- Flutist Nicole Riner assigns her students repertoire that reinforces skill development (a re-“print” from the 2012 A Flutist’s Handbook: Pedagogy Anthology Vol. 2).
- Oboist Stephen Caplan reconsiders concentration in performance.
- Bassoonist Barry Stees shares a simple but revealing way to test reeds.
- Flutist Jessica Dunnavant discusses her complicated relationship with university teaching.
- David Pierce considers a pedagogical order for the Vivaldi bassoon concertos (a re-“print” from a 1987 article in the Journal of the International Double Reed Society) [update: link dead].
- Oboist Jennet Ingle figures out how to give a good tuning A every time.
- Saxophonist Helen Kahlke avoids germs on the gig.
Favorite blog posts, May 2017
- Flutist Terri Sánchez blogged like crazy this month, with many downloadable exercises and practice ideas. A few I liked included this one-minute warmup, these harmonics exercises, these 100 ideas for getting “unstuck,” and this advice on creating your own warmups.
- Heather Roche shares some clarinet works by female composers. (Check the comments section for more.)
- Flutist Jolene Harju does an interesting video experiment with expressive body movements.
- Clarinetist Jenny Maclay suggests practicing recovery from mistakes.
- Ed Joffe shares his experience with developing a multiple woodwinds graduate degree program.
- Flutist Andrée Martin discusses priority scheduling for practicing and for life.
- Barry Stees offers some tips and tricks for playing low, soft orchestral bassoon parts.
- Flutist Vanessa Breault Mulvey shares ideas on being observant of your own playing [update: link dead].
- Saxophonist Sam Newsome recommends slow progress. He also shares some interesting experiments in “prepared” soprano saxophone.
- Cate Hummel warns against some small but problematic flute habits.
Favorite blog posts, February 2016
Some woodwind blog posts I liked in February:
- Bassoonist Barry Stees shares an interesting idea about reed autopsies, plus a method for practicing the Rite of Spring solo.
- Oboist Patty Mitchell has some advice for students who think they have unfixable technique problems.
- Rachel Taylor Geier has some suggestions if you need more flute etudes to work on.
- Saxophonist Andy Austin discusses the role of passion in pursuing a musical career.
- Specific instrument brand/model recommendations should always be taken with a grain of salt, but woodwind doubler Josh Johnson discusses the importance of backup instruments, plus some of the issues involved with choosing instruments for situations where crack-proofness is important.
- Clarinetist Meri Dolevski-Lewis shares a process for developing sight-transposition skills [update: link dead].
- Flutist Jennifer Cluff offers some ideas on increasing success on the problematic high B.
- Jolene Harju plays the flute with her feet. (Okay, it’s really a post about having “a grounded, rooted connection between the feet and the floor.”)
- Gaenor Burchett-Vass discovers some favorite treasures of the English horn repertoire [update: link dead].
- Clarinetist Sandy Herrera seeks a new balance between a musical career and family life after having a baby. (Congratulations, Sandy!)
Favorite blog posts, January 2016
Some nice work from woodwind bloggers in January:
- Some good advice on Matt Stohrer’s Open Source Saxophone Project on inspecting a used saxophone.
- Bassoonist Barry Stees suggests using multiple senses to improve technique.
- Joan Martí-Frasquier shares a thorough altissimo fingering chart for baritone saxophone, including quarter tones.
- Some good stuff from the D’Addario Reserve Method Program blog, including one from clarinetist Nick Councilor on some basics of ensemble etiquette and one from clarinetist Bradley Grasl on being your own teacher.
Don’t see your favorite blog here? (Your own, perhaps?) Make sure I know about it.
Favorite blog posts, October 2015
Lots of great woodwind blogging this month!
- Ben Britton shares some tips on jazz saxophone section playing. In a sort of related post, Bob Reynolds discusses note endings in section playing.
- Roderick Seed gives advice on getting a good middle E on the flute.
- Pauline at Cleonide discusses the (non?-)influence of instrument materials on tone. Unsurprisingly, the naysayers were quick to respond in the comments section with their unsupported arguments (as they have been on my own posts on this topic).
- Bassoonist Barry Stees offers some ideas for playing pianissimo.
- Clarinetist Jenny Maclay believes there is more to life than All-State auditions.
- Flutist Helen Bledsoe has a request for composers about articulation markings.
- Bassoonist Mike Macaulay shares thoughts on preparing orchestral parts.
- Saxophonist Peter Spitzer muses on the “bis” key.
- Bassoonist Jessi Vandagriff suggests raising your lesson fees.
- Saxophonist Bob Reynolds (again) relieves stress by practicing fundamentals.
Favorite blog posts, April 2015
- Oboist Patty Mitchell wrote so many good posts this month that I just couldn’t decide, so here’s one about getting over reed stress, one about not making excuses, and one about half-hole technique.
- Saxophonist Bill Plake discusses a problem with teaching and learning music.
- Clarinetist Sandy Herrera dares to set the metronome aside, sometimes.
- Barry Stees suggests a do-it-yourself fix for the problematic low D on bassoon.
- Clarinetist Rachel Yoder describes a system for quantifying practicing progress.
- William Short shares some lesser-known bassoon high note fingerings (with very attractive diagrams).
- “Vintage Clarinet Doctor” Jeremy Soule explains the difference between a re-pad and an overhaul.
Favorite blog posts, December 2014
Some highlights from the woodwind blogosphere in December:
- Cate Hummel discusses the qualities of a good beginner-level flute. Good advice for those willing to do their homework; not a glib list of models to buy (which would just go out of date quickly anyway).
- Bassoonist Cayla Bellamy finds inspiration to attempt the impossible.
- Saxophonist Bill Plake prefers a good teacher (or good self-teaching) over a rigid “method.”
- Doubler “ericdano” shares a list of favorite blogs (sort of jazz-saxophone-oriented) from the past year. Thanks for the mention!
- The always-insightful Barry Stees shares a tip for diagnosing and fixing (cheaply and easily!) a common bassoon defect.
- Sherman Friedland discusses the first three notes of the Debussy clarinet rhapsody (and more).
- “Komuso Lady” from A Shakuhachi Journey muses on intonation.
Favorite blog posts, November 2014
Here’s good stuff from the woodwind blogs in November. The flutists and bassoonists were especially busy this month.
- Barry Stees offers some suggestions on cleaning up bassoon articulation.
- Tammy Evans Yonce gives a brief review/introduction of the cool “Glissando Headjoint.”
- Meerenai Shim offers some do-it-yourself ergonomic flute customizations.
- Betsy Sturdevant learns something about bassoon reeds from Elvis. (Sort of.)
- Cate Hummel makes a suggestion on what to do with flute embouchure “corners.”
- The Flute Journal blog is rerunning some of Chris Vadala’s woodwind doubling columns from Saxophone Journal. This one’s title says “extended” flute techniques, but it’s really more of a basic flute articulation lesson for doublers.
- Trent Jacobs shares a proposal for amplifying the bassoon while maintaining its natural tone.
- Clarinetist Sherman Friedland shares some thoughts on testing instruments.
- Oboist Jennet Ingle finds a silver lining in a bad gig.
- The Powell Flutes Flute Builder blog gives us a peek at the engraving process.
Favorite blog posts, October 2014
Lots of very fine woodwind-related blog posts this month.
- Barry Stees exposes a common bassoon technique weakness (even for players at the highest level) and begins to explore solutions (promising more to come).
- Oboist Susan Laney Spector explains some of the difficulties musicians face in the highly-competitive world of orchestral auditions.
- Jennet Ingle has a breakthrough with an oboe student just by teaching some vocabulary.
- Saxophonist Bob Reynolds does some YouTube archaeology and shows the difference a couple of decades can make in musical maturity, even for a very accomplished player.
- Anna Norris and Nicolasa Kuster each share their experiences auditioning for the Chicago Symphony principal bassoon vacancy.
- Cate Hummel advises against the “kiss and roll” method of teaching flute.
- Oboist Patty Mitchell comments on practicing quantity vs. quality.
- Jennifer Cluff shares a methodical flute warmup.
- Flutist Katherine Emeneth shares a roundup of tips for “potent practicing.”
- Saxophonist Bill Plake explains how to approach technique a little less, well, technically.
- David Pierce rounds up some editions and recordings of the Mozart bassoon concerto.
- “The Phantom Clarinet” at the Adventures in Woodwindland blog explores the extended low register of the bassoon [update: link dead].
- Saxophonist Ben Britton reviews a new weird gadget that, to my surprise, seems to be getting a number of positive reviews. (I haven’t tried it.)
- On Powell Flutes’s Flute Builder blog: how a wooden headjoint is cut.
Favorite blog posts, April 2014
- Bassoonist Barry Stees continues his in-depth and insightful series on interpretation, with installments on motive and harmony.
- Flutist Cindy Ellis offers ten piccolo tips.
- Oboist Christa Garvey shares a breathing exercise for quieting performance nerves.
- Saxophonist Ben Britton experiments with some improved altissimo fingerings. And of course I would be remiss not to mention his very attractive saxophone fingering diagrams.
- Woodwind doubler Steve Moffet considers practicing instrument switches.
- Heather Roche catalogs extended clarinet articulation techniques.
- Bassonist David Pierce offers six words to inspire performers.
- Anna Norris explores some issues with beginners and the bassoon.
- Oboist Jill Cathey plays her scales backwards.
- Contraforte-ist Kristopher King shares his reed dimensions for this intriguing instrument.
- Oboist Patty Mitchell asks a question worth considering about music students and immunizations.
- Clarinetist Michael Dean addresses a surprising connection between posture and embouchure.