Sample woodwind methods syllabus

If you are teaching a woodwind methods course, you might be interested in my book.

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Shortly before the beginning of fall and spring semesters, I usually get a few emails from new university professors and adjuncts looking for advice and resources on teaching woodwind methods courses. I’m happy to hear from folks, but thought it might be helpful to make available a generic syllabus based on how I teach my class.

My class is 2 credits, and meets 50 minutes 3 times per week during an approximately 15-week semester. A few points of interest:

  • I cover all five major/modern woodwind families (flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, saxophone) within the single semester.
  • I do four units, with students playing a different instrument during each unit. Students who major in a woodwind instrument will play the four besides their major; everybody else plays just one of the double reeds. (In a perfect world I wouldn’t slight the double reeds this way, but there are some practical/logistical reasons.)
  • I teach my class with students playing a heterogeneous group of instruments, but since I use a concept-oriented approach this sequence should also work if you have everybody playing flute at the same time, etc.
  • I of course use my own book. Since I have students all playing different instruments, I pair it with a band method. If I were using a homogeneous group of instruments, I would swap out the band method for a series of individual methods.

Download the syllabus in your preferred format:


One response to “Sample woodwind methods syllabus”

  1. Ariel Detwiler Avatar
    Ariel Detwiler

    This is wonderful. I am so excited that you posted this as I am currently redesigning my first personalized syllabus for WW Tech and looking for examples of syllabi that I can take ideas from. I’d love to pick your brain about a lot of details within this dealing with major instruments, teaching multiple instruments at once (and providing materials like reeds or making students buy them separately), and class topic planning. When I started teaching the course, I was handed a syllabus written by someone else and told not to change it too much, with no direction in how to teach my first university course other than going through a basic orientation! I do think while the Dietz and Westphal and West are useful, you have a point in teaching mostly through experience and having a problem-solving approach. I got your book and will be considering using it next year. Thanks again!

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