practice techniques and philosophies: one on what I call “anchoring,” one listing some ways to practice technical passages, one about memorizing, one about knowing whether you are playing something “right,” and one about just plain slowing down. Most of these, of course, originate from conversations with my students. We have a lot of conversations about practicing.
- Some articles, as always, dealt with specifics of woodwind playing, like one about chronic flatness on the clarinet and one about saxophone hand position.
- I reported on a few items from my professional life, such as a visit to ClarinetFest, the presentation I gave there, and the fact of my doctoral dissertation becoming available online. I also shared some warts-and-all videos from a multiple woodwinds recital performance.
- I did twelve new installments of my “favorite blog posts” from other people’s woodwind blogs. At this point I have well over 500 woodwind-related blogs in my feed reader, and I at least skim every new post. Many of my favorite posts end up coming from a relatively small handful of extra-good blogs, but that’s not a foregone conclusion and sometimes a dark horse slips in there. If you think I might not be following your blog yet, let me know and I’ll check it out. It has to be at least somewhat woodwind-related and have a syndication feed such as RSS or Atom (most blogging platforms like WordPress or Blogger already have these built in). On a related topic, I’m a little behind on updating my various lists of woodwind players’ sites and blogs (such as the woodwind doublers list), but I’m hoping to catch up in 2o15. Feel free to get in touch if you feel like your site should be listed but isn’t and I’ll give it priority consideration.
- I did one set of “required recordings” in January, but skipped August this year since my university reed studio has turned over since I started the required recordings and so I’m in reruns now. When I end up picking some new ones for my students, I’ll share them with y’all too.
- There has been a lot of discussion about the problem of musicians being expected to give away their performance talents for free, but I also felt the need to address the idea of original content like blog posts being used by for-profit companies without actual compensation to the creators. This was a reaction to being approached by a woodwind-related company whose products I have purchased frequently over the years, to see if I would like to let them re-“print” some of my blog posts on their website in exchange for what they called “exposure.” I refused but I have witnessed a number of friends and acquaintances boasting about their content being “selected” for this dubious honor. If you are creating original content, I encourage you not to give it away to businesses that do not intend to share their profits with you, even if they try to make it seem like a compliment.
- Another year, another April Fools’ Day post that apparently nobody liked but me. I remain undeterred.
- I reviewed Ben Britton’s new saxophone overtones book and the ReedGeek tool.
- There weren’t any major updates this year to Broadway Doubling in Musicals or the Fingering Diagram Builder, two of this site’s most popular features, but I’m always tinkering with some new ideas. Stay tuned.
- As always, there were a few posts that I hoped might generate some lively conversation but didn’t. A couple that spring to mind were one about coaching student chamber ensembles and one about college music study on “auxiliary” instruments (like tenor saxophone or bass clarinet). It’s not too late if you want to chime in.
- I introduced some original t-shirt designs that are currently for sale to help support my activities on this blog, and a number of you fashion-forward people are already turning heads in your new woodwind-related apparel. If you don’t have yours yet, be sure to check them out.
If you have read anything interesting or useful here during the past year, I hope you will consider leaving a comment, getting in touch via email or social media, buying a shirt or sending a donation, contacting me about advertising opportunities for your relevant business, and/or pointing your all your woodwind friends toward bretpimentel.com.
Thanks for reading in 2014, and best wishes for the new year!