Posts tagged “vocabulary”

January 24, 2011

Spelling test for woodwind players and teachers

If you’re a player or teacher of woodwinds, you need to be able to communicate clearly about woodwind playing. I’ve compiled a few of the most frequently-misspelled woodwind-related words from assignments and tests in my various classes. Check it out and see how you do: Take the spelling test

May 26, 2010

Voicing, part II

I wrote earlier this month about voicing. The topic seems to keep coming up—I ran across one of Tom Ridenour’s fine videos about the subject, and clarinetist Adam Berkowitz wrote about it on his blog today. Adam uses whistling to explain voicing, which I had mentioned in my article and which I agree works very ...

May 12, 2010

What is voicing?

I’d like to address the term “voicing,” which I think is often misunderstood. Here’s my best definition: Voicing refers to the relative size of the oral cavity, which can change depending on the position of the back of the tongue. There are a number of other terms that are used to describe this same concept ...

August 19, 2009

Know your foreign musical terms

This is a bit of one of the excerpts that I provided for my saxophone students to play at their beginning-of-the-semester band auditions. I heard some very fine playing during the auditions, but many of the students were fooled by the “senza vib.,” with some going so far as to use fairly extreme vibrato at ...

December 23, 2008

Speaking the language of woodwinds

There are some terms I sometimes hear woodwind players use that make me think that they don’t know what they’re talking about. I could be wrong. But that’s the impression I get. I think as woodwind doublers, when talking to players of single instruments, we sometimes give the same impression that obnoxious foreign tourists give—that ...

October 12, 2008

Breath support

Quick: define “breath support.” I fear that to many woodwind players (or wind players in general, and maybe singers too) breath support is something mysterious. I have often had teachers stress to me the importance of breath support, but I can’t remember ever having one explain clearly what it is.

July 11, 2008


“Flautist” is a pet peeve of mine. I just encountered it again in a message board thread. These are worth a read: Am I a Flutist, or a Flautist? Is it Flutist or Flautist? To summarize: there doesn’t seem to be any good reason for English-speaking people to say “flautist.”

May 27, 2008

What’s in a name? What “doublers” call themselves, part II

In my last post, I listed some alternate titles for “woodwind doubler.” Here are my thoughts on some of them.

May 24, 2008

What’s in a name? What “doublers” call themselves

I’ve struggled a little with what to call myself as a player of several woodwind instruments. “Woodwind doubler” seems like the most accepted nomenclature, but “doubler” seems a little inapt for someone who plays more than two instruments (my flute teacher calls me a “five-aler”).
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!