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 ...

September 22, 2016

The best practice routine

Lately I’ve been on a diet that has a weekly “cheat” day. Six days out of the week, my meals are Spartan, but on cheat day I get to eat whatever I want. My guess is that isn’t the ideal way to manage my waistline. I would be better off eating more regimented meals every day. But I ...

September 19, 2016

A few thoughts on the new Roland Aerophone AE-10

Don't get me wrong: it's great to see another company get into this space, and I hope they will seek to innovate further in wind controllers and push other companies to do the same. But Roland's new Aerophone AE-10 seems like a misstep.

September 12, 2016

Preparing for a multiple woodwinds recital

For over a decade, all of my solo recital performances have been on multiple woodwind instruments. Last month I performed (twice) a recital program with pieces played on flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, and three saxophones. Here are some of the things I do to prepare. Practice the physical changes. I opened my program with an oboe piece, ...

August 31, 2016

Favorite blog posts, August 2016

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