July 12, 2017

Recording your practicing

“Record yourself when you practice” is common advice, and good advice. I frequently recommend it to my students, but few of them do it. I think it can seem overwhelming. Recording seems like a big production: getting the material to performance level, using complicated and expensive equipment, playing beginning to end, doing cruelly thorough analysis ...

July 7, 2017

Buy intonation, not tone

How exciting to try out new instruments (or mouthpieces or headjoints or barrels or…) and to find one that really has a great sound! It’s a rite of passage for the young woodwind player, trying out a parade of shiny new possibilities, surrounded by parents, a private teacher, friends, and a salesperson with dollar signs ...

June 30, 2017

Favorite blog posts, June 2017

Hand-picked high-quality woodwind-related blog posts from around the web, June 2017 edition.

June 29, 2017

Random Note Picker, version 0.3

The Random Note Picker web app got a facelift and a few new features. I use this mostly for quizzing my students on their scales. Two features added by popular request: a timer function, so you can generate new groups of random notes every few seconds hands-free, and (optional) double-flats/double-sharps. Check it out, and send ...

June 12, 2017

Woodwind doubling on both oboe and bassoon

Mid- to late-20th-century music written for woodwind doublers, such as musical theater “books,” largely solidified around three main types of doubling specialists. The most common of these is the clarinet/saxophone/flute player. Less common but still widely used are the oboist with passable single reed skills, and the “low reeds” bassoon/bass clarinet/baritone saxophone player. In the ...

June 7, 2017

How are you going to improve this?

Practicing without a plan rarely produces the desired results.

May 31, 2017

Favorite blog posts, May 2017

Hand-picked high-quality woodwind-related blog posts from around the web, May 2017 edition.

May 25, 2017

New book! Woodwind Basics: Core concepts for playing and teaching flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, and saxophone

I'm pleased to announce the release of my book, Woodwind Basics: Core concepts for playing and teaching flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, and saxophone. I wrote it with woodwind methods/techniques classes in mind, but I think it also works well as a reference for private teachers at any level, or for woodwind players, especially woodwind doublers.

May 19, 2017

Staying motivated for summer practicing

For musicians on an academic schedule, summers are often wide open. This can be a great opportunity to get ahead, or a bottomless pit of procrastination and idleness. Here are some ideas for staying motivated to get some summer practicing done.

May 13, 2017

Quick flute switches and embouchure problems for woodwind doublers

Lots of woodwind doubler horror stories have to do with quick switches to flute or piccolo. (“Twenty minutes of hard-driving R&B tenor saxophone, then two bars to switch to flute and enter pianissimo in the third octave…”) Doublers in this situation often beat themselves up about perceived deficiencies in their flute embouchures, and commit to even ...
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