- Bassoonist Barry Stees continues his in-depth and insightful series on interpretation, with installments on motive and harmony.
- Flutist Cindy Ellis offers ten piccolo tips.
- Oboist Christa Garvey shares a breathing exercise for quieting performance nerves.
- Saxophonist Ben Britton experiments with some improved altissimo fingerings. And of course I would be remiss not to mention his very attractive saxophone fingering diagrams.
- Woodwind doubler Steve Moffet considers practicing instrument switches.
- Heather Roche catalogs extended clarinet articulation techniques.
- Bassonist David Pierce offers six words to inspire performers.
- Anna Norris explores some issues with beginners and the bassoon.
- Oboist Jill Cathey plays her scales backwards.
- Contraforte-ist Kristopher King shares his reed dimensions for this intriguing instrument.
- Oboist Patty Mitchell asks a question worth considering about music students and immunizations.
- Clarinetist Michael Dean addresses a surprising connection between posture and embouchure.
Favorite blog posts, January 2014
Here’s what’s worth reading from the woodwind blogs in January:
- Woodwind doubler Steve Moffett suggests taking a break now and then.
- Oboist Patty Mitchell reminds us that playing with a pianist means needing to know your own part and his or hers.
- Helen Bledsoe weighs in on the debate about how register changes are made on the flute. I don’t entirely agree with her, but she makes some interesting points, as do the flutists in the videos she shares. (For more on this, see my previous post and accompanying PDF cataloging some of the, er, hot air surrounding this topic.)
- Clarinetist Adam Berkowitz takes practicing to the next level.
- Bassoonist Christin Schillinger shares some ideas about ongoing development as a musician, plus some metronome games.
- Woodwind doubler Josh Johnson does a review of the Ridenour Lyrique bass clarinet. I’m sharing this one because I think it’s a well-written and thoughtful review, and because I think high-quality instruments made from alternative materials are a welcome next wave in woodwind manufacture. As a side note, I recently purchased one of these basses for my university clarinet studio and have spent some time playing it, and my experience with the instrument basically matches Josh’s.
- Oboist Cooper Wright seeks to raise standards in his teaching studio.
- Woodwind doubler Michael Grant concludes(?) a 12-part marathon of long posts describing his experience playing in the pit orchestra for a local musical theater production [update: link dead].
Just when I think I’ve got every single woodwind-related blog in my feed reader, I stumble onto a dozen more. If you’re writing good stuff and think you might have escaped my notice, let me know!
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.
Favorite blog posts, July 2013
- Christa Garvey reports on this year’s John Mack Oboe camp, and shares some masterclass notes. Her post about the fallacy of “doing more with dynamics” is really excellent, too. Christa wrote several other top-quality posts this month, but I’m going to just mention those two to avoid embarrassing everybody with my gushing.
- In other conference reports, David Davani covers ClarinetFest in a five-part series, and Robin Tropper tries out oboes at the IDRS conference in a series of extremely detailed posts.
- Saxophone repair genius Matt Stohrer takes a refreshingly rational look at the effect that a saxophone’s finish does or doesn’t have on its tone. (Obligatory: my own post on this topic.)
- In a perhaps-related vein, The Life of the Flute Player reviews a flute and a piccolo constructed of non-traditional materials. I’m including this post not because I have opinions on these specific products, but because more and more plastic woodwinds are popping up, and I think it’s a trend worth watching.
- The always-insightful Bill Plake, saxophonist and certified Alexander Technique teacher, looks at practicing in terms of adding new ideas and subtracting old habits.
- Saxophonist Sam Newsome recommends a thoughtful approach to using or not using a metronome when practicing.
- Saxophonist Bob Hartig conquers less-familiar keys so that they become natural and intuitive.
- Bassoonist Barry Stees recommends continuing your musical education after graduation.
- Jennet Ingle doesn’t mind playing second oboe.
- Doubler Steve Moffett has an epiphany about flute articulation and the “ta” syllable.
- Adam at A Classical Journey explores career options for musicians, and discovers that sometimes plan “A” isn’t the one you wanted after all [update: link dead].
- Clarinetist Sherman Friedland wrote an incisive post on the basics of crossing the break, which has since disappeared from his site. So instead of linking, I’ll just recommend that you subscribe to his RSS feed so you can read his posts before he deletes them.
Favorite blog posts, June 2013
Some of the best woodwind-related stuff I’ve read this month:
- Clarinet professor Adam Ballif shares some thoughts on going paperless as a musician, and takes an easily-digestible look at voicing and the clarinet.
- Flutist Catherine LeGrand gets super-methodical about interval practice and note shapes.
- Oboist Patty Mitchell attends the IDRS conference and provides a sneak peek into pedagogical sessions with Peter Cooper, Carolyn Hove, and David Weiss (and friends). Jealous.
- Bassoonist Cayla Bellamy tries playing like a superhero.
- Rigid saxophone harnesses seem to be popping up from several makers lately. Barry Caudill tries one on for size. (Inclusion here isn’t an endorsement of this particular model; I’m just glad to see a nice thoughtful review of this type of product. I would like to see Vandoren sending some of theirs out for review—hint, hint?)
- Woodwind doubler Steve Moffett passes along a good clear approach to determining how far in or out to roll the flute.
- Saxophonist Ben Britton clarifies a few things about reed strength.
Enjoy! If you or one of your favorite woodwind bloggers writes something especially awesome in July, drop me a note and I’ll give it a look for next month’s list.