Favorite blog posts, March 2024

See the woodwind blogs I’m following, and suggest others!

Go ahead and use a fakebook

gold saxophone

I felt a lot of stress and pressure during my years in college and graduate school, about jazz and Learning Tunes. Nobody who is anybody uses a fakebook! You have to Learn the Tunes! Do you know All the Tunes? Why don’t you know More Tunes? My teachers told me I would never make it … Read more

What would go wrong if you played louder?

black smoke coming from fire

My university students are often, at least at first, quite timid about playing loudly. (This is probably a side effect of learning the instrument in a school band program. They learn to play quietly because their section is too loud. Or, they get the hand from a band director who doesn’t have the time or … Read more

Favorite blog posts, January 2024

Hand-picked high-quality woodwind-related blog posts from around the web, January 2024 edition.

How to do long tones (and why)

Long tones are at the core of most woodwind warmup routines. The most simple and obvious version is this: Simple sustained notes are good for developing consistent breath support, which is required to keep the long tone steady in pitch, volume, and tone color. (Some teachers also suggest them for developing “embouchure strength,” one of … Read more

Pedagogy appropriate to students’ level

little boy playing his flute on red background

I remember as a young college student attending a masterclass by a world-class musician. He was scornful of students spending a lot of time in practice rooms playing scales. He urged us instead to get outside and watch a sunset, and then “play the sunset.” Advice like that has its place. But I was doing … Read more