Free woodwind sheet music on the IMSLP

IMSLP logoThe Internet Music Score Library Project is an online library of public-domain sheet music. Most of the available music is in PDF format and can be freely downloaded. The files are uploaded by users, mostly scanned from published sheet music that falls into the public domain. This means mostly compositions that are old enough to be public domain, in published editions that are also old enough to be public domain.

This is a fantastic resource for finding older editions of woodwind solo pieces, chamber music, and orchestral parts.

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Why musicians cost money

I very much appreciate this brief article by trumpet player Jeff Purtle: Why Do Musicians Charge? Mr. Purtle makes the point that it costs a lot of money to be a musician. This is painfully true for woodwind doublers, who need not only a large number of high-quality instruments, but also reeds, maintenance and repairs, insurance, stands, cases, and more for each instrument, not to mention the cost of lessons or even college or conservatory study.

I think the overhead costs of being an instrumentalist are a really important and valid point. But I do think are some more reasons why musicians should expect to be compensated fairly for what they do:

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Videos: John Miller, Broadway music contractor

I’ve been really enjoying these videos of John Miller. Mr. Miller (not to be confused with the eminent bassoonist) does much of the contracting of the musicians who play in Broadway shows. In these videos, he is addressing a group of his fellow bass players, but everything he has to say is highly applicable to woodwind players and anyone else who wants to make money playing their instrument(s).

John Miller
John Miller, bassist and NYC contractor

He talks about what kind of musicians he likes to hire, what is expected of a professional musician on the New York City scene, and lots more.

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Trade in your old reeds for new Ricos

This is an interesting promotion from Rico Reeds. Send in 10 of your rejected non-Rico reeds and get 10 Ricos of your choice, either a box of 10 or, it seems, possibly two boxes of 5. I have claimed my mail-in coupon online and will be sending off some reeds shortly. I considered waiting until the deal was done before blogging it, but you have to obtain your coupon by April 6, so I figured it was worth giving the early heads-up.

I haven’t used any Rico products in a while, but I’ve got no shortage of rejects among my current favorite brands, so it seems worthwhile to get some freebies to try out.

free Rico reeds

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From Google: Lord of the Rings on whistle, low A on bassoon, woodwind commonalities

Classes are canceled today due to a freak snowstorm in my little Southern college town. (Typical yearly snowfall: 0 inches. Yesterday’s snowfall: 5 inches.) So instead of teaching a woodwind methods class and rehearsing on contrabassoon with the university’s Wind Ensemble, I thought I would take a few minutes to do something I’ve been seeing some of my favorite bloggers do lately.

With some simple traffic-tracking tools, I can see what Google searches are leading people to my website. Most times, to my satisfaction, their search brings them to highly relevant content on my site. Other times I know they are not finding quite what they are looking for. So I’d like to address a selection of the searches that have brought people here unsuccessfully lately, and hopefully future searchers will find what they are after.

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MS Word music hack: Automatic sharps, flats, and naturals

[This is an old version. Check out my newer post for instructions for Word 2016.]

Here’s how to set up Microsoft Word to automatically insert sharp, flat, and natural signs for you. Instructions are for Word 2007 running on Windows Vista, and may need to be adapted slightly for your setup.

example

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Rampal on flutist/flautist

Jennifer Cluff posted this video on her excellent blog today:

I think Ms. Cluff’s commentary is right on the mark.

But I’ll admit the thing that jumped out to me was the brief conversation between Jean-Pierre Rampal and Dick Cavett, at about 5:10. Rampal takes a stand on the flutist/flautist thing, which is a big pet peeve of mine.

Doubling reminders for the day

Non-doublers often seem to think that the most amazing thing about doubling is keeping all the fingerings straight. I don’t find that to be a major problem; the keywork of each instrument feels different enough in my hands that I think I tend to switch into the right fingering mode automatically.

It’s the other stuff that’s a problem. I find I often need to give myself a few reminders as I’m setting down one instrument and picking up the next. Here’s the stuff that has been going through my mind lately—maybe one or more of these will click for you, too.

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Review: The Woodwind Player’s Cookbook

I’ve been reading The Woodwind Player’s Cookbook, published last year by Meredith Music and edited by Charles West. It’s a collection of 57 pedagogical essays by a pretty impressive roster of woodwind folks. You can download the table of contents here to see the authors and titles.

Most of the articles deal with technique fundamentals on specific instruments, which should make this book valuable to school band directors, but it also works quite well as a handbook for woodwind doublers; in fact, there are several articles that deal specifically with doubling, by Mike Duva, James Nesbit, Elsie Parker, and Albert Regni.

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Eight live microphone tips for woodwind players

If you are a classically-trained woodwind player, playing into a microphone might be a new experience for you.

A rock band that I play in (flute and saxophone) does a lot of shows in small clubs and bars, and the sound guy (or girl—I’m using “sound guy” from here on out, with gender-neutral intent) is usually used to miking vocals, guitar amps, and drum sets, and may or may not know what to do with a woodwind instrument. I can often help things along, and make sure the band and I sound our best, by coming armed with a small amount of knowledge.

Here are some basic tips for looking and sounding like you know what you’re doing. I’m assuming here that you’re not doing anything fancy gear-wise (there are plenty of options if you want to buy a clip-on mic), just showing up with your instrument and using the venue’s basic sound equipment.

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