November 22, 2016

Student-selected online woodwind pedagogy articles, 2016 edition

What I want my class to get from the assignment is a sense of how to sift through the information ("information") available online, taking into account the author's credentials or sources, a common-sense evaluation of ideas, and applicability to a particular teaching situation. Be careful out there.

November 15, 2016

Simple and effective cues

Beginners to this often work much too hard at cueing, trying to execute movements that are large, elaborate, and confusing.

November 8, 2016

Woodwinds and “altissimo” registers

I recently had a saxophone student perform a repertoire piece with some altissimo technique in it, and a non-woodwind-playing musician asked me afterward about the instrument’s extended range. This led to further questions about “altissimo” on other instruments. The answers are a little complicated, but here is some information: The term “altissimo” suggests an extreme high ...

October 31, 2016

Favorite blog posts, October 2016

Hand-picked high-quality woodwind-related blog posts from around the web, October 2016 edition.

October 18, 2016

Solo/chamber stage etiquette for first-year music majors

Here’s what I teach my first-year music majors as they are preparing for their first public performance of solo or chamber repertoire. Customs may vary in your area. Dress professionally and comfortably. Formalwear/eveningwear is overkill and a distraction for most music major recital performances. For men, I recommend a necktie and preferably also a jacket. For ...

October 13, 2016

Accents and the tongue (or not)

As a follow-up to my previous post on the role of the tongue in articulation, I would like to address the problem of accents. When I hear my students playing heavy, thumpy accents, I ask them how they are playing the accents. The answer is usually the same: “tongue harder?” But when the tongue is properly ...

October 11, 2016

“Starting” notes with the tongue

There's a common misconception about woodwind articulation, that notes somehow "start" with the tongue. So, how do you start notes with your tongue? Does your tongue somehow strike the reed, making it vibrate?

September 30, 2016

Bret on the Clarineat podcast

I had the pleasure of appearing on Sean Perrin’s Clarineat podcast. We talked about my blog, teaching, woodwind doubling, and more. Visit Clarineat.com to listen and subscribe, or search for it in iTunes or your favorite podcast app. Join the mailing list, too, to win a fancy ligature or future giveaways (plus stay up to date on ...

September 30, 2016

Favorite blog posts, September 2016

Hand-picked high-quality woodwind-related blog posts from around the web, September 2016 edition.

September 25, 2016

Recital videos, August 2016

I performed a recital with a faculty colleague on our campus at Delta State University, and again at the University of Mississippi (“Ole Miss”). Program and videos are below. The idea behind the first half was to play Paris Conservatory competition pieces from 1916 (100 years ago). The Büsser and Lefebvre pieces are not unknown, and the Fauré ...