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Suggested Reading

1. Rehearsal Rooms

Struggling to improve the acoustics in your band room? Check out how the Medan Band did it.

2. Concerned about playing swing music properly?

Check out my guidelines

3. Ear training exercises for bands

Unlike piano players, ear training is essential for wind band performers. But how many band directors bother to give their bands suitable exercises?

4. Intonation problems

While tuning is simple act of adjusting a length of tubing on a wind instrument (often by reference to a single note), intonation is an ongoing process in which a player strives to match the pitch of others in the ensemble during performance. 

5. “Blowing” a wind instrument

A common misconception among wind players is to believe that the air moves through the instrument in order to produce the sound. This is simply not true. 

6. Conducting – suggestions for home practice

The best way for a conductor to improve is in front of a live ensemble. The unfortunate reality, however, is that this is not always possible. Aspiring conductors therefore have little choice but to find other ways of honing their skills.

 

Physical Requirements of the Player

As in the case of brass instruments, it is often wise to encourage students to take up the instrument that best fits their physical characteristics.  Small and short students would probably be better advised to avoid the bassoon or baritone saxophone, for example.  Clarinet players need to have fingers large enough to cover the tone holes.  Saxophone players do not need to cover tone holes, but they do need hands that are large enough to reach around the larger instrument. 

The teeth are important. 
It is also important to observe the general shape of the teeth.  Crooked teeth can cause the mouthpiece to shift off-centre.  An excessive overbite can also create difficulties, although such problems are probably not as serious as those facing brass players.  The flutist with an excessive overbite may not be able to form a sufficiently small aperture, while the clarinetist with similar physical characteristics may not be able to produce a good tension seal around the mouthpiece. 

It is important not to exaggerate the importance of physiology, however. In most cases, interest should be the most important factor.  Orthodontic treatment may sometimes be required, but most students with a reasonable degree of enthusiasm for their chosen instrument can usually adapt well enough.

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