A few woodwind blogs you should be reading

Photo, alcomm

If you’re a woodwind player and avid blog reader, you’re likely already following some prominent and popular bloggers like oboist Patty Mitchell (oboeinsight), flutist Jennifer Cluff, and clarinetists David Thomas (The Buzzing Reed) and Marion Harrington.

I read and enjoy all of these, but I would also like to suggest a few others that are particular favorites of mine. These are ones that I think have a somewhat smaller readership, although there’s not a good way to know that without asking nosy questions. So I could be wrong, but I’m guessing that some of these may be new to you. Check them out, and let us know in the comments what else you’re reading.

Also, read to the bottom for a couple of tips on reading blogs like you know what you’re doing.

In no particular order…

Jennet Ingle (Pronoboe)

Jennet writes about life, motherhood, and, of course, oboe playing. Her oboe-related posts are consistently well-thought-out, insightful, and inspiring. For proof you need look no further than a couple of her most recent entries (one published earlier today):

I also really liked:

  • The Unfussy Oboist – a manifesto for leaving reed issues and personal insecurities at home.

Betsy Sturdevant (Bassoon Blog)

Betsy is the principal bassoonist of the Columbus Symphony, and her blog is, literally, a bassoonist’s-eye view of the world of orchestral playing. Almost every post features photographs of her orchestral bassoon parts in situ on the music stand, often with visible pencil marks. She discusses the excerpts and offers tips on practicing and playing them.

David Freeman (David Freeman Music)

It’s hard to point to a specific post on David’s blog that sums up why it’s so interesting. Instead, jump back a while in the archives and start reading the posts in sequence. What emerges is an honest, human account of life as a gigging musician. David chronicles experiences with various Atlanta-area bands and one-off gigs. He writes in equal parts about successes and failures, and doesn’t pull any punches.

Steve Goodson (The Saxgourmet Daily Picayune-Intellegencier and Journal Express)

Steve Goodson is the mad scientist of saxophones. His blog functions largely to promote his products (saxophones, mouthpieces, and such), with which I’ll confess I have little personal experience. But whether you’re looking to buy or not, the blog is a must-read for Steve’s relentless tinkering with saxophone design. Many posts include an unscripted video with Steve behind the camera and one of his clients test-playing his latest brainchild. Here’s a taste:

Update 8/19/2010: I had the pleasure of speaking with Steve on the phone about his work. He is quite a nice guy and took the time to call me, thank me for the mention, and tell me about some of his projects. One thing he pointed out, that I was aware of from his blog but which I failed to make clear: his Category Five tenors, despite their high price, are selling out with each (small) production run. He also told me that the innovative stuff that shows up in his videos represents about 10% of his experiments—the other 90% is apparently too cool and/or crazy even for YouTube.

Imani Winds

This is a new blog by the rock star members of wind quintet the Imani Winds. They mix promotional materials with more personal items, including favorite TV shows and recipes. Recently oboist Toyin Spellman-Diaz posted a couple of brief and excellent oboe tips—I hope these will become a regular feature, and maybe the rest of the group will get in on it too.

Pro tip #1: Subscribe to your favorites

If you’re interested in current conversations on woodwind-related topics, you need to be using something like Google Reader to keep track of your favorites. When you’re visiting a favorite blog and see a symbol like this…

…you can click on it to add that blog to Google Reader (or another favorite blog reader), and keep track of new blog posts all in one place.

Especially clever people can also subscribe selectively on some blogs. For example, if you are browsing my oboe-related articles, you have the option of subscribing only to articles tagged as oboe-oriented:

Pro tip #2: Engage your favorite bloggers

Don’t just read—respond! Most blogs allow you to leave comments. This opens up conversations, adds value to your favorite bloggers’ writings, and can also generate interest in your own blog or website. If public commenting isn’t your style, consider sending an email to let your favorite bloggers know you’re reading and enjoying. Let them know what you liked and what you’d like to see more of.

Have fun!


6 responses to “A few woodwind blogs you should be reading”

  1. I’ll start with Pro tip #2 and say great article! This blog has been in my RSS feed for some time, but I’ve been looking for more music/woodwind blogs to get in to. I will certainly repost on my blog for my readers (both of them!).

    1. Thanks, David! I’ve had you in my RSS reader, too, but just realized I neglected to include you in my blogroll—I’ve corrected that now.

      I was just thinking about your post about the jazz bucket list, since I moved about a year ago to the Mississippi Delta region and haven’t gotten out much yet to see the blues history sites. Time to update my list!

  2. Bret, thanks for the mention! I didn’t know about your blog, but I will be reading you now! (Which supports your tip #2, now, doesn’t it?)

    1. Thanks, Jennet! Nice of you to stop by.

      And seriously, folks, if you’re not reading Jennet’s stuff, you’re missing out. Surf on over and thank me later.

  3. Thanks for mentioning my bassoon blog! I was also pleased to read Pro tip #2: engage your favorite bloggers. I’ve heard people refer to my “website” and I have to explain that it’s not a website; it’s a blog, and that’s because I want it to be interactive!

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Betsy! Your post from yesterday is a perfect example of why I included you on this list.

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