Westmere Plaza, 1823 Western Avenue, Albany, NY 12203 | Call/Text: (518) 313-7577

Music Lessons on Woodwind Instruments

We offer lessons on woodwind instruments including the Oboe, Bassoon, Flute (piccolo), Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Alto Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, and Baritone Saxophone. Students will start with the basics of their chosen instrument such as proper tone production, hand position, finger placement and breath support. Intermediate and advanced students will further advance their studies through both technical studies and while learning significant repertoire within a variety of styles and genres. All of our lessons include instruction on music theory, notation, and rhythm while students explore classical music, popular music, and jazz!

About the Oboe

The modern standard oboe is most commonly made from grenadilla, also known as African blackwood. Student model oboes are often made from plastic resin, to avoid instrument cracking to which wood instruments are prone, but also to make the instrument more economical. It is played with a double reed consisting of two thin blades of cane tied together on a small-diameter metal tube (staple) which is inserted into the reed socket at the top of the instrument. Most professional oboists make their reeds to suit his or her individual needs. By making their reeds, oboists can precisely control factors such as tone color, intonation, and responsiveness. Commercially available cane reeds are available in several degrees of hardness; a medium reed is very popular, and most beginners use medium-soft reeds. As oboists gain more experience, they may start making their own reeds after the model of their teacher or buying handmade reeds (usually from a professional oboist) and using special tools including gougers, pre-gougers, guillotines, knives, and other tools to make the reed to their liking.

About the Flute

The Western concert flute, a descendant of the medieval German flute, is a transverse treble flute that is closed at the top. The flute has circular tone holes larger than the finger holes of its baroque predecessors. The size and placement of tone holes, key mechanism, and fingering system used to produce the notes in the flute’s range were evolved from 1832 to 1847 by Theobald Boehm and greatly improved the instrument’s dynamic range and intonation over its predecessors. With some refinements, Western concert flutes typically conform to Boehm’s design, known as the Boehm system. Beginner’s flutes are made of nickel, silver, or brass that is silver-plated, while professionals use solid silver, gold, and sometimes platinum flutes. There are also modern wooden-bodied flutes usually with silver or gold key work. The standard concert flute is pitched in C is one of the highest common orchestra and concert band instruments.

About the Clarinet

The clarinet belongs to the woodwind family of instruments. The modern clarinet was developed from a Baroque instrument called the chalumeau. Similar to a recorder it had a single-reed mouthpiece and a cylindrical bore. Around the turn of the 18th century, the chalumeau was modified by converting one of its keys into a register key to produce the first clarinet. The classical clarinet of Mozart’s day typically had eight finger holes and five keys. Mozart considered the tone of the clarinet as closest in quality to the human voice. By the time of Beethoven (c. 1800–1820), the clarinet was a standard fixture in the orchestra. The clarinet is the central instrument for many styles of music from classical to jazz. Variations on the instrument include the E flat clarinet, B flat clarinet (these are the most common), the Bass clarinet, and Contra Bass Clarinet.

About the Saxophone

The saxophone family was invented by the Belgian instrument maker Adolphe Sax in 1840. Adolphe Sax wanted to create a group or series of instruments that would be the most powerful and vocal of the woodwinds, and the most adaptive of the brass instruments, that would fill the vacant middle ground between the two sections.Saxophones are commonly used in jazz music, where it is one of the signature sounds, as well as an iconic image used to denote the style. Beginning in the early 20th century, saxophones became popular in dance orchestras, which were not jazz ensembles but influenced the format of the big swing era bands that were soon to follow. A versatile instrument, the saxophone also is well know within classical music and is an important member of Wind Ensembles. The saxophone family includes the soprano saxophone, the alto saxophone (most common for beginners)m the tenor saxophone, and the baritone saxophone.

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