- Clarinetist Michael Dean examines some resources available for better-informed preparation of the Cyrille Rose “40” and “32” études.
- David Erato compiles some piccolo tips by some top working flutists and doublers (and also me).
- Saxophonist David Freeman shares some settings for the kinds of electronic filter sounds used by Michael Brecker and Jeff Coffin.
- Josh Johnson shares in exhaustive detail the flutes he tried out at the NFA conference. For gear junkies only.
- Heather Roche demonstrates some extended techniques specific to the “paperclip”-style contrabass clarinet.
- Saxophonist Bill Plake discusses some benefits of practicing with a drone.
- The unnamed mom at How About Oboe? gets her 10-year-old oboist to practice difficult things for just two minutes at a time.
- Cate Hummel brings things back to Earth about the flute and the so-called lip “teardrop.” (I also hinted at that topic in a recent post.)
Interesting and useful woodwindy blog posts from January:
- Saxophonist Connie Frigo discusses fearless performance, and also teaching outside the studio [update: link dead]. (This one is technically from the very end of December.)
- Flutist Rachel Taylor Geier shares a thorough, holistic approach to New Year’s resolutions for musicians (it’s not too late).
- Jennet Ingle bravely shares an experience with forgetting her oboe reeds, and because of this experience questions her usual pre-performance rituals.
- Saxophonist Bill Plake discusses how we sit and stand when we play, and how we could do it better.
- Cate Hummel shares some nice fingering tips for the third octave.
- Woodwind doubler David Erato reminds us to keep our instruments well maintained.
- Flutist Naomi Seidman discusses ways to improve breathing (on the Powell Teach Flute blog).
- Jeff Cunningham gives advice to beginning saxophonists (or other musicians) who are struggling with motivation to practice.
Here are some high-quality woodwind-related blog posts from May, in no particular order.
- Mark Catoe and Tim Gordon discuss music education, careers, and, of course, woodwind doubling: Interview with Tim Gordon
- Flutist Meerenai Shim opens up about success, failure, pursuing your dream, and dealing with the practicalities: To Each Her Own
- Jennet Ingle is always one of my favorites. I already responded to her post on sound quality and individuality, but I also liked this one about the realities of freelancing: A Freelance Week
- David Erato learns a difficult lesson about swabs, and offers to let others learn from his experience: Don’t do this. Ever.
- Helen Kahlke patrols the internet for weird saxophone stuff, and discovers this interesting approach to the octave vent problem: Frankensax’s Offspring Gets Its Patent
- Saxophonist Shannon Kennedy deals with a hazard of being a musician in the internet age: There’s Honest and Then There’s Hurtful
- Christa Garvey suggests listening to more music, and provides a nice jumping-off point for developing your oboe ears: Living a life WITH music—a guide to listening for the aspiring oboist
- Flutist Jolene Harju has an epiphany about making her best sound in a natural, easy way: Open Sound: Why I Love Middle C!
- John Bogenschutz of Tone Deaf Comics apparently buys his bassoons from Ikea: “Bundlövstx”
Enjoy! If you have some favorites that I missed, please share them in the comments section below.
David Erato, a Wisconsin-based woodwind doubler and teacher, describes the motivation behind his year-long “journey” to improve his clarinet chops:
The idea as a “doubler” is to make whatever instrument is in your hand not feel like a foreign object. One should really study the instrument as if it is the only instrument you play. Practice the same method books, etudes, solos, as a clarinetist in a symphony once did.
David devised a plan to work his way through a book of technical etudes, and carried it out. His plan was based on the a similar system he had used as a university saxophone student. The result?
I can say after all of that, I really do feel like I’ve taken my technique game up several notches on clarinet. It may be hard to believe, but about half way through the book I felt more connected to the instrument. Even though I was in more difficult keys, larger interval jumps became easier than when I started. By the end of it, I didn’t have to think much about playing 4ths in the key of D# harmonic minor.
It’s worth reading the whole thing. There’s one key point from David’s story that I’ve discussed here before, but which is worth restating: as a woodwind doubler, you have to be a beginner on each instrument. David had already completed a technique-building regimen on the saxophone, prescribed by a good saxophone teacher, but hadn’t done so yet on the clarinet. Many of us make the mistake of thinking that such things transfer automatically. They don’t!
I know that many of my readers are college students and/or educators, and may have some discretionary time coming up when the spring semester ends. What fundamental techniques can you spend the summer shoring up?