- Bassoonist Anna Norris suggests showing up for auditions.
- Michael Shults switches between jazz and classical saxophone.
- David Freeman transcribes recorder parts for Stairway to Heaven (but plays them on an electric keyboard…).
- Michael Lowenstern addresses a bass clarinet reed question.
- Flutist Vanessa Breault Mulvey discusses squeezing’s detrimental effect on flute playing [update: link dead].
- Saxophonist Bill Plake discusses tone imagination.
- Flutist Jolene Harju shares ideas for getting the most out of your lessons. I also liked her “Fundamentals Workout Planner.”
- Jennet Ingle learns something about disappointing performances.
- Saxophonist Jay Brandford shares an Eric Dolphy anecdote about dedication to detail in practicing.
- Matt Stohrer shares his procedure for “setting up” a new saxophone. This is sort of a commercial post, but instructive about what a new instrument might need to play to its best potential.
- Flutist Jennifer Cluff explains anchor tonguing.
Favorite blog posts, August 2016
- The Clarinet Online, the International Clarinet Association’s blog, gives reports on many of their August conference events. Jessica Harrie also makes a report [update: link dead], as does Chastine Hofmeister (two posts).
- Cynthia Ellis shares a couple of third-octave piccolo trill fingerings.
- The “Clarinet Things” blog outlines a method for practicing scales. Saxophonist Ben Britton shares some tips for polishing them.
- Oboist Aaron Lakota gives some advice on breaking out of a “reed rut.”
- Sandy Herrera is running a clarinet audition-prep challenge.
- Woodwind player David Freeman relates an experience playing for a musical.
- Eric Seddon comments on some jazz clarinet history [update: link dead].
- Simon Barker offers advice on how to record a saxophone.
- Oboist Jennet Ingle discusses her experience recording an album.
- “Ericdano” reveals some saxophonists’ favorite electronic effects pedals.
- Saxophonist Bill Plake explores “compression” and wind playing.
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, August 2015
- 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.)
Favorite blog posts, December 2013
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.
A few woodwind blogs you should be reading
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…