Fifth anniversary

I always think that the worst blog posts are the ones where people blog about their blogs. So brace yourself. Sorry. I try not to indulge in this kind of thing too often.

Anyway, today is the fifth anniversary of my first, rather inauspicious blog post. (You might notice that I do have posts dated older than that; those are older writings, many from college courses, that I retroactively turned into blog posts.) Five years isn’t that long by most measures, but it seems that, in the sea of abandoned blogs out there, five years and still active isn’t something to take for granted.

I was working on a graduate degree in multiple woodwinds performance at the time this blog was born, and had read and reread everything I could find online about woodwind doubling, plus as many print sources as I could get my hands on. I will admit that the conceit did cross my mind that one day my website might be a primary web destination for woodwind doublers, and I flatter myself that that is now the case. Woodwind doublers form a fairly small club, but still the growth has been gratifying:

Five years of site traffic
Five years of site traffic

What excites me even more than the traffic is the engagement. I’ve been pleased and flattered to hear from many, many of you—everyone from young, aspiring doublers to old friends to colleagues in academia to musicians who are some of my real heroes. Thanks for your emails, blog comments, content contributionsdonations, and other shows of support.

A few other things I’m really proud of:

  • The big list of woodwind doubling requirements for Broadway (and Broadway-like) shows, which, naturally, started as a project when I should have been doing final studying for masters degree exams, and then spun hopelessly out of control. It now has over 1,000 shows listed (who even knew there were so many?). My web stats tell me that there are a surprising number of individuals who visit the list multiple times per day, every day. I find this insane yet somehow totally relatable. I am at the moment working on some big ideas on how to make the list an even better resource.
  • The Fingering Diagram Builder, which really pushed the limits of my meager programming skills, and has also made me really think through some things about fingering charts.
  • The Great Woodwind Doubler Census of 2011, which put me in touch with a shocking number of awesome people.
  • My reviews of various products, some of  which I have purchased and some of which people have sent to me for review purposes. I have tried to write the kind of obsessively-detailed reviews that I like reading, and, more recently, to give the maker opportunities to respond. I’ve also turned down a number of offers for review samples, in an attempt to keep things focused on woodwind stuff. If you have a product that you think might be specifically of interest to my readers, I’m happy to hear from you. I don’t really do albums unless they notably involve woodwind doubling.
  • My old article on what woodwind instruments are made of, which people link to on a regular basis in the middle of heated online arguments. (Had I realized what a frequently-linked item it would be, I guess I could have made the link shorter.)
  • My April Fools’ Day blog posts. They never get enough of a reaction to justify the effort I put into them, and it seems April Fools’ blog posts have become a cliché anyway. Don’t think for a moment that either of those factors will deter me.

Occasionally someone will suggest that I start an honest-to-goodness discussion forum here for woodwind doublers. I’ve toyed with the idea but I have some issues with forums and on balance I think I prefer this site to have my own voice. Your comments are still more than welcome.

I’ve also been approached about guest blog posts and collaborations, either by people who want to write things for my blog or who want me to write for theirs. For reasons similar to my forum objections, I’ve decided I’m not really into this idea. I’ve seen some admirable blogs diluted by poor guest posts, and I would rather not be in the position of having to tell people I don’t think their opinions are good. And I prefer to keep what I see as my own best stuff right here.

If you want to start your own blog, you can do it really quickly and easily and for free. It doesn’t require specialized computer knowledge (though you can get as nerdy with it as you like). If you start a new one or have an existing one, and it’s at least somewhat woodwind-related, let me know and I’ll include it on my list. There’s even a good chance that I follow it already in my feed reader—I at least skim over 450 woodwind-related blogs on an ongoing basis. One caveat: I won’t add yours to my list unless it has a syndication feed (such as RSS or Atom). Most blogs on common platforms offer this out-of-the-box. And please be cool, make it a full-text feed, not just an excerpt. It’s the 21st century, and people like to read things in their own way.

In any case, thank you for reading, and here’s hoping I’ve got another five years in me. Phew!


5 responses to “Fifth anniversary”

  1. Five years in blog years = fifty in the real world. Congrats. (& 350 in dog years, but who’s counting?)

  2. Congrats Bret! Because of your website, I was introduced into the wonderful world of “legit” doubling. I never knew about the other degree programs out there, and am glad that I found this site. Due to your site, I am working on a Multiple Woodwind Cognate at UNCG (along with a Theory Pedagogy Certificate). Keep up the great work!

  3. Congrats on the anniversary!

    Your website has helped me when me oboe and clarinet students have questions that I’ve never even though about.

    I appreciate your blog!!!

  4. Geoff Allen Avatar
    Geoff Allen

    Congratulations. Here’s to 25 more!

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