Last fall, I had students in my university woodwind methods course select, evaluate, and vote on some online woodwind pedagogy resources they might like to use as future public school music teachers. (My blog is off-limits.) Once again, I’m going to share a sort of edited/curated version of the results.
This year, the votes got spread around quite a bit, but there were three articles that the class especially liked:
- Top 10 (+) Things That Beginning Clarinet Players Do Wrong and How to Correct Them, by Marilyn Mattei. My students were impressed with the troubleshooting ideas and solutions-oriented thinking. They successfully identified some areas that differ from what I teach in class, and made some thoughtful comments weighing the differences. They thought, correctly, that some of the exercises and techniques would be best used in a private lesson or sectional, rather than in a full beginning band rehearsal.
- Teaching the Beginning Bassoonist, by Terry Ewell. This is a repeat favorite from last year. (I may need to figure out a way to ensure that future classes don’t just recycle previous years’ selections from these blog posts.) My students appreciated the provided lesson plans, the level of detail, and the reassuring tone directed toward non-bassoonist band directors.
- The Flute Embouchure, by Bradley Garner. Students liked the depth of information, but disagreed on its presentation: some found the text clear and straightforward, but others found it dense reading.
A number of other articles got fewer votes. I’m listing, without additional comment and in no particular order, a few of those that I agree are worth a look:
- This annotated bassoon fingering chart
- Christa Garvey’s blog posts on embouchure and on breathing
- This article on the clarinet and the “break” [update: link dead]
- Some tips from Christina Guenther on teaching beginning flute
- Thomas J. West’s suggestions for non-clarinetists teaching the clarinet [update: link dead]
What I want my class to get from the assignment is a sense of how to sift through the information (“information”) available online, taking into account the author’s credentials or sources, a common-sense evaluation of ideas, and applicability to a particular teaching situation. Be careful out there.