The Woodwinds: Perform, Understand, Teach provides comprehensive coverage about the woodwind family of musical instruments for prospective instrumental music teachers. What sets this book apart is its focus on how to teach the instruments. Preparing students in the how of teaching is the ultimate goal of the woodwind class and the ultimate goal of this book, which organizes information by its use in teaching beginning instrumentalists.
In developing performance and understanding, pre-service teachers are positioned to learn to teach through performance—contrasted with an "old-school" belief that one must first spend much time tediously trying to understand how things work before playing the instruments.
The book is organized in three parts: Preliminaries, Teaching the Instruments, and Foundations. Chapters in Teaching the Instruments are organized by instrument (flute, clarinet, saxophone, oboe, bassoon) and, within each instrument, according to how an effective teacher might organize experiences for novice learners. Basic embouchure and air stream are covered first, followed by instrument assembly, then hands and holding. Embouchure coverage returns in greater depth, then articulation, and finally "the mechanism," which includes sections on the instruments of the family, transposition, range, special fingerings, tuning and intonation, and reeds. In Foundations, topics are situated in big picture contexts, calling attention to the broad applicability of information across instruments.