- Bassoonist William Short explains his method for evaluating reeds honestly.
- Cleonide, an interesting new blog on musical acoustics, offers some insight on response issues in the saxophone’s low register. (Somewhat technical/mathematical.)
- Ed Joffe pays tribute to Al Block, a distinguished woodwind doubler who passed away recently.
- Cate Hummel discusses a timeline for teaching flute dynamics. (I agree wholeheartedly about waiting to teach dynamics, for all woodwinds, but respectfully disagree about how dynamic changes are produced.) In another post, she discusses teaching students how to practice.
- Flutist Rena Urso-Trapani shares her experience with a recent orchestral audition, and offers some tips.
- Clarinetist Jenny Maclay offers some ways to improve your playing from outside the practice room.
- Jennet Ingle teaches a young oboist a new fingering. (Great minds think alike.)
Interesting things from the woodwind blogosphere in June:
- Saxophonist Sam Newsome discusses slow practice and using clarinet reeds on the soprano saxophone.
- Oboist Jennet Ingle shares some ideas about how mindset affects aspects of performance, specifically intonation and phrase shaping.
- Saxophonist Bob Reynolds gives advice on professionalism.
- Patty Mitchell examines the mythology of the oboe and college scholarships.
- Kristopher King looks at some members of the bassoon family and why you might want them in your arsenal.
All of my favorite blog authors from June are ones I’ve featured previously, some many times. That’s fine by me but I’m always anxious to check out ones I haven’t been reading already. If you think I might be overlooking some, please get in touch! I’m in the process of updating my blogroll, and happy to add new woodwind-related blogs.
Good stuff from the woodwind blogs in May:
- Cate Hummel offers tips on diagnosing flute tone issues.
- Felix from The Saxophone Corner takes a closer look at the mythology of the Selmer Mark VI.
- Oboist Jennet Ingle uses powerful breath support.
- Saxophonist Bill Plake suggests four questions to ask yourself while practicing.
- Bassoonist William Short shares an infographic on practicing.
- Saxophonist Sam Newsome discusses confident performance in a couple of posts.
Fine woodwind bloggery from the past month:
- Mark Catoe shares a nicely-organized sequence for teaching beginning saxophonists the major scales.
- Cate Hummel provides a checklist for improving third-octave playing on the flute.
- Oboist Jennet Ingle ponders upon the process of changing playing habits, and works in some important reed concepts, too.
- Bassoonist Christin Schillinger gives some down-to-earth advice on dealing with performance anxiety.
- Trent Jacobs shares some bassoon “extended low register” (multiphonic) fingerings.
That wraps up the first quarter of 2015 with no clarinet posts featured yet. Clarinet bloggers, let me know you’re out there. Also, all of this month’s featured bloggers are repeats, some several times over. If you have a woodwind blog that you think I may not be following yet, send me a link!
Interesting and useful woodwindy blog posts from January:
- Saxophonist Connie Frigo discusses fearless performance, and also teaching outside the studio. (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’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.
Lots of very fine woodwind-related blog posts this month.
- Barry Stees exposes a common bassoon technique weakness (even for players at the highest level) and begins to explore solutions (promising more to come).
- Oboist Susan Laney Spector explains some of the difficulties musicians face in the highly-competitive world of orchestral auditions.
- Jennet Ingle has a breakthrough with an oboe student just by teaching some vocabulary.
- Saxophonist Bob Reynolds does some YouTube archaeology and shows the difference a couple of decades can make in musical maturity, even for a very accomplished player.
- Anna Norris and Nicolasa Kuster each share their experiences auditioning for the Chicago Symphony principal bassoon vacancy.
- Cate Hummel advises against the “kiss and roll” method of teaching flute.
- Oboist Patty Mitchell comments on practicing quantity vs. quality.
- Jennifer Cluff shares a methodical flute warmup.
- Flutist Katherine Emeneth shares a roundup of tips for “potent practicing.”
- Saxophonist Bill Plake explains how to approach technique a little less, well, technically.
- David Pierce rounds up some editions and recordings of the Mozart bassoon concerto.
- “The Phantom Clarinet” at the Adventures in Woodwindland blog explores the extended low register of the bassoon.
- Saxophonist Ben Britton reviews a new weird gadget that, to my surprise, seems to be getting a number of positive reviews. (I haven’t tried it.)
- On Powell Flutes’s Flute Builder blog: how a wooden headjoint is cut.
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.
- David Wells shares a useful, sortable table of Vivaldi’s 39 bassoon concerti, and discusses their complicated cataloguing.
- Heather Roche continues her project of documenting the clarinet’s extended technique possibilities with a chart of close-dyad multiphonics.
- Ed Joffe shares a 2006 interview with jazz saxophonist and flutist Lew Tabackin.
- John Witt explores some of the acoustical concepts related to oboe reeds.
- Jennifer Cluff addresses some questions about neck tension and the flute. (If you have pain, please consider blog posts to be supplementary information to that provided by qualified medical professionals.)
- Jennet Ingle exercises patience when returning to the oboe after a short hiatus.
- Saxophonist Bill Plake works on “microskill” projects.
- Trent Jacobs invents an improved bassoon A-flat/B-flat trill mechanism in the shower, and has one made for his own instrument. (As it turns out, someone else beat him to the idea, but it’s still cool.)
- Sam Newsome discusses the ongoing influence of soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy, and shares a who’s-who of current jazz soprano players.
- Matt Stohrer comments on the potential viability of a 3D-printed saxophone.
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.