Posts in category “Uncategorized”

February 16, 2017

Why scales?

I recently asked one of my (woodwind) students why she thinks I make her practice scales. She didn’t have a ready answer, and I realized maybe I hadn’t been clear about the value of scales. Here are some reasons to practice scales (and arpeggios, and other methodical technical materials): To develop good finger movement. Scales provide ...

January 31, 2017

Favorite blog posts, January 2017

Hand-picked high-quality woodwind-related blog posts from around the web, January 2017 edition.

January 18, 2017

Staying challenged

I teach a small woodwind studio at a small university. That means that sometimes especially talented and hardworking students find they don’t have a lot of competition for ensemble placements, awards, and other things. Here’s what I suggest to students in that position, who want to stay motivated and challenged but have bumped up against ...

January 7, 2017

Musicians should embrace carry-on baggage fees

People are outraged over an airline’s announcement that its cheapest fares will no longer cover carry-on baggage. (This isn’t the first time that airlines have charged fees for carry-on bags.) My experience flying with musical instruments as carry-ons has been stressful at best. This passage from an economics textbook rings true to me: The battle begins in the gate ...

December 31, 2016

2016 in review

Here are some of the things that went on here at your favorite woodwind blog during the past year, and some things to look for in 2017. My biggest “hits” in terms of site visits and social media response were Please stop telling you clarinet students to tighten their embouchures, A few thoughts on the new Roland Aerophone ...

December 14, 2016

Responding to free or low-paying gigs

Here are some sample scripts for phone calls or emails about "gigs" that pay nothing, or not enough.

December 7, 2016

What I would do differently as a college music major

Believe it or not, some of my college students make mistakes that seem somehow familiar. If I could go back to college (and graduate school) and do it all over, here are a few things I might choose to do differently. Embrace my teachers’ approaches. As readers of this blog know, I tend to be a bit ...

November 30, 2016

Favorite blog posts, November 2016

Hand-picked high-quality woodwind-related blog posts from around the web, November 2016 edition.

November 15, 2016

Simple and effective cues

Beginners to this often work much too hard at cueing, trying to execute movements that are large, elaborate, and confusing.

November 8, 2016

Woodwinds and “altissimo” registers

I recently had a saxophone student perform a repertoire piece with some altissimo technique in it, and a non-woodwind-playing musician asked me afterward about the instrument’s extended range. This led to further questions about “altissimo” on other instruments. The answers are a little complicated, but here is some information: The term “altissimo” suggests an extreme high ...