Lots of very fine woodwind-related blog posts this month.
From the woodwind blogs in August:
- Reports on the International Clarinet Society’s 2014 “ClarinetFest” (held in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA) by Josh Johnson and, of course, on the ClarinetFest blog. (My own brief general report is here, plus a report on my own presentation on woodwind doubling.)
- Reports on the International Double Reed Society conferences (New York City) by Jennet Ingle, Patty Mitchell, and Robin Tropper (parts one and two).
- A sort-of-report (sort-of-advertisement) on the National Flute Association conference on the Powell Flutes blog.
- “TFox” examines the issue of ivory bassoon bell rings.
- Oboist Jennet Ingle comments on the maturity that comes with experience. In, I think, a sort of related vein, she also discusses perfectionism and “mistakes.”
- Clarinetist Heather Roche gives some tips on double tonguing.
- Saxophonist Jeff Cunningham suggests some guidelines for determining the right reed strength for you. His site is geared toward less-experienced players, but in my opinion a number of “advanced” players could use a refresher on this.
- Saxophonist Sam Sadigursky explains an approach to help with mastering scales.
- Adam Berkowitz shares and comments on a very cool video of some bleeding-edge electronic bass clarinet playing and technology (most of the playing is by Matthias Müller).
- Saxophonist Jody Espina shares his “squeak-be-gone” exercise.
- Saxophonist Bill Plake compares routine and process in practicing.
I am closing out July in Baton Rouge, Louisiana at ClarinetFest. Report forthcoming. For now, enjoy my best-of-the-woodwind-blogs for the past month.
Recommended reading from the woodwind blogs in March:
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.)
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.
Here are my picks from October. I strongly suggest that you read all of these, share them on your favorite social media outlets, leave thoughtful comments to the authors, and subscribe with your favorite blog-reading apparatus.
- A whole lot of clarinet bloggers have posted in the last couple of days about the Robert Marcellus masterclasses now available through Northwestern University’s website. I believe Chastine Hofmeister’s post was the first one to come to my attention.
- Saxophonist and Alexander Technique guru Bill Plake debunks woodwind players’ favorite finger-technique myth.
- David Wells blows the bassoon world’s minds with a video of eminent bassoonist Klaus Thunemann playing jazz(?!). And this isn’t a cute little novelty swing tune, either—it’s full-fledged, Mahavishnu-esque 1970’s fusion.
- Eric Seddon offers advice and encouragement to aspiring jazz clarinetists in school band programs. I’m already on record as not entirely agreeing with all the points Eric makes, but his side is definitely worth reading and considering.
- Flute professor Tammy Evans Yonce muses on the purposes of a woodwind pedagogy course. (You don’t have to compliment me by name to get picked as a “favorite blog post,” but let’s say it doesn’t hurt your chances. Worth a read in any case.)
- Reed player and composer Demetrius Spaneas explores themes of struggle, stress, and balancing artistic pursuit with the practicalities of life.
- Saxophonist Peter Spitzer encourages you to freshen up your set list with some freely-available lead sheets to some lovely and little-known Bossa Nova tunes by Roberto Menescal.
- Oboist Jennet Ingle had a tough month. She shares a frustrating rehearsal experience (no, Jennet, it’s not just you!) and characterizes her relationship with the instrument as, well, adversarial. (She does also offer some constructive tips for dealing with oboe-related struggles.)
- In a similar vein, bassoonist Cayla Bellamy offers three “ups” to help through practice-room plateaus.
- Saxopedia announces an influx of new (old) transcriptions by Danish saxophonist Thomas Høeg-Jensen, to add to an already-impressive listing.
- On the Powell Flutes Teach Flute blog, distinguished flute pedagogue Leone Buyse shares some thoughts about her own teacher David Berman, and makes a strong case for taking notes in your lessons.
- Dan Forshaw throws down the gauntlet to fellow saxophone enthusiasts: can you put the Mark VI tenors in chronological order based on video clips? (I can’t.) Nice playing, Dan!
- “Practicing Flutist” Deanna Mathews Kilbourne uses difference tones to tune her flute choir.
Great stuff, everybody, and I look forward to reading more in November.
Here’s what I liked on the woodwind-related blogs this month:
Enjoy, and keep writing good stuff!
I currently have over 400 woodwind-related blogs in my feed reader, and try my best at least to skim the new posts. In the past I’ve occasionally passed along recommendations about some of the blogs that I think are especially good. I’m considering moving toward something like a monthly list of some of my favorite individual posts instead.
Here are some from April (a few from late March sneaked in, too).