- 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, February 2016
Some woodwind blog posts I liked in February:
- Bassoonist Barry Stees shares an interesting idea about reed autopsies, plus a method for practicing the Rite of Spring solo.
- Oboist Patty Mitchell has some advice for students who think they have unfixable technique problems.
- Rachel Taylor Geier has some suggestions if you need more flute etudes to work on.
- Saxophonist Andy Austin discusses the role of passion in pursuing a musical career.
- Specific instrument brand/model recommendations should always be taken with a grain of salt, but woodwind doubler Josh Johnson discusses the importance of backup instruments, plus some of the issues involved with choosing instruments for situations where crack-proofness is important.
- Clarinetist Meri Dolevski-Lewis shares a process for developing sight-transposition skills [update: link dead].
- Flutist Jennifer Cluff offers some ideas on increasing success on the problematic high B.
- Jolene Harju plays the flute with her feet. (Okay, it’s really a post about having “a grounded, rooted connection between the feet and the floor.”)
- Gaenor Burchett-Vass discovers some favorite treasures of the English horn repertoire [update: link dead].
- Clarinetist Sandy Herrera seeks a new balance between a musical career and family life after having a baby. (Congratulations, Sandy!)
Favorite blog posts, February 2014
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 [update: link dead].
- 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 [update: link dead].
- 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.
Favorite blog posts, August 2013
Read these excellent mostly-woodwind-related blog posts from the past month, and thank me later:
- Bassoonist David Wells shares and comments on early 20th-century recordings of the Weber Andante e Rondo Ongarese by William Gruner and Fernand Oubradous.
- Multi-instrumentalist Mark Catoe shares some clear thinking about teaching the concept of time signature. This will benefit even some of my college students, who are still trying to shed the “quarter-note-is-always-one-beat-no-matter-what” misinformation they were fed years ago.
- Viviana Guzman at The Flute View declares the first Canadian Flute Convention a success.
- Sherman Friedland offers some comments about purchasing clarinets. He mentions a couple of specific makes and pulls no punches about his opinions, but regardless of your personal taste in instruments there are some general points worth drawing out: just because “everybody” uses one model doesn’t mean it’s the “best;” a good teacher is crucial to the process of obtaining a fine instrument and making it sing; and it doesn’t hurt anybody to at least consider the advantages of instruments made from non-traditional materials.
- Matt Stohrer explains why getting your saxophone overhauled is good for your playing and for your bottom line. Good advice for any woodwind player, really, though of course some of the instrument-specific details will differ.
- Oboist Christa Garvey gives college music majors some sage advice for the new academic year.
- Saxophonist Craig Buhler suggests that a joyful performance requires joyful practice.
- Clarinetist Meri Dolevski-Lewis gives some tips on reading (and, by extension, on writing) advertisements for private teaching. Also: tips on diversifying your musical income streams (including a strong case for woodwind doubling).
- Patty Mitchell shares a compelling argument, in video form, for learning the play the oboe the right way rather than looking for shortcuts. (Spoiler alert: It’s a demonstration of a single-reed mouthpiece for the oboe.)