ClarinetMike Blog 7th Anniversary Contest: Subscribe by Email to the Free Blog and WIN A PRIZE!

ClarinetMike says, “Thanks for making the ClarinetMike Blog the #1 Clarinet Blog in the World according to Google Search. Subscribe by Email for Free to the Blog to Never Miss a Post and WIN A PRIZE!”

HISTORY: Early in 2011, Mrs. ClarinetMike said to me, “Hey, you should start a clarinet blog.” And then on March 16, 2011, I posted the following:

Welcome to ClarinetMike Blog!

Hello World! My name is Michael Dean (aka ClarinetMike) and this is my new blog.  I will be posting on all things clarinet (and saxophone, too).  To stay updated you may want to subscribe to my blog by email or RSS – see the buttons to the right. Thanks! Mike


CONTEST: To celebrate the 7th Anniversary of the ClarinetMike Blog and to encourage people to subscribe by email (FREE!),  I’ve decided to run a contest as in years past. (Note: Subscribing by email for free helps ensure you don’t miss a ClarinetMike Blog Post. Facebook is now heavily filtering what it puts out on News Feed, Groups, etc.)

Who? The contest is open to all. FIVE lucky winners will be randomly selected after Friday, March 23. (Note: Some prizes below have travel restrictions.*) Winners will be notified privately and not announced.

What? Possible Prizes include (but not limited to):

Clarinet CD
ClarinetMike Clinic*
ClarinetMike Skype Lesson
Clarinet CD Download Card
ClarinetMike One-Day Residency with Clinics, etc.*
Restaurant Gift Card (at one of ClarinetMike’s Favorites!)

When? Contest begins immediately (right now!) and ends Friday, March 23, 2018 at NOON Central Time USA (5 pm UTC or GMT).

How? To enter the contest, you must subscribe to the ClarinetMike Blog. Go to Email Subscription under the Archives at the bottom right side of this blog post. Just enter your email address in the box and then click “Sign me up!” If you’ve already subscribed by email and want to enter the contest, comment on this post or send me an email (


THANKS! Hey, thanks for making the ClarinetMike Blog the #1 clarinet blog in the world according to Google Search.

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JOB SEARCH HELP! ClarinetMike’s “LinkedIn, Lumpy, and Me”

Dr. Michael Dean “ClarinetMike”

It is Spring Break time here in Texas and I know many of you are looking for a job (or a better one!).  Some of you are soon to be spending lots of quality time at the TMEA Job Vacancy Search page – click here. Therefore, I am reposting the below.

[FYI, I’ve recently spruced up my own LinkedIn Profile with an updated bio, new videos, recommendations, etc. Join me on LinkedIn at]

“LinkedIn, Lumpy and Me” by Dr. Michael Dean “ClarinetMike”

Scene: ClarinetMike is chatting with Lumpy, an assistant band director, between lessons outside a practice room in a large band hall.

ClarinetMike: I recently set up my own LinkedIn page, why don’t you connect to me?


ClarinetMike: It is a business-oriented social networking service. [See Wikipedia on it.]

Lumpy:  I don’t need more to do – I never even post on Facebook! Why should I care about LinkedIn?

ClarinetMike: Excellent question, Lumpy. LinkedIn is hot in the business world and there seems to be a lot of musicians and music organizations on it.  The key thing about LinkedIn is that it is focused entirely on job-related stuff. I’ve noticed that many music people who are not on Facebook have profiles on LinkedIn.

Lumpy: I know that Wally, the head band director here, is not on Facebook. Is he on LinkedIn?

ClarinetMike: Yes. I just connected with Wally on there yesterday.

Lumpy: He’s on there? Wow! What does LinkedIn offer? Will it help me get a better job?

ClarinetMike: Perceptive question, Lumpy! My brother-in-law, Ward, is a Human Resources Director at a large company. He told me that in the business world, “if you are looking for a job,  you need to have a profile on LinkedIn.”

Lumpy: So, a LinkedIn Profile is like an online resume for those looking for a job. Correct?

ClarinetMike: Yes, correct. And, there’s more. LinkedIn also has discipline-specific professional groups where people post and discuss various issues in a way similar to Facebook. However, it is all related to business – no pictures of June’s lovely new dress or Beav and Larry playing baseball, etc.

Lumpy: Sounds interesting. Tell me more….

ClarinetMike: I’m still new to it myself and learning about it. I also think that LinkedIn is evolving and changing much as Facebook did. I’ll send you a recent YouTube video that has information on setting up a profile.

YouTube Video: 

Lumpy: Thanks! I’ll check out LinkedIn. I’ll also have to connect to our friend Eddie, the horn teacher. I’m sure he’s on there!


ClarinetMike says, “Get a LinkedIn profile and connect to me HERE.”

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7 Ways to Improve Clarinet Tone Immediately! (or almost immediately)

Dr. Michael Dean “ClarinetMike” after an orchestra concert.

ClarinetMike says, “The granddaddy and best of all clarinet tone quick fixes is ‘More Air.’ Here’s 7 more.”

7 Ways to Improve Clarinet Tone Immediately! (or almost immediately)
by Dr. Michael Dean “ClarinetMike”

1. Show Me Your Reed! I suggest band directors and private teachers personally inspect the reed of each and every student. Don’t let the students play on reeds that are super old (soft) or badly chipped (however, sometimes slightly chipped reeds will play ok).  This leads to:

2. Get a Good Reed! Do what it takes to have high quality reeds to practice and perform on. Check out the newer reeds from Vandoren and D’Addario. Remember, the best clarinet player in the world sounds bad on a bad reed.

3. Don’t Pinch The Corners of the Reed. Be sure to keep the lower lip flat against the reed so as not to crimp the sides of the reed.  Once past the reed, the lips can seal to keep air from leaking out. Remember, clarinet sound is produced by the vibration of the reed. The more the reed vibrates, the more sound is produced. (This is E-Tip #2 from my 5 E-Tips for E-Lips Clarinet Embouchure Tips. For more on this tip and the other embouchure E-Tips, go HERE.)

4. Voice Eee’s.  I’ve found it very helpful to use different “Eee” syllables when playing in different registers on the clarinet. Go HERE to check out the syllables. (This is E-Tip #3  from my 5 E-Tips for E-Lips Clarinet Embouchure Tips. For more on this tip and the other embouchure E-Tips, go HERE.)

5. Sit Up Tall. Noted clarinetist Julian Bliss said something similar at a clinic I recently attended at TMEA. Check out a couple related ClarinetMike Blog posts HERE and HERE.

6. Project Your Sound. Think about it, work on it, and DO IT! Check out my article on sound projection HERE.

7. THINK! Pay Attention to Tone.  Students: Don’t just mindlessly blow. Listen! Teachers: Don’t put up with bad clarinet sounds – work on them! You will find my 5-C Clarinet Embouchure helpful: check it out HERE.

NOTE: The above is a revised and enhanced version of a previous post.

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Dogs, Baseball and Clarinet Playing! Harness the POWER of Great Clarinet Habits for You and Your Students!

DOG! Our beloved family Golden Retriever, Andy, was a creature of constant habit, just like people!

BASEBALL! When I was a kid, I played little league baseball. While fielding a position, my coaches taught me to keep my right thumb between my first two fingers when the pitcher started to make his pitch. This way, if a ball was hit to me, my fingers would go to the ball in my glove with perfect hand position for throwing a baseball (see pictures below).

I’ve noticed lately that when I’m walking around that my right thumb is often between my first two fingers! I haven’t played baseball in little league for decades, but the finger position habit I developed as a kid is still with me! [I just stopped typing, looked down, and there was my right thumb between my first two fingers!]

CLARINET! The above is a small, but significant, illustration of the power of habit to shape our lives.  In view of this, I believe it is vital that we constantly work to ingrain great habits (physical and mental) in our own clarinet playing and that of our students. This is true not only for the rhythms, notes and dynamics of a specific work one is working on, but with fundamentals such as relaxation, posture, confidence, embouchure, tone, tonguing, voicing, etc.  

Here’s an example of how this often works out in the clarinet (and saxophone, etc.) world. In late April, music majors at colleges and universities in the USA will be feverishly preparing scales, etudes, solos and such for upcoming music juries in May. Some will be in a panic because they did not spend enough time earlier in the semester learning their music slowly and carefully  – they rushed through the music playing it too fast for accurate learning. They made habits of no dynamics, poor rhythms, and even wrong notes.  Then in late April, they’ll spend lots and lots and lots of time frantically trying to fix the jury music and “unlearn” all the ingrained (or habitualized) crummy playing. (For help on practicing – GO HERE.)

ClarinetMike says, “Constantly Load GREAT HABITS!”

NOTE: The above is modified version of a previous post.


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ClarinetMike at TMEA 2018: Free Clarinet Consulting!

Dr. Michael Dean “ClarinetMike”


I will be offering FREE clarinet advice and good cheer at the Texas Music Educators Association [TMEA] Clinic/Convention 2018 on February 14-17 in beautiful downtown San Antonio. I’ll be at the BG Franck Bichon Booth (#353) in the Exhibits offering free clarinet consultation on the below days/times. Also, below is a list of other great clarinet events during TMEA 2018 (please let me know if I missed any). Special thanks to Franck Bichon, Juan Garijo, Tim Elvy and all the great folks at BG!

ClarinetMike says, “Please feel free to text me at 682-888-7639 if you want to chat about clarinet at a different time during TMEA. I arrive in San Antonio on Wednesday at noon and leave Saturday in the early afternoon.”

ClarinetMike at TMEA 2018: Free Clarinet Consulting!
BG Franck Bichon Booth #353 in Exhibits, Hall 1 & 2
Thursday, February 15:  9-11 am and 4-5 pm (I can keep going after 5 pm)
Friday, February 16: 10 am-NOON and 4-6 pm


Clarinet Events at TMEA 2018
Thursday, February 15

9 am-5 pm: Exhibits Open

9-11 am:  ClarinetMike at TMEA: Free Clarinet Consulting! BG Franck Bichon Booth #353 in Exhibits, Hall 1 & 2

11:30 am-12:30 pm: David Shea (Texas Tech) Clinic “Clarinet Fundamentals Toolkit – Fix Your Clarinet Section,” CC Stars at Night Ballroom 1

2-2:30 pm: Texas Tech University Clarinet Choir Concert, CC West Registration Music Showcase

3:30-4 pm: all about 5: A Woodwind Quintet Concert, CC West Lobby Music Showcase

4-5 pm: ClarinetMike at TMEA: Free Clarinet Consulting! BG Franck Bichon Booth #353 in Exhibits, Hall 1 & 2 [NOTE: I can keep going with consulting after 5 pm.]

Clarinet Events at TMEA 2018
Friday, February 16

9:30 am-10 am: Texas Woman’s University Clarinet Quartet Concert, CC West Lobby Music Showcase

10 am-8 pm: Exhibits Open

10 am-Noon: ClarinetMike at TMEA: Free Clarinet Consulting! BG Franck Bichon Booth #353 in Exhibits, Hall 1 & 2

2:30-3:30 pm: all about 5: A Woodwind Quintet Clinic, “Using the Woodwind Quintet as a Teaching Tool,” CC Stars at Night Ballroom 1

4 pm-6 pm: ClarinetMike at TMEA: Free Clarinet Consulting! BG Franck Bichon Booth #353 in Exhibits, Hall 1 & 2

6:30-7:30 pm: Julian Bliss Clarinet Clinic: “Improve Your Clarinet Section” CC 221

Clarinet Events at TMEA 2018
Saturday, February 17

9 am-NOON: Exhibits Open

Noon-12:30 pm: Neo Trio Clarinet Concert, CC West Lobby Music Showcase

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7 Sight-Reading Tips From ClarinetMike

Dr. Michael Dean “ClarinetMike”

The tips and related quotes below are from one of my ClarinetMike Clinics (CLICK HERE).

7 Sight-Reading Tips From ClarinetMike by Dr. Michael Dean “ClarinetMike”

  1. Sight-Read. “Just Do It!” The best way to learn to read at sight is to do it every day. Make sure to read all different kinds of music. A nice book to start with is Rubank’s Supplementary Studies by R.M. Endresen. It’s been arranged for many instruments. (This book is inexpensive and has a million uses. Get it.)
  2. Rhythm First. I like to say, “Play the Rhythm, Guess at the Notes.” The idea is to “guess” at the rhythms first!
  3. Scan Plan. At an audition or a contest, you usually get a little time to look over the music before sight-reading. Have an organized plan to quickly check things like tempo, style, key, key changes, accidentals, busy areas (areas of fast notes), etc.
  4. Don’t Stop, Keep Going. Keep forging ahead as you sight-read – don’t worry about mistakes. If you get lost, start back up where you stopped, never repeat anything.
  5. Just Duet! Read duets with a buddy – it’s fun and it’s good for you!
  6. Transpose. Occasionally transpose music while sight-reading (C and A Clarinet on Bb clarinet, Bass Clef on bass clarinet and alto saxophone, etc.)
  7. Play With Recordings. Try sitting in front of a big HD (4K) TV sight-reading along with a video of a major orchestra, wind ensemble, or jazz band playing a work. (NOTE: Some orchestras don’t play at A=440.)

“The main things we’re looking for are a tone that blends with the others players, outstanding musicianship, and thorough preparation, which spills over into sightreading – being able to get a piece of music performance-ready very quickly.”
Noted Conductor Jerry Junkin
(from “What Are The Top Qualities You Look For When Hiring A Wind Musician?” WINDPLAYER #59, p. 12)

“If you aren’t prepared enough for a gig or a lesson,
being great at sight-reading can save your neck.”
Somewhat-Famous Clarinet Blogger

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2018 Clarinet Colloquium Schedule of Events

ClarinetMike says, “GO!”

Below is the performing and class schedule for the upcoming FREE 2018 Clarinet Colloquium (link) at Texas A&M University-Commerce on Friday, March 2 and Saturday, March 3. Hats off to Dr. Mary Druhan and all the great folks at TAMUC plus the great sponsors! (NOTE: the schedule and guest line-up are subject to change.)

Recital Schedule (link)

Friday, March 2 Opening Recital



Saturday, March 3 Recitals

9:00 AM Vanessa Davis – Color Studies: Lost Gems for Clarinet Alone

10:00 AM Cecilia Kang – Contemporary Duo Works by American Composers

11:00 AM Lucas Willsie – Unaccompanied Dances for bass clarinet


1:00 PM Duo Esplanade

2:00 PM David Cook – American Music for Solo Clarinet

3:00 PM Christopher Nichols – James M. Stephenson: Original Works and Transcriptions for Clarinet and Piano

4:00 PM Boja Kragulj – The Music of Rachel Matthews

5:30 PM Combined Clarinet Choir and TAMUC Clarinet Choir Performances (wear school shirts)

Saturday, March 3 Closing Recital



Schedule of Classes (link)

The 2018 Clarinet Colloquium will feature a number of classes and lectures for participants to choose from. The schedule is subject to change.

In addition to these classes, middle school students are invited to attend workshops specifically to help them with Clarinet skills at 12:30 and 1:30 with Judi Altstatt and Karen Bronson, respectively.

All students are invited to perform as a member of the Clarinet Colloquium clarinet choir. Rehearsal begins at 8:15 Saturday morning. The clarinet choir will be performing for friends and family in the recital starting at 5:30 PM.

Band directors and private teachers who are interested in learning more about how to teach clarinet are invited to attend classes with Dr. Jody Webb, Adjunct Instructor of Clarinet at TAMUC and clarinet teacher for Marcus High School and by Dr. Mary Alice Druhan, Professor of Clarinet at TAMUC. For availability and continuing education credit, please contact Dr. Druhan directly at before January 15th. Thank you!

Saturday, March 3 Classes:

9:30 AM Dawn Marie Lindblade-Evans & Julie Linder-Gaulin – Level up Your Tonguing: articulation concepts for the advancing middle school student

10:30 AM Janette Harriott – Embracing the Whole Clarinetist: Ignite Your Musician’s Chi

11:30 AM Jim Marshall – Formative Fundamentals: An Approach to Private and Group Clarinet Study

2:30 PM Julie Miller – Making Your Experience with a Collaborative Pianist Both Enjoyable and Productive

3:30 PM Raphael Sanders – Improving Your Tone: using your ears and drills for best results

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