Wind Tech 9.13.10

Today in my wind techniques class we played our instruments together for the first time. For those of you who don’t know, music education majors have to take techniques and pedagogy classes for all the instruments, so we know how to teach them. There are classes for percussion, strings, band, and chorus. In this particular wind tech class I am learning trumpet, which I picked because my brother also plays. My principle instrument is clarinet, but I have also taken lessons on oboe, and can find my way around most of the other woodwind instruments fairly well (bassoon, flute, recorder, sax…). Playing a brass instrument is not necessarily too difficult a switch, but it is definitely a new world for me.

This class has been very interesting so far (and I say interesting not necessarily in a positive way…) because it has been nothing like what we were expecting, or like what I’ve heard it was last semester. We were told to print out a piece and bring it to class today, but the piece we were assigned was very difficult. (It was a tocatta.) Instead of actually playing the piece, we simple went through all the basics of the instruments; hand positions, reed placement, embouchure (the shape of your mouth), and other useful information, which I hope to include here at some point, and we also played some songs by rote. Learning a song by rote means that the teacher instructs the class in what fingers or notes to play, and the students don’t have to look at any sheet music whatsoever.

A point of note: in many band classes the first day or so with instruments is spent looking at the sheet music and playing long notes simultaneously, while some classes teach a short song (like “Hot Cross Buns”) by rote and play it the first day. I think both methods are advantageous, but also have their negative signs. What do you think?

About Lady Fair

Lady is a musician with a bachelor's degree in music education. She plays multiple instruments and has participated in numerous musical ensembles, giving her a wide variety of experiences and knowledge to use in her teaching career. Of her ensemble participation, she has fifteen years of band experience, nine years choral, and four years in orchestra. Éowyn's primary instrument is clarinet, with voice and piano being close secondary instruments. Throughout her musical education career she studied voice and clarinet simultaneously. In addition to clarinet, piano, and voice, she has also studied violin and oboe at the college level, and also plays recorder, tin whistle, and other instruments in the woodwind family. If you ask her, she will say, "I chose to major in music education because I have a desire to use my knowledge and experience in music to share its beauty and foster a love of music in the hearts of my students. I hope to encourage my students to try their hardest, feel like they have accomplished something, and give them a life long passion for music." Lady currently teaches private lessons on clarinet, sax, flute, oboe, piano, and voice, and recently gained a position teaching orchestra and chorus at a local middle school. She is also a member of the Once Upon a Dream woodwind ensembles.
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