February 19, 2018

Interview: bassoonist and inventor Trent Jacobs

Last summer I finally got myself a Little-Jake setup so I could experiment with some electric bassoon playing. The inventor of the Little-Jake, Trent Jacobs, is a performer, educator, and reedmaker, and I’ve linked to his blog posts on a number of occasions. Trent was kind enough to answer a few questions about himself and ...

February 13, 2018

“Problems” vs. solutions

I often see this kind of thing in woodwind pedagogical books, workshop handouts, and lecture notes: Common clarinet problems embouchure too loose chin not flat fingers not curved enough This bothers me because it’s really not clear that these are “problems.” Would you have a student tighten a “too loose” embouchure if they sound great ...

February 7, 2018

Stale air

The “stale air” phenomenon afflicts oboists (sometimes clarinetists and others). It can be hard to relate to if you haven’t experienced it. Here’s how it happens. (The “math” and “science” here are very simplified for clarity.) The oboist breathes in a lungful of air. The air is about 20% oxygen and 80% other gases. The ...

January 31, 2018

Favorite blog posts, January 2018

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

January 27, 2018

Prepping the dumb guy

In the practice room, I'm smart, organized, and focused. But sometimes the smart guy from the practice room fails to show up, and instead a much dumber version of me ends up on the stage.

January 16, 2018

Some useful phrases for gig calls

Here are some phrases that have been useful to me when somebody calls about a gig. When dealing with other professionals (or working through the musicians’ union) mostly these aren’t necessary—the caller should give the needed info unprompted. But many of the gigs in my rural area are one-offs for weddings or school or business events, ...

January 4, 2018

Review: “Double Troubles” by Paul Saunders

A few months ago I wrote a review of So You Want to Play in Shows…?, a book of woodwind doubling etudes by Paul Saunders. Recently Paul sent me Double Troubles, a new collection of etudes. Like So You Want, the new volume includes a piano part plus access to downloadable backing tracks. As I said in the previous review: This is ...

December 31, 2017

2017 in review

Here are some highlights from the blog in 2017. The top new posts in terms of traffic and social sharing were: Review: D’Addario Select Jazz tenor saxophone mouthpieces Please lose the music binder Quick flute switches and embouchure problems for woodwind doublers Advice on graduate performance study and university teaching careers Buy intonation, not tone ...

December 31, 2017

Favorite blog posts, December 2017

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

December 13, 2017

What I listen for in scholarship auditions

It’s scholarship audition season again, which means I get to meet and listen to some very nervous high school seniors (and community college sophomores). My university is a small regional one, so our audition process probably isn’t as intense as some of the big name-brand music schools. If you’re preparing for an audition, you should definitely ...
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