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Characteristic Tone in the Wind Band

Tone is a term used constantly in the band world. Almost every adjudicator form at any given festival or concert assessment will include a caption for the evaluation of “Tone” and quite often it is the first thing the adjudicator will see when filling in the rubric for a given performance. This concept of “Quality Tone” is inherent in the development of any musical ensemble. However, many music educators struggle with how to teach the concept of “Tone.” Yet, it is extremely important for the Wind Conductor to impart the concept of a quality tone for the full ensemble and it is equally important for the educators to develop the concept of tone on an individual level for each student. The development of a good tone quality for an ensemble can only be achieved if the individual members of the ensemble recognize and can produce a good tone quality on their instrument.


The development of discerning good tone quality comes from someone totally immersing themselves on his or her respective instruments. As educators, we should not only encourage but lead our students to the resources which will allow them to recognize a quality characteristic sound on their instrument. Specifically, we must direct our students to quality performances and/or recordings by the greatest performers of the instruments our students have chosen. presents a list of musicians who exemplify the best qualities on their wind band instruments:


Jean Pierre Rampal

Jeanne Baxtresser

James Galway

Jasmine Choi

OBOE Albrecht Mayer

Sarah Francis


Meyrick Alexander

Aligi Voltan

Daniel Smith


Sharon Kam

Eddie Daniels

Richard Stoltzman


Marcelo Maldonado


Amy Dickson

Dale Underwood


TRUMPET Wynton Marsalis Alison Balsom Håkan Hardenberger HORN Dale Clevenger Annamia Eriksson Radek Baborák TROMBONE Joe Alessi David Finlayson Christian Lindberg EUPHONIUM Roger Behrend Brian Bowman TUBA Sam Pilafian Patrick Sheridan Andrew Hitz

I also recommend you check out Andrew Hitz's YouTube Channel (especially his Playlist!) He has created playlist for most of the wind band instruments.

Great Resource!!



PHOTO: University of Missouri–St. Louis Wind Ensemble - Gary Brandes, Conductor


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