Quick review: Bo-Pep Flute Finger Rest

I’ve been working on my Taffanel and Gaubert this summer to shore up some aspects of my flute technique. The very methodical, repetitive nature of those etudes made me aware of some tension in my left hand. My hands are fairly large, and my hand was tending to collapse inward somewhat.

For less than $8, I decided it was worthwhile to try the Bo-Pep Flute Finger Rest, which is designed to help with this problem. It’s a little plastic thing that clips onto the flute’s body, allowing a more open hand position.

It looks like this…

the Bo-Pep Flute Finger Rest

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David Summer: Flute/trumpet doubling

I enjoyed reading some interesting thoughts from multi-instrumentalist and music educator David Summer, who doubles quite effectively on flute and trumpet (and a few other instruments). I’m quoting a few highlights below, but definitely read the whole thing here. I have seen no ill effects on either the trumpet embouchure or flute embouchure from playing both the … Read more

Woodwind organizations

I recently renewed a few memberships in some of the woodwind-related professional organizations. I like to stay current with as many of these as I can, because I enjoy receiving their publications and attending their conferences whenever possible. Most offer some other benefits like score and book lending libraries, eligibility for a group instrument insurance plan, member directories, and exclusive website content.

Membership is especially useful for woodwind folks in academia—students and professors alike—who are hoping to build their vitae. There are opportunities to publish articles, interviews, reviews, and such in the organizations’ publications, and to perform, present lectures and demonstrations, and participate in competitions and masterclasses at the conferences. Students can usually join the organizations and attend the conferences at significant discounts.

The groups I’m listing below are the major ones that North American woodwind players ought to seriously consider joining. There are others, mainly regional groups, of which I list as many as I’m aware elsewhere on this site (see flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, and saxophone organizations).

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Woodwind players on the web

For several years, I’ve maintained what I believe to be a fairly comprehensive list of woodwind doublers’ homepages. I’ve been scouring the web lately for the homepages of woodwind players of all kinds, and have put together several new lists from what I’ve found. Now you can browse lists of:

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Review: The Woodwind Anthology

Woodwind Anthology cover

I recently got my own copy of The Woodwind Anthology, a massive two-volume collection of articles from The Instrumentalist and Flute Talk magazines. I’ve used this anthology from various university libraries throughout my  long college education, and found it to be a go-to source for pedagogy classes and comprehensive exam preparation.

Inexplicably, Instrumentalist is selling these right now for $37 for the set. Check it out here. The shockingly low price makes me wonder if this has gone out of print. If you’re interested, I suggest ordering soon.

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Free woodwind sheet music on the IMSLP

IMSLP logoThe Internet Music Score Library Project is an online library of public-domain sheet music. Most of the available music is in PDF format and can be freely downloaded. The files are uploaded by users, mostly scanned from published sheet music that falls into the public domain. This means mostly compositions that are old enough to be public domain, in published editions that are also old enough to be public domain.

This is a fantastic resource for finding older editions of woodwind solo pieces, chamber music, and orchestral parts.

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Rampal on flutist/flautist

Jennifer Cluff posted this video on her excellent blog today: I think Ms. Cluff’s commentary is right on the mark. But I’ll admit the thing that jumped out to me was the brief conversation between Jean-Pierre Rampal and Dick Cavett, at about 5:10. Rampal takes a stand on the flutist/flautist thing, which is a big … Read more

Review: The Woodwind Player’s Cookbook

I’ve been reading The Woodwind Player’s Cookbook, published last year by Meredith Music and edited by Charles West. It’s a collection of 57 pedagogical essays by a pretty impressive roster of woodwind folks. You can download the table of contents here to see the authors and titles.

Most of the articles deal with technique fundamentals on specific instruments, which should make this book valuable to school band directors, but it also works quite well as a handbook for woodwind doublers; in fact, there are several articles that deal specifically with doubling, by Mike Duva, James Nesbit, Elsie Parker, and Albert Regni.

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Eight live microphone tips for woodwind players

If you are a classically-trained woodwind player, playing into a microphone might be a new experience for you.

A rock band that I play in (flute and saxophone) does a lot of shows in small clubs and bars, and the sound guy (or girl—I’m using “sound guy” from here on out, with gender-neutral intent) is usually used to miking vocals, guitar amps, and drum sets, and may or may not know what to do with a woodwind instrument. I can often help things along, and make sure the band and I sound our best, by coming armed with a small amount of knowledge.

Here are some basic tips for looking and sounding like you know what you’re doing. I’m assuming here that you’re not doing anything fancy gear-wise (there are plenty of options if you want to buy a clip-on mic), just showing up with your instrument and using the venue’s basic sound equipment.

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DRQOD: Ghandarvas and powdered wigs

I always enjoy Patty Mitchell’s “BQOD” (Blog Quotes Of the Day) over at oboeinsight. I’m in the thick of dissertation writing these days (technically, it’s “doctoral document” writing, since I’m working on a DMA, not a PhD), and this morning I ran across a couple of items that won’t make it into the finished product but are too fun to keep to myself. And so I present my Dissertation/Document Research Quotes Of the Day:

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