Wherever they go, Woodwinds can attract attention like no other instrument. Who can forget the beauty of Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet or the vibrancy of Benny Goodman’s Jazz band? How about Ian Anderson’s iconic one legged Flute playing for Jethro Tull? Or Rafael Ravenscroft’s unforgettable Sax break on Baker Street?
Woodwinds provide one of the cheapest and easiest introductions to the world of music via the Recorder or Irish (tin or Penny) Whistle, but despite their apparently humble nature, they are often taken to professional level, particularly in Folk Music. A good teacher is essential in moving from the basic nursery rhymes of infant school lessons to more substantial repertoire, and that’s my job.
Using graded studies and repertoire I can build up breath control and lung power while improving finger dexterity for more complex and satisfying music.
The lung power required makes the saxophone difficult for youngsters, but the Flute or Clarinet is no problem at Junior school age. Exam syllabi favour either Jazz or Classical in all woodwinds, and it is your choice what you do, but I recommend a mixture of the two to provide a broad foundation that can be applied to any form of music which attracts you. The more complicated Woodwind instruments (Flute/Clarinet/Saxophone) tend to be expensive to buy, but you must have an instrument to practise on.
All woodwinds have a big advantage in that your fingers mostly stay over the keys, so it becomes very easy to find your way about the notes. It only remains to strengthen your lip (embouchure) and build up your lungs.