Here are some videos from my recent Delta State University faculty recital. I enjoyed tackling Brett Wery‘s challenging Sonata for multiple woodwinds (flute, clarinet, alto saxophone) and piano, plus some little oboe pieces and the André Previn bassoon sonata. As always, the goal was to challenge myself, so, as always, the performance had some hiccups. But it was a valuable growth experience for me and a chance to perform some new repertoire.
A few months ago I got to perform Claude T. Smith’s Suite for Solo Flute, Clarinet, and Alto Saxophone with the Delta State University Wind Ensemble, conducted by Dr. Erik Richards. It’s a fun showpiece for a woodwind doubler with band, which I’ve had a few opportunities to perform over the last 10 years.
The Suite requires more-than-casual doubling on flute, clarinet, and saxophone. (Some of the altissimo in my performance isn’t in the original part.) Like most of Smith’s music, the Suite is light and appealing, with some rhythm/meter hijinks and a hint of jazz influence. Worth tackling if you’re a serious flute-clarinet-saxophone doubler and get a chance to work with a good wind ensemble.
Here’s a YouTube video (audio only) of the April 11 performance:
- Saxophonist Ben Britton explores the connection between tone and intonation. He also gives a nice introduction to the desperately under-taught art of swing articulation.
- Woodwind doubler Ed Joffe compares “part” players and true musical artists.
- John Reeks examines the history surrounding the use of clarinets in the Beatles song “When I’m Sixty-Four.”
- Oboist Stephen Caplan discusses staying comfortable and healthy while sitting for extended periods of playing music.
- Tammy Evans Yonce and Misty Theisen provide suggestions on planning a small flute festival or “flute day.”
- Jenny Maclay gives thorough advice on the clarinet’s altissimo register.
- Flutist Jolene Madewell improves her articulation with understanding of how the tongue moves.
- Patty Mitchell discusses the oboe and getting into college.
- David Pierce gives brief summaries of some books on bassoon reedmaking.
- Saxophonist James Barger explains a method of vibrato development using a mobile app.
- Clarinetist Jenny Maclay is organizing a Kroepsch studies boot camp for June.
- Nicole Riner gives piccolo advice.
The flute bloggers were especially busy in April.
- Flutist Nicole Riner shares some research-based recommendations (from 2004) about gender stereotypes and school band programs.
- Jolene Harju Madewell prioritizes aspects of flute tone production.
- Michelle Barraclough discusses orchestra pit playing for flutists.
- Roderick Seed gives tips on improving flute resonance.
- Flutist Rachel Taylor Geier offers advice on recital preparation.
- Bassoonist Betsy Sturdevant continues her series of orchestral excerpt blog-masterclasses with the Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique.
- Woodwind player Larry Weintraub explores musical careers on cruise ships and in European publicly-funded ensembles.
- Jolene Harju lists some favorite flute recordings.
- Woodwind player Larry Weintraub shares information on careers in military bands.
- Bassoonist Anna Norris is writing a series of posts on playing John Williams’s Five Sacred Trees.
- Flutist Roderick Seed explores issues surrounding cheek puffing and chin pressure.
- Clarinetist James Zimmermann discusses the relationship between the clarinet and bassoon cadenzas in Scheherezade.
- Flutist Nicole Riner assigns her students repertoire that reinforces skill development (a re-“print” from the 2012 A Flutist’s Handbook: Pedagogy Anthology Vol. 2).
- Oboist Stephen Caplan reconsiders concentration in performance.
- Bassoonist Barry Stees shares a simple but revealing way to test reeds.
- Flutist Jessica Dunnavant discusses her complicated relationship with university teaching.
- David Pierce considers a pedagogical order for the Vivaldi bassoon concertos (a re-“print” from a 1987 article in the Journal of the International Double Reed Society).
- Oboist Jennet Ingle figures out how to give a good tuning A every time.
- Saxophonist Helen Kahlke avoids germs on the gig.
A few months ago I wrote a review of So You Want to Play in Shows…?, a book of woodwind doubling etudes by Paul Saunders. Recently Paul sent me Double Troubles, a new collection of etudes. Like So You Want, the new volume includes a piano part plus access to downloadable backing tracks. As I said in the previous review:
This is an elegant solution to one of the problems of woodwind doubling etudes: how do you enforce quick instrument switches? … Saunders’s book, used with the recordings, provides a simple way to work out quick switches alone in a practice room.
Like in the previous book, these etudes are musically interesting and in styles typical of contemporary musical theater. Double Troubles is overall somewhat more challenging, including some saxophone altissimo and flute third octave up to C (though most of the extreme high register playing on both instruments is marked as optional—Paul clarified to me that the upper register is preferable, and the optional 8vbs are to make the etudes more approachable if needed). The book also incorporates soprano and tenor saxophones on some etudes, in addition to the flute/clarinet/alto used in the first book.
I had fun playing through these, and recommend Paul’s doubling etude books as one of the best sources of practice material for the flute/clarinet/saxophone doubler.
- Betsy Sturdevant brainstorms some (tongue-in-cheek) reasons not to sharpen her bassoon reed profiler blade.
- Woodwind doubler Ed Joffe shares some practical advice about subbing on gigs.
- Flutist Nicole Riner explores some lessons about focus learned during an artist retreat.
- Joan Martí-Frasquier lists some repertoire for baritone saxophone.
- Oboist Jennet Ingle considers some ideas about motivation and doing difficult things.
- Clarinetist Michael Dean offers some small but useful performing tips.
- Flutist Jessica Quiñones shares some ways to build a private studio.
- Saxophonist Larry Weintraub recalls a day spent with Michael Brecker.
- Khara Wolf suggests solutions for oboe reeds with too-wide tip openings.