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Playing Tips

  • Tongue Position

    Zachary Fell | November 13, 2022One of the things I find that my early saxophone and clarinet learners need to focus on is tongue placement. The technique I was taught, and I find very helpful, is to have the tongue in an “E” vowel shape. This keeps the back of the tongue flat in the back of the mouth and […] Read More...
  • Teaching Beginning Trumpet Embouchure

    Charles Mekealian | October 13, 2022Through my years of teaching beginner trumpet players, I found the “M-P” technique has been the most successful way to teach embouchure. I had read books and had many trumpet teachers talk to me about how to create an appropriate embouchure. I always found it difficult to convey those concepts to not only elementary age […] Read More...
  • Specialization Fosters Success

    Mike Lawson | September 5, 2022Have your students play in instrument-specific choirs or chamber groups such as trumpet ensemble, clarinet ensemble, low brass ensemble, brass choir, woodwind choir, string quartet, brass quintet, woodwind quintet, etc.  This will develop your student’s section playing and help achieve a blended sound/sonority throughout the sections and in full band or orchestra. Joseph Canzano Tampa, […] Read More...
  • Focus on Technique

    Joseph Canzano | August 2, 2022By changing the name of the “Warm-Up” to “Technique”, the students perceive and will approach this crucial daily process differently. You may consider designating a day each week when the group focuses more on technique than music. This creates a prime opportunity to isolate the bands areas for improvement including tone quality/sonority, articulation, and phrasing. […] Read More...
  • Play With Your Trio

    Jon Bubbett | July 8, 2022Tone quality, intonation, and balance all go hand in hand in creating a great ensemble sound. Start by reminding your students to always stay inside the sound of the person on either side of them. Focus and have them make their individual sound “disappear” into the ensemble sound! The results can be amazing! Jon Bubbett […] Read More...
  • Just Breathe

    Thomas Palmatier | June 15, 2022The ensemble that breathes together will play together. This doesn’t just apply to wind instruments. Have you ever watched a superb percussionist up close? How about a wonderful string section? You’ll notice they breathe together, often matching their breathing to the wind instruments. Want to improve your ensemble playing? Just breathe! Tom Palmatier Read More...
  • Don’t Forget the Percussion

    Mike Lawson | May 2, 2022Adding percussion to your daily warmup routine will engage those musicians from the beginning of the rehearsal.  Consider doubling the woodwinds on keyboard percussion instruments.  Direct them to concentrate on implement and strike technique. In addition, they should focus on timbre/tone production with a careful and consistent playing zone on the individual mallet bars. The […] Read More...
  • To Conduct or Not to Conduct?

    SBO Staff | April 20, 2022When playing your chorale at the end of the warm-up, try an unconducted performance. This forces the band or orchestra to listen intently as an ensemble and promotes a unified approach to phrasing. This not only helps with their sense of time; it focuses the ensemble on breathing together. Joseph Canzano Tampa, FL   Read More...
  • Keep on Running!

    Heather Hoefle | March 18, 2022Barlines are finish lines, not stop signs. You run through them. Heather Hoefle, Teacher & Composer Homewood SD153 Flossmoor, IL Read More...
  • When the Note Ends…

    Mike Lawson | February 23, 2022A note ends when the next note or rest begins. Pay attention to where notes end, not just where they start. It is the first step to creating musical direction. Heather Hoefle Teacher & Composer Homewood SD153 Flossmoor, IL Read More...
  • Tuning the Band and Orchestra

    Robert W. Smith | January 19, 2022When tuning the band or orchestra, be sure to focus not only on matching pitch, but tuning octaves. Many instruments of the ensemble are displaced from the reference pitch by an octave or more. I suggest beginning with tuning the principal players. Once the pitch and octaves are secure, use the principal players together as […] Read More...
  • To Conduct or Not to Conduct?

    Joseph Canzano | December 18, 2021When playing your chorale at the end of the warm up, try not conducting and ask the band/orchestra work together as a team to deliver the music. In addition to helping with their sense of time and tempo, it will force them to listen carefully throughout the ensemble. Most importantly, it will require them breath […] Read More...
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