I am starting what hopefully will be my final year in pursuit of a doctoral degree in multiple woodwinds performance (flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, and saxophone). Today I kicked off five days of written comprehensive exams. In addition to a musicology exam and a music theory exam, I have been preparing for woodwind-related test questions such as these:
- Define and explain the following pedagogical concepts, and thoroughly explain.
- Give a thorough history of the [instrument] from its earliest days to the present. Include important performers and pedagogues, compositions, mechanical developments, and so forth.
- List [x] pieces for [instrument] and [piano, orchestra, chamber group, unaccompanied, etc.]. Fully describe each piece, including dates of composition, composer’s biographical details, title of each movement, difficulties of the solo and accompaniment parts, and other relevant details.
- List [x] pieces for [wind quintet, reed trio, Harmoniemusik, saxophone quartet, etc.] and provide all relevant details.
- Give biographical data of the following [performers, pedagogues, composers, instrument makers, etc.] and describe their contributions to the instrument, its music, and its performance tradition.
- List and discuss important orchestral excerpts for [instrument].
One day down, and so far, so good. I think.