Favorite blog posts, January 2023

See the woodwind blogs I’m following, and suggest others!

Out-of-tune accents

selective focus beige and brown goat

Young woodwind players often have trouble playing elegant, well-controlled accents. Accented notes are too often thumpy and out of tune. The most common manifestations are accented notes that are too flat, or that scoop up to pitch. This is usually a side effect of the mistaken idea that accented notes should be tongued “harder.” The … Read more

Favorite blog posts, December 2022

Hand-picked high-quality woodwind-related blog posts from around the web, December 2022 edition.

Review: ClariMate digital clarinet mute by Buffet-Crampon

Bottom line: the ClariMate is an interesting gadget with potential for various uses, but it’s a little rough around the edges. Consider buying one now as a tech toy if you’re an early-adopter type, or wait for a new-and-improved iteration if you need something that just works. I recently got my hands on the “ClariMate,” … Read more

What college professors don’t know about their music department colleagues

hands playing the golden saxophone

I’m a music professor, and I find there are sometimes disconnects between the music faculty and the faculty in other departments. Of course not every institution is the same, and even areas of concentration within music can have differing roles and expectations, but here’s what sometimes surprises my non-music colleagues about my particular job: Check … Read more

Favorite blog posts, November 2022

Hand-picked high-quality woodwind-related blog posts from around the web, November 2022 edition.

What kind of ligature should I get?

I’m on record as believing that clarinet and saxophone ligatures make little if any actual difference in how you sound. You’re welcome to disagree, but you might want to watch Michael Lowenstern’s video about it first. So, assuming the ligature has little direct influence on sound, what is the best kind to buy? Consider the … Read more

Why doesn’t my new mouthpiece work?

a person s hand holding saxophone mouthpiece

So you bought a new mouthpiece! How exciting. But wait—it’s not playing as well as you hoped. Maybe it squeaks, or some (or all) notes don’t come out very well, or the tuning is weird. Let’s consider some possible reasons why: A good rule of thumb is that a mouthpiece can’t give you skills, talent, … Read more

Playing at professional volume

stressed black girl covering ears

One thing I notice about a lot of my younger university students is that they play softly. Sometimes they seem reluctant to play above what I might consider about a mezzo piano. If I ask, many of them reveal that they spent their formative years in school band programs getting The Hand from their directors. … Read more