- Jess Voigt Page: Selecting repertoire while you’re in school
- Bill Plake Music: Remember to Pay Attention to This Important (Yet Too Often Overlooked) Component of Your Practice Routine
- Dr. Cate’s Flute Tips (Cate Hummel): The Secret of Tuning Up Db (C#)
- Jenny Maclay: 30 Day Self Care Challenge for Musicians
- LearnSaxophoneOnline.com (Jeffrey Cunningham): Crystal Clear Articulation
- Observing Focal Dystonia (Andrée Martin): Lose your GPS
- Trent Jacobs, bassoonist: Addressing Stress VPI
- oboeinsight (Patty Mitchell): The Internet Is Not Always Your Friend
- International Clarinet Association (Nicola Buckenmaier): Caroline Schleicher-Krähmer: The First Female Clarinet Soloist
Favorite blog posts, November 2017
- Flutist Nicole Riner lists extended techniques with some sample repertoire and practice tips.
- Saxophone mouthpiece reviewer extraordinaire Steve Neff explains how to test a mouthpiece thoroughly.
- Oboist Patty Mitchell offers a somber reminder that sexual harassment is an issue in the music world, too.
- Clarinetist Liz Aleksander outlines a methodical approach to tuning.
- Bassoonist Nadina Mackie Jackson gives some perspective on teachers and teaching.
- The “Curious Clarinetist” tells a satirical tale of new instruments. [update: link dead]
- Cynthia Ellis and Cate Hummel provide tips on playing the piccolo.
- Clarinetist Jenny Maclay shares ideas for mastering a new repertoire piece besides just practicing.
- Oboist Jennet Ingle discusses the importance of choosing the right reed for a performance (and which factors are most important).
- Ariel Detwiler discusses some of the issues of choosing which students are good prospective bassoonists.
Favorite blog posts, September 2017
- Flutist Jennifer Cluff offers advice on (not) playing with pain.
- Clarinetist Jenny Maclay invites you to enlist for Baermann Boot Camp starting October 1st.
- Cate Hummel shares tips on basic flute care.
- Flutist Jolene Harju discusses breaking the habit of playing “test notes.”
- Rachel Taylor Geier challenges you to test your flute knowledge with a quiz.
- Oboist Jennet Ingle finds inspiration in fancy fountain pens regarding “flourish.”
Each of these fine woodwind bloggers has been featured here repeatedly, so be sure to subscribe to their RSS feeds and/or social media streams. And get in touch to let me know who else I should be following! (You, maybe?)
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 2017
Another month dominated by flute bloggers. Leave me a comment if there are excellent blogs by reed players that I should be reading.
- Jolene Harju shares a calendar of flute practice ideas. (It’s for February, but easily adaptable to other months.)
- Heather Roche continues her massive and thorough project documenting extended clarinet techniques with a chart of quarter-tone tremolo fingerings for bass clarinet.
- Flutist Nicole Riner shares resources for commissioning new music.
- Flutist Tammy Evans Yonce requires her woodwind pedagogy students to teach private mini-lessons.
- Flutist Rachel Taylor Geier offers suggestions on making a recording for a job application or audition.
- Cate Hummel explains playing the flute softly.
Favorite blog posts, November 2016
- Ben Britton looks at some common saxophone tone production issues.
- Flutist Deanna Mathews Kilbourne reminds us to play in tune, even alone.
- Oboist Jennet Ingle provides a peek into a “portfolio” career.
- I mentioned previously this post by clarinetist Jenny Maclay on cueing (and attempted to expand upon it). Jenny also takes a look at the A-flat clarinet.
- Cate Hummel gives advice on what order to teach new notes to beginning flutists.
- Saxophonist Steve Neff explores the question of how much the mouthpiece matters.
- I’m still enjoying Rachel Taylor Geier’s “practice blueprints” for flute repertoire. Here is Bach sonata #4.
- “Ericdano” at jazz-sax.com suggests some essential gig gear.
- Cynthia Ellis offers a brief thought on dynamics and the piccolo.
Favorite blog posts, October 2016
- Rachel Taylor Geier offers a “practice blueprint” for the Poulenc flute sonata. I also liked her post on playing second flute (applicable to players of other instruments, too).
- Meri Dolevski-Lewis makes a case for not hiring woodwind doublers for performing or teaching gigs [update: link dead].
- Flutist Deanna Mathews Kilbourne discusses what an electronic tuner (or tuner app) is and isn’t good for.
- Saxophonist Ben Britton explains his theory about ligature position.
- Chris Hankin lists and comments on classical-period flute concerti by composers who aren’t Mozart.
- Clarinetist Jenny Maclay shares warm-up routines in small, medium, and large sizes.
- Cate Hummel offers suggestions on teaching the flute’s third octave.
- “Quinn the Eskimo”(?) expounds the history of the Mazzeo-system clarinet, with references.
- Eryn Oft discusses bassoons in the less-than-$5000 category. (Fair warning: she appears to have some kind of financial arrangement with one of the makers in question.)
- Bassoonist and historical-woodwinds player Theresa Koenig shares her experience with practicing and Alexander Technique.
- Saxophonist Bill Plake recommends practicing with vision.
Favorite blog posts, April 2016
- Saxophonist Steve Neff shares a Joe Allard overtone exercise. (Read the comments section, too.)
- Clarinetist Diana Haskell shares some results of asking colleagues what are the most important things about orchestral playing.
- Helen Bledsoe shares some flute intonation exercises (could be adapted to other instruments).
- Clarinetist Jenny Maclay offers advice on dealing with the mental baggage of being a musician. (Reminder: blog posts are not a substitute for professional counseling.)
- Woodwind doubler Kelsey Mire makes a case for fair pay for doublers.
- Saxophonist Bill Plake digs into reasons inefficient practice techniques get perpetuated.
- Bassoonist Nadina Mackie Jackson answers questions about gender in the classical music world.
- Oboist Jennet Ingle seeks balance between expression and technique.
- Woodwind doubler David Freeman shares a funny pit experience. There are possibly teachable moments there if you care to draw them out.
- Cate Hummel discusses solutions to third-octave problems, as well as when to introduce dynamics and vibrato to students.
Favorite blog posts, March 2016
- David Wells discusses composing cadenzas for the Mozart bassoon concerto (and shares his finished product).
- Jill Cathey shares some techniques she is using to improve her oboe reedmaking, including giving her reeds names.
- Saxophonist Eddie Rich legislates three laws of practicing [update: link dead].
- Cindy Ellis explains the function of each lip in the flute embouchure.
- Jennet Ingle explains (and demonstrates in a video) a technique for cleaning out oboe reeds.
- Manny Martinez suggests 10 classical saxophone recordings to check out.
- Trent Jacobs uses a power tool to make bassoon reeds.
- Cate Hummel continues her crusade against questionable “kiss-and-roll” flute embouchure pedagogy, and has an insight into that technique’s popularity.
- Jeff Cunningham explores some of the “ups & downs” for beginning saxophonists. It’s good context and advice for woodwind doublers, too, who may be at beginner stage on a secondary instrument.
- Bassoonist Andrew Burn shares some unconventional ideas about recital preparation.
- David Freeman logs a gig experience covering Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon album, and shares saxophone solo transcriptions.
- Khara Wolf discusses aspects of high-altitude oboe reedmaking.
- Helen Kahlke shares a review of an inexpensive bass saxophone. Don’t reach for your wallets yet, but the takeaway here is that playable, affordable, modern saxophones lower than baritone could be on the horizon.
- Also, I am now a co-author, with Kellie Lignitz-Hahn, of the “Clarinet Cache” column in The Clarinet (journal of the International Clarinet Association), and the related blog. Check it out online or in your latest print issue.
Favorite blog posts, November 2015
Lots of interesting woodwind blog posts this month. Here are some favorites:
- Flutist Roderick Seed is doing a nice series offering commentary on the Andersen Op. 15 etudes.
- Michael Lowenstern addresses the idea of bass clarinet as a college major. (This one is from very late October but I didn’t catch it in time.)
- Saxophonists Sam Newsome and Ben Britton each offer exercises for improving low register tone production.
- College freshman flute major Hannah Haefele shares what she is learning in her transition from high school practicing to college-level practicing.
- Clarinetist Michael Dean shares his pre-performance checklist.
- Oboist Patty Mitchell distinguishes between knowing your music and knowing your music.
- Flutist Rachel Taylor Geier explains the practicing technique of chunking.
- Cate Hummel recommends against the old flute “kiss and roll” trick.