Favorite blog posts, November 2013

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.

Favorite blog posts, October 2013

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.

Great stuff, everybody, and I look forward to reading more in November.

Favorite blog posts, September 2013

Here’s what I liked on the woodwind-related blogs this month:

Enjoy, and keep writing good stuff!

Favorite blog posts, July 2013

Required reading:

Favorite blog posts, May 2013

Here are some high-quality woodwind-related blog posts from May, in no particular order.

Enjoy! If you have some favorites that I missed, please share them in the comments section below.

Individuality, conformity, and music students

I found myself relating to Jennet Ingle’s recent blog post about an independently-thinking oboe student and the subjective qualities of tone. I related both to the student and to the teacher.

… I had to lecture a student on Sound a few weeks ago, and I couldn’t believe how uncomfortable it made me.  It is truly such a personal thing.  I felt like I was criticizing his smell, or his personality – it was that delicate for me.

I don’t actually think I am leading him wrong in insisting that he sound more “American” to fit in at his Midwestern college – but I hated telling him so.   I would love for him to use his own unique voice and have it be accepted for what it is.  But instead I have to encourage him to get more generic, and to sound more like everyone else.  This rubs me wrong, philosophically.

I have been in the position as a student of trying to do something that I think is a personal artistic expression, and being told that I need to toe the line. I have also been in the position as a teacher of watching a student pursue an individual course that conflicts with what I am trying to teach.

Should music students (or students in any kind of artistic field, for that matter) be expected to conform, or allowed to explore freely? By letting a student do his or her “thing,” am I incubating innovative, boundary-smashing Art? Or am I failing a student by not grooming them in the established tradition?

Read more

A few woodwind blogs you should be reading

Photo, alcomm

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…

Read more