Until electronics, woodwinds were the new guys on the block! The make-up of the modern symphony, symphonic and concert bands only became possible in the last 150 or so years. With the exception of the flutes and their little cousins the piccolos, woodwinds were primarily invented instruments from the mid 1800s. Woodwinds, so-called because most either are, or have at some time, been made from wood and the sound is made by altering the air column (wind) as it flows through the length of the instrument tube.

Read more: The Modern Mellow Music Makers: Woodwinds

Current Issue

Every year, we encounter some students who have difficulty getting a characteristic tone on their clarinet or saxophone. We hear squeaks and squawks, notes that sound dull or don’t speak at all, and much more.

Read more: Three Tips To Improve The Tone Of Your Clarinet And Saxophone Students


It takes more than just plugging in a microphone and pushing a record button to make a good recording. It’s important to understand how sound works and why. How it is shaped, how it is captured, and the entire process is important to making great recordings. It’s critical that you’re thinking about these as you plan and prepare for your sessions if you want to insure maximum quality and professional results every time.

Read more: Planning Checklist for Recording Your Band

String Section

Tuning a violin/viola/cello/bass — is difficult! Most beginners have fine tuners to help them as they learn the art of tuning their strings. As one advances, usually the upper strings do away with fine tuners with the exception of the top string and you have to learn to deal with problems that arise that make tuning with the pegs frustrating, to say the least. There are instances where I find myself grumbling and in general complaining to my instrument as it does not respond as I need it to. To follow protocol for professional experiences is to assume that the musician has control over their instrument.

Read more: Orchestral Etiquette and the Professional Environment: Tuning


In this article we will identify reference points that allow us to place the notes of a rhythm in exactly the right place.

Read more: Overthought And Under-Taught - Part 3: Reference Points - Coming From/Going To/Hanging Out


Are you tired of handing students the same piece of music over and over again? What I tried with limited and poor results: I spent three years teaching band in a Title I school outside Atlanta, Georgia. My student’s, were excited about band, loved to play, but every day I was reinventing the wheel by redistributing music that was lost or supposedly “stolen.” It was time consuming and frustrating. I recognized my students dealt with a great deal of disorganization and general chaos in their home life that naturally carried over into the school. While I was empathetic, I still needed to solve two problems to maximize my teaching time and teach students how to organize and take control for themselves. Problem one: organizing materials for class and home use, and problem two getting lost materials back to the student who owned them.

Read more: Simple, Effective Organization That Works!


IK Multimedia iRig HD 2 is the sequel to the iRig HD digital guitar interface for iPhone, iPad, Mac & PC. The iRig HD 2 features 24-bit analog-to-digital conversion and a best-in-class 96kHz sample rate that delivers a noiseless guitar signal to devices and computers. It features an input gain control for dialing in the right amount of signal for playing and recording and a multicolor LED indicator for precise signal monitoring.

Read more: IK Multimedia iRig HD 2


Charles M. Schulz and Dr. Seuss continue to entertain generations of readers and viewing audiences. Schulz’s It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, mark their fiftieth anniversaries in October 2016 and December 2016, respectively. Both specials can be used by music educators to enhance learning. The world famous animated characters can motivate students to learn about music as well as Halloween and Christmas history and traditions.

Read more: The Great Pumpkin and The Grinch Turn 50!

MAC Corner

It is early in the school year and enthusiasm is high among students and teachers. Having some time apart in the summer allows everyone to recharge his or her batteries and get ready to make this year the best one ever. For those of us who have been teaching awhile we start to look ahead to the next phase of our lives. The energy and enthusiasm may still be there, but let’s face it, we are beginning to age and with that we have (hopefully) allowed our unbridled energy to transcend into wisdom and making more effective decisions.

Read more: It’s Time to Refill the Ranks

Letters to the Editor

Dear Mike,

I just read your article this morning in the August issue of SB&O magazine. Good article. When I graduated from high school in Chicago back in 1969, I went to college for two weeks and then I realized I needed a change. So, I joined the Marine Corps intending to go to Viet Nam. My father wouldn’t speak to me for two weeks.

Read more: Michael Urbaszewski


On the Road

Do you have a story to tell about taking your school music groups on the road? SBO wants to hear about it!

Click Here to Submit Your Story

Directors who make a Difference

Do you know a fantastic K-12 instrumental music educator who is deserving of recognition in SBO?

Click here to nominate a director 

and tell us why he or she should be featured in SBO’s annual "Directors Who Make a Difference" report.

SBO Web Poll

This year, our primary major band travel is for:

Festival Competitions - 42.5%
Public Performances - 30%
Educational Workshops - 5%
Some of All of the Above - 20%

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