Final Project Proposal

November 12, 2018 85 By Chloe

An Exploration of the Woodwind Quintet

Chloe Halsted



I intend to form a Woodwind Quintet and rehearse regularly in preparation for a recital in the spring semester.  My vision is to incorporate music from a diverse selection of genres, time periods, and composers in order to expose my audience to the full, rich potential of music for this type of ensemble.  I have explored many new realms of music throughout my time at Earlham, and I see this project as a return to my instrumental origins as a flutist.  I have loved performing chamber music in the past, and I look forward to exploring woodwind quintet music with my fellow musical colleagues.  I also anticipate that this will be an exciting adventure with woodwind quintet conducting as well, since I will be leading rehearsals with the additional outside help of Forrest Tobey and Erin Roesch as needed.


Ensemble Members

My entire ensemble consists of: 1 oboist (Brenna Hellman), 1 French horn player (Eric Nicholson), 1 bassoonist (Emma Stofferahn), 1 clarinetist (Jordan Lehman), and 1 flutist (me).

Additional coaching: Erin Roesch and Forrest Tobey



My primary equipment needs are as follows: scores and sheet music, a final concert venue, concert program paper, and any technical devices for the final performance.  I anticipate simply using one of the percussion practice rooms (as very few people are listed for weekly time slots) unless this proves to be too confining, in which case I will ask for weekly access to one of the larger jazz or percussion rooms.  I may also request to reserve Lingle for my weekly rehearsal time, depending on the availability of the ensemble members.  I will need to reimburse Erin Roesch for coaching sessions.  I will also need to purchase several scores based on the pieces that my ensemble selects.  The scores I have found on SheetMusicPlus have ranged from $8 to $15, so I do not anticipate needing more than $50 total for this purpose.



Thus far, my tentative plan for pieces is as follows:

  • “Allegretto” by F. Schubert
  • “Harry Potter Medley for Wind Quintet” by John Williams, arr. W. de Kool
  • “Yellow Bird – A Haitian Folk Song” arr. Thomas Graf
  • “Three Shanties for Wind Quintet” by Malcolm Arnold
  • “Irish Tune from Country Derry” by Percy Grainger —- likely a warmup tune to establish balance and blend

However, I plan to take the first one or two rehearsals to sightread through everything, in the hopes that my fellow musicians and I can get a better sense of which pieces bring us the most joy to both play and experience.



Some of the scores I’ve obtained have proven difficult to find on YouTube, Naxos, and IMSLP, so I need to keep searching for reliable recordings.  It has also proven difficult to find a rehearsal time that works for everyone, so despite having held two rehearsals already, I have yet to get everyone in the same room together.  Wednesday November 7th should be our first session as a full ensemble.


Preliminary Bibliography




I will prepare program notes for my final concert.  In addition to researching individual composers and pieces, I will also prepare a somewhat brief research paper on the development and history of the woodwind quintet ensemble.  Although I intend to schedule an appointment with Amy Bryant or José Ignacio Pareja in Lilly Library, my preliminary source for this information is a thesis published in 1969.

Shanley, Helen Ann. The Woodwind Quintet: Its Origin and Early Development, thesis, August 1969; Denton, Texas. (, University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library,


Timeline (weekly one hour rehearsals)

Sunday Oct. 7 – Saturday Oct. 13: First rehearsal, sightread pieces. Begin with “Irish Tune from Country Derry”

Sunday Oct. 14 – Saturday Oct. 20: First rehearsal, sightread pieces. Begin with “Irish Tune from Country Derry”

Sunday Oct. 21 – Saturday Oct. 27: Rehearse “Harry Potter Medley” “Three Shanties” and “Allegretto”

Sunday Oct. 28 – Saturday Nov. 3: Rehearse “Three Shanties” and “Yellow Bird”

Sunday Nov. 4 – Saturday Nov. 10: Rehearse “Three Shanties” (maybe introduce another piece?)

Sunday Nov. 11 – Saturday Nov. 17: Rehearse “Allegretto” and

Sunday Nov. 18 – Saturday Nov. 24: Thanksgiving

Sunday Nov. 25 – Saturday Dec. 1: Run all pieces thus far

Sunday Dec. 2 – Saturday Dec. 8: Rehearse (based on previous week)

Sunday Dec. 9 – Saturday Dec. 15: Final Rehearsal before Winter Break, another run-through of all pieces

Sunday Dec. 23 – Saturday Dec. 29: Winter Break

Sunday Dec. 30 – Saturday Jan. 5: Winter Break

Sunday Jan. 6 – Saturday Jan. 12: Winter Break

Sunday Jan. 13 – Saturday Jan. 19: First Rehearsal after Winter Break, debrief about which pieces to focus on first in order of difficulty

Sunday Jan. 20 – Saturday Jan. 27: Rehearse “Three Shanties” (maybe introduce another piece?)

Sunday Feb. 3 – Saturday Feb. 9: Rehearse “Allegretto”

Sunday Feb. 10 – Saturday Feb. 16: Rehearse “Yellow Bird” “Harry Potter Medley” and “Three Shanties”

Sunday Feb. 17 – Saturday Feb. 23: Rehearse, run-through with focus on “Three Shanties”

Sunday Feb. 24 – Saturday March 2: Final Dress Rehearsal

Sunday March 3 – Saturday March 9: Concert


Benefits and Personal Significance

My goal for this project is to reawaken my passion for woodwind chamber music and to incorporate my first introduction to music – the flute – into my senior capstone experience.  I would write program notes for my selected pieces (likely 4 to 5), lead rehearsals, and design a concert based on input from my fellow performing musicians and adviser(s).  I was exposed to conducting in high school and would like to build on my experience by concentrating on a smaller ensemble.  I hope to continue playing flute for the rest of my life, and designing a concert to incorporate woodwind chamber music would help facilitate my versatility as a musician.

My primary focus will be on the preparation of the music for my concert, and establishing successful collaboration with my fellow musicians, but I would like to share my findings with them and with my advisers as well.  I have experience conducting marching bands, but leading a woodwind ensemble “from the inside” will be new to me.  I hope to reflect on rehearsals, writing daily notes and observations, in order to continually improve and hone these conductor and leadership skills.



I would like assessment of the success of my senior project to be based on the blend, balance, and lyrical sensitivity of my ensemble.  Although no performance is perfect, a high grade of my ensemble should mean that we achieved an advanced level of musicality.

In addition, my program notes (including a brief description of the historical background of the woodwind quintet) should be evaluated based on the sophistication and detail of the content.

Finally, I will be keeping a journal of the progress of my rehearsal, and I would like this preparation and self-reflection to be incorporated into the overall evaluation of my project.