“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”
With a few notable exceptions (shakuhachi, primitive flutes, bagpipes, harmonica, etc.) most wind instruments were conceived of and developed within group contexts. There needs to be a balance between solo practice and ensemble training throughout the development of any wind player.
To be its most useful, productive, and rewarding, instrumental study should be approached as a mind-body-spirit training process similar to yoga, qi gong, tai chi chuan, jiu jitsu and other holistic practices. Like these other disciplines, practicing in a group can raise the overall level of intensity. Perhaps more basic than this energetic benefit is the indispensable training of rhythmic integrity that can only happen within an ensemble setting.
Some of my students have sharply regressed within poorly instructed or ill-conceived ensembles, however, so this is not the kind of group training that I am talking about here. Ensemble practice should increase your awareness, heighten your connection with your instrument, and push your personal limits to new horizons within a short amount of time. It should not numb you with mundane repetition or dumb you with mindless conformity.
Individuals: Whether you currently lead or participate in an ensemble or would like to join one, please contact me so we can discuss your situation and expand your instrumental prowess by implementing and guiding your ensemble practice.
Groups: If you are newly formed or in need of an experienced perspective, please contact me with your group’s goals and current status.
I have 25 years of high level ensemble training: leading and participating in wind ensembles, jazz bands, orchestras, chamber groups, clarinet choirs, clarinet & bass clarinet quartets, funk & soul ensembles, theater and film pit orchestras, opera orchestras, rock bands, improvised/unconventional/creative music groups, duos, trios and spontaneous groupings of many kinds.