July 28, 2018

How to write boring program notes

Things to include in your program notes for maximum boredom: More than a sentence (two, tops) of general biography on the composer. Unremarkable facts about the piece’s structure (sonata form! key of F!). A blow-by-blow description (first there is a kind of sad theme! it starts out low and soft but then it gets higher ...

July 13, 2018

Reedmaking and choosing your college oboe or bassoon professor

If you're considering a school where you might study with someone who isn't a performer on your double reed instrument, it would be worthwhile to find out their plan for teaching you reedmaking.

July 7, 2018

Problem-specific vs. general solutions

I hinted at this idea in my recent post about clarinet undertones: 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”). … If you can play with a beautiful, characteristic tone, mostly in tune, ...

June 30, 2018

Favorite blog posts, June 2018

Hand-picked high-quality woodwind-related blog posts from around the web, June 2018 edition.

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 ...

June 13, 2018

The value of chamber ensembles in music degrees

My students learn to follow a conductor in their large ensembles, and how to work with a pianist on their individual repertoire. (The latter is a situation in which—unfortunately—the piano part is sometimes treated as secondary to the “solo” part.) But in chamber ensembles they learn how to make music in a group of equals, ...

June 7, 2018

Not majoring in music

I was a very committed college music major. I had picked music as a career years earlier. Being a music student felt like a central aspect of who I was. While I did struggle at times, and had other (perhaps more widely marketable) skills I could have fallen back on, quitting the music-major track never ...

May 31, 2018

Favorite blog posts, May 2018

Hand-picked high-quality woodwind-related blog posts from around the web, May 2018 edition.

May 24, 2018

Tenth anniversary

Today makes ten years since I started the blog. At the five-year mark I did a little retrospective, and I don’t think there’s much need to do it again. Basically the things I was excited about and proud of then are the things I’m excited about and proud of now. Other than publishing my book, ...

May 24, 2018

Q&A: The big picture

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