- Patty Mitchell shares insights on oboe finger placement.
- Betsy Sturdevant gives a behind-the-scenes look at playing principal bassoon on Tchaikovsky’s 5th symphony and Brahms’s 1st piano concerto.
- Sam Sadigursky explains why saxophonists should play the flute. (I would add to his list of reasons that the flute is a lovely instrument and playing it is a rewarding pursuit on its own merits.)
- Jennifer Cluff gives good down-to-earth advice for beginning flutists.
- The new The Clarinet: Online blog, the digital companion to the International Clarinet Association’s print journal, did some coverage of this year’s ClarinetFest® in Madrid, Spain. Here is day one.
- Christopher Jones shares detailed information about clarinet left hand position.
- The Adventures in Woodwindland blog examines the old question about “how many” instruments doublers play. (Here’s my take from the early days of this blog.)
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.
- Flutist Katherine Emeneth gives some advice to students preparing to rehearse with a collaborative pianist.
- Saxophone maker Steve Goodson discusses some of the developments related to his saxophones over two decades. Whether or not you have interest in Goodson’s instruments particularly, it’s an interesting look at saxophone manufacture and innovation. Long read.
- Bassoonist Christin Schillinger shares some insights on practicing and time management.
- On Powell’s Teach Flute blog, Morgann Davis discusses some pros and cons of the split-E mechanism.
- Bassoonist Betsy Sturdevant muses on playing in spaces with varying acoustical properties.
- Timothy Owen lists the three things you need to know to play the saxophone.
- Bassoonist Trent Jacobs explains some useful electronic effects for amplified bassoon playing.
- Clarinet Cache catalogs some useful online bass clarinet resources.
- Bassoonist Kristopher King recommends keeping an audition journal. (Warning: site has auto-playing music.)
- David Wells has updated his excellent bassoon fingering charts.
- Oboist Cooper Wright discusses shaper tip widths.
- Clarinetist Victoria Soames Samek suggests there are better options than just circling problem notes in your sheet music.
- Bassoonist Kristopher King explains the usage of the little finger whisper key. (Warning: auto-plays music. If you have a website, don’t do that.)
- John Witt reports on the Carolyn Hove English Horn Masterclasses, days 1 and 2 and days 3 and 4.
- Bassoonist Betsy Sturdevant warns about carrying musical instruments onto airplanes.
- Jennifer Cluff offers tips for cleaning a flute (spoiler alert: she suggests letting a professional do it).
- On the WindWorks Design blog, J. D. Smith shares a do-it-yourself modification for the Yamaha WX5 wind controller.
- Christa Garvey does some facial stretches for a tired oboe embouchure.
- Bassoon professor Christin Schillinger offers advice for musicians choosing a college.
- Saxophonist Anton Schwartz recommends “back-chaining” as a practice technique.
- Oboist Patty Mitchell muses on her choice to be a musician.
Recommended reading from the woodwind blogs in March:
- “Komuso Lady” at A Shakuhachi Journey blogs about tsu meri difficulties. Even for players of “modern” Western woodwinds, there are good thoughts here on getting to know your instrument and its tendencies intimately.
- Betsy Sturdevant offers some commentary and tips on playing bassoon 1 on the Firebird Suite.
- Patty Mitchell shares some reed advice for oboe students.
- At the “MetOrchestraMusicians” blog, a nice infographic about reeds. (Hat-tip to Patty Mitchell for this one.)
- Saxophonist Timothy Owen explains his reed preparation and finishing process.
- Clarinetist Adam Berkowitz offers some insightful responses and expansions to my recent blog post about uncompensated gigs.
- Saxophonist Bill Plake keeps a level head about equipment (suitable for players of all instruments).
Here are some of my picks for some excellent woodwind-related blog posts from last month.
- Bass clarinetist Michael Lowenstern gives excellent advice on some topics (such as “biting”) that I think are not often taught well.
- Mark Catoe gives a workshop on teaching beginning clarinetists to cross the break. (Those are some mighty handsome fingering diagrams.)
- Chris Dunning takes us on a historical video tour of the saxophone in jazz.
- Clarinetist Adam Berkowitz manages the logistical details of a performance. Also: two habits worth having.
- Jennet Ingle bemoans the oboe’s caprices. “It’s not that playing the oboe is physically more difficult than any other instrument, it’s that the oboe doesn’t want you to get it.”
- Bassoonist Betsy Sturdevant chases the elusive high F.
- Oboist Patty Mitchell explains what it means to “know” a piece of music.
- Trent Jacobs gives a primer on amplifiers for woodwind players interested in going electric.
- Over at Music Collective, flutist Jessica Dunnavant discovers life beyond the university-teaching-job search.
- Timothy Owen offers some observations and advice on playing multiple sizes of saxophone.
- Clarinetist Heather Roche gives composers some insights on glissandi and air sounds, with extensive audio clips.
- Vanessa Breault Mulvey of the “Flying Flutistas” avoids “muscling up” on the flute. Also on the trapeze. Really.
- Cooper Wright gives his oboe a good cleaning.
- Woodwind player Ted Nash tells the story of how he nearly got adopted by Quincy Jones. “Part II to follow,” he promises.
- Meri Dolevski-Lewis gives some good common-sense tips to those working with a pianist for the first time.
Here are the woodwind-related blog posts that made my “nice” list for December. (One from late November seems to have slipped in here, too.)
- On his new blog, Timothy Owen explains how he tunes his saxophone like an M-16 assault rifle.
- Bassoonist Betsy Sturdevant (of the Columbus Symphony) reveals her basic reedmaking method.
- Cooper Wright doesn’t just play the oboe, he plays the concert hall.
- Theresa Koenig domesticates a wild recorder.
- David Freeman experiences a gig frustration common to woodwind doublers.
- Jennet Ingle plays the oboe while sick, and learns some things about her playing.
- Trent Jacobs shares a good contrabassoon fingering chart.
- Saxophonist Bill Plake discusses advanced metronome usage.
- Steve Moffett uses a vibrato exercise to develop his flute tone.
- Jeff Cunningham has a literary adventure in the saxophone’s upper register.
- Matt London asks some important questions about the “classical” tenor saxophone.
- Bassoonist Christin Schillinger clears up some misconceptions about practicing.
Some good stuff from the woodwind blogs in November:
- I’m totally stoked that oboist Cooper Wright is blogging again, from a new location. Add this one to your RSS reader to follow his transition into a new job as co-principal oboist of the Thailand Philharmonic, and, of course, his endless reedmaking.
- Saxophonist Steve Neff reviews the new John Coltrane Omnibook.
- Helen Bledsoe searches for the elusive tin oboe. Spoiler alert: she doesn’t find one, but she tries some interesting things along the way.
- Saxophonist Bill Plake warms up body and mind.
- Bassoonist Betsy Sturdevant thoroughly prepares the Beethoven 4 solo.
- Matt Otto takes a closer look at the 8th-note “swing” feel of three of the great jazz saxophonists. (Please don’t make the “oh, it’s just triplets” mistake.)
- Jennet Ingle reminds us that effective doubling requires more than just being able to play the solos.
- Adam at A Classical Journey is studying musical instrument repair and documenting the experience very thoroughly. The class has started its woodwind unit, so if you’re fascinated by this stuff like I am, then now is the time to tune in.
If you’re a woodwind player and avid blog reader, you’re likely already following some prominent and popular bloggers like oboist Patty Mitchell (oboeinsight), flutist Jennifer Cluff, and clarinetists David Thomas (The Buzzing Reed) and Marion Harrington.
I read and enjoy all of these, but I would also like to suggest a few others that are particular favorites of mine. These are ones that I think have a somewhat smaller readership, although there’s not a good way to know that without asking nosy questions. So I could be wrong, but I’m guessing that some of these may be new to you. Check them out, and let us know in the comments what else you’re reading.
Also, read to the bottom for a couple of tips on reading blogs like you know what you’re doing.
In no particular order…