Studying Reed-Making with Louis Skinner, Part 1

Like many bassoonists of my generation, I studied with Louis Skinner. His ideas and techniques were, for the time, a revelation for us young bassoonists. It is now somewhat ancient history, and I will be undertaking several articles about my experiences and thoughts on how to use his ideas. He ...

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Published in Reed Making

Musicians Behaving Badly, Part One

December 5, 2014 by Leave a comment

Recently I have seen news of the situation in Dallas with their music director and it has been distressing to hear. I know several of the musicians in that ensemble. I’ve also heard of the recent start of the series “Mozart in the Jungle” relating to Blair Tindall’s excellent book ...

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Published in Orchestras

The Orchestra Is a Remarkable Instrument!

March 14, 2012 by Leave a comment

The orchestra is a remarkable instrument. The sheer beauty of sound can’t compare to any other musical medium. Of the various sections, the woodwinds have a huge range of colours available. No other area of the ensemble can even come close to this range. It sometimes dismays me that woodwind ...

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Published in Orchestras

Are Some Music Schools Better Than Others?

February 18, 2012 by Leave a comment

Music is a subjective art. Whether you are listening, playing or writing it is a matter of taste. I’ve known musicians that won’t listen to a Viennese orchestra because they dislike Viennese oboe playing. I admit, it is different because of the kind of oboe they use. It doesn’t seem ...

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Published in Orchestras

How To Deal with Leaky Tubes in Bassoon Reeds

December 14, 2011 by Leave a comment

As fall turns to winter and the air gets dryer, I find students have problems getting proper tubes for their reeds during this season. When I first came here from a more temperate climate, I had to struggle with leaky tubes myself. The winters can be brutal here, and very ...

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Published in Reed Making

Reed Happiness in 5 Steps!

October 28, 2011 by Leave a comment

Try these 5 steps for flawless reeds:

1. Measure everything. Yes, I mean everything. This includes your gouge before you even begin shaping and profiling.

Keep the same length for your tube and your wire placements. Keep your tip generally the same length also. Limit the number of variables for ...

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Published in Reed Making

Bach and Beyond — Join me for a Winnipeg Wind Ensemble Concert!

October 22, 2011 by 1 comment

This Sunday, I’ll be playing a concert with the Winnipeg Wind Ensemble. This will be the first of three Winnipeg Wind Ensemble concerts this year – I’ll be playing in all of them. Some of the players are colleagues I know from my Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra days and I’ve played ...

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Published in Concerts

How Music Should Really Be Taught!

I have taught a number of young musicians over the years. Some of them have even ventured to become professional musicians. Being a teacher is, in many ways, daunting.  I firmly believe you can’t teach anyone anything. All you can do is lead and hope they do the work needed ...

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Published in Teaching Music

Do Orchestras Need Improvement?

It’s no surprise that North America orchestras are in a crisis situation. Orchestras like Philadelphia, Honolulu and Detroit have experienced serious problems with sustainability, despite the popularity of classical music in general. The situation in Europe is slightly better. European orchestras enjoy state sponsorship, but they have had problems as ...

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Published in Orchestras

Do You Need Expensive Tools To Make Great Reeds? Not!

April 19, 2011 by 1 comment

I am not a great fan of reed making. I do it because I need to have reeds to play my bassoon. Over time, I have been able to get the kind of reeds that work for me. It hasn’t been easy. I studied with Louis Skinner when I was ...

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Published in Reed Making