Posts in category “Woodwind playing and pedagogy”

June 20, 2018

Voicing and clarinet undertones

A few months ago I shared a list of published opinions on how to avoid undertones on the clarinet. Many of the ideas shared by the distinguished authors seemed like just descriptions of good basic clarinet technique (“ensure correct, stable embouchure formation,” “establish breath support/air pressure before releasing tongue”). I agree that the most important ...

May 24, 2018

Q&A: Woodwind doubling

Answers to questions submitted for the blog's 10th anniversary.

May 24, 2018

Q&A: Reeds

Answers to questions submitted for the blog's 10th anniversary.

May 24, 2018

Q&A: Voicing

Answers to questions submitted for the blog's 10th anniversary.

May 24, 2018

Q&A: Instrument purchases

Answers to questions submitted for the blog's 10th anniversary.

May 7, 2018

Saxophone low notes

The saxophone's lowest notes can be notoriously unresponsive. For the best chance at successful low notes, here's what you will need.

March 17, 2018

Avoiding clarinet undertones: published techniques

Clarinet "undertones" or "grunts" are the unpleasant low sounds that happen usually at the beginning of tongued upper-clarion-register notes (about written G to C, above the staff). My sense is that there isn't a lot of consensus or clarity among clarinetists about how exactly to prevent this.

March 7, 2018

A minimal Little-Jake electric bassoon setup

Be sure to check out my recent interview with Trent Jacobs, the inventor of the Little-Jake bassoon/woodwind pickup. During the past year I got myself a Little-Jake to experiment with some electrified bassoon playing. I didn’t know much about using electronics in this way, and it took some research and trial-and-error to figure out exactly ...

February 13, 2018

“Problems” vs. solutions

I often see this kind of thing in woodwind pedagogical books, workshop handouts, and lecture notes: Common clarinet problems embouchure too loose chin not flat fingers not curved enough This bothers me because it’s really not clear that these are “problems.” Would you have a student tighten a “too loose” embouchure if they sound great ...

February 7, 2018

Stale air

The “stale air” phenomenon afflicts oboists (sometimes clarinetists and others). It can be hard to relate to if you haven’t experienced it. Here’s how it happens. (The “math” and “science” here are very simplified for clarity.) The oboist breathes in a lungful of air. The air is about 20% oxygen and 80% other gases. The ...
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