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Thread: Should I also play a woodwind?

  1. Should I also play a woodwind?

    I would like to know others’ thoughts on the pros/cons of a brass player also playing a woodwind instrument. Is it hurtful to the embouchure for a euphonium player, for example, to also play a clarinet? Should it be avoided or is there no harm in this? Does it depend on the extent of involvement? Thanks.

  2. #2
    Welcome to the forum!

    I don't recall this particular question arising before. It is not a common double, but I don't see that woodwind instruments would do any harm to a brass player's embouchure, nor is it likely to do a lot of good. I have a student right now who is doubling on sax and he has not had any issues. In college, I had to take oboe, bassoon, clarinet, and flute, in addition to cornet, French horn, and tuba. It's been a long time, but I seem to recall that the brass instruments slightly affected my euphonium embouchure, while I did not notice any effect from the woodwinds.
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams E3, Denis Wick 4AL (classic)
    Instructor of Euphonium and Tuba
    Twitter: davewerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    YouTube: dwerden
    Owner of TubaEuph.com, DWerden.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Location
    Central North Carolina
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    I'm a converted saxophone (and later, flute) player. 15 years of lessons/playing on the saxophone; self-taught on the flute. If you choose flute, you'll at least be playing a brass (or maybe silver) "woodwind".

    Just curious: Why clarinet?
    Gary Merrill
    Wessex EEb Bass tuba (Denis Wick 3XL)
    Mack Brass Compensating Euph (DE N106, Euph J, J9 euph)
    Amati Oval Euph (DE N106, Euph J, J6 euph)
    1924 Buescher 3-valve Eb tuba, modified Kelly 25
    Schiller American Heritage 7B clone bass trombone (DE LB K/K9/112 Lexan, Brass Ark MV50R)
    1947 Olds "Standard" trombone (Olds #3)

  4. I play flute (baroque and simple system, but the embouchure is basically the same as modern flute) as well as low brass. I see no problems with doing both. I also have a good friend who plays trombone and sax in the same band. The only issue I can see is that practice time spent on your secondary instrument is time not spent practicing your primary one. I do notice that while it is easy for me to put down a flute and immediately pick up a euphonium, it’s best if I have an hour or so break before going the other way.

    The best reason for playing clarinet would be that you happen to enjoy doing it.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Central North Carolina
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeS View Post

    The best reason for playing clarinet would be that you happen to enjoy doing it.
    Yes. The reason for my question about the clarinet preference is that among the most common (non-double reed) woodwinds, clarinet is sure the most challenging and demanding.
    Gary Merrill
    Wessex EEb Bass tuba (Denis Wick 3XL)
    Mack Brass Compensating Euph (DE N106, Euph J, J9 euph)
    Amati Oval Euph (DE N106, Euph J, J6 euph)
    1924 Buescher 3-valve Eb tuba, modified Kelly 25
    Schiller American Heritage 7B clone bass trombone (DE LB K/K9/112 Lexan, Brass Ark MV50R)
    1947 Olds "Standard" trombone (Olds #3)

  6. Thanks to Dave, Gary and Mike for your replies. The clarinet was just inserted as an example in my question, but it was also the first instrument I played, back in fifth grade. We have a tuba player in our New Horizons band whom I was surprised to see playing clarinet this summer session. And I was very surprised to hear that he is very good on both instruments. For some reason (probably misinformation I heard a long time ago), I had believed that wasn’t possible. I guess I had made too large a division between brass and woodwind.

  7. Thanks, Dave, for the welcome. Just wanted to say that I am also a University of Iowa grad — but not in music.

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