The Instrumentalist

Articles September 2013

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Marching:
Tips for the Middle of Marching Season
Here are some pick-me-ups for when the freshness of the marching season wears off. “We had a judge who, after listening to a percussion program, called one of the phrases bland. We agreed, so we added handbells to the phrase, and when he heard it the next time, he said, ‘I love this.’”
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Teaching:
Understanding Intonation
“Although it is possible for brass players to adjust pitches solely by using their embouchures, this approach decreases endurance considerably faster and also adversely affects the consistency of the tone. It is far better to use alternate fingerings when the option is there.”
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Programming:
Finding High-Quality Music
“Rather than ignoring older music in favor of the new flavor of the day, familiarize yourself with the literature from past decades by studying one composer at a time. Such study will make it easy to find good music from all periods at the appropriate difficulty level.”
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Woodwind Clinic:
Choosing Clarinet Altissimo Fingerings
With more than ten options just for G6, choosing the best fingering for altissimo notes on the clarinet can be difficult. Here is how to sift through all the possibilities.
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Woodwind Clinic:
Teaching Saxophone Vibrato
“When left to their own devices or given insufficient guidance, saxophone students will teach themselves to produce vibrato incorrectly. Many, after hearing someone else play vibrato, will arrive at something resembling a diaphragm vibrato. This method works quite well on the flute but not the saxophone.”
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Notes from Northfield:
“Today was the first day of school; I am so scared. I don’t know if I can do this.”
Excerpts from a Instrumentalist Classic from September 1993.
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Conducting Clinic:
Ten Common Conducting Problems
“A conductor only has two arms and cannot show everything, but some try to do so anyway. At times, a conductor can be trying to show so much that the important information is lost in the clutter.”
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Life of Reely:
Are You Sirius
Trey details his struggles with Siri’s lack of musical literacy.
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Instrumentalist Classic:
Preventive Maintenance, Cleaning, and Handling
“Simply holding a brass instrument reduces its life expectancy, because butyric, lactic, and hydrochloric acids present in perspiration attack metals. Players secrete either alkaline or acidic solutions that eat through plating, lacquer, and brass.”
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