Duo 35 at NACWPI 2017! ClarinetMike and Saxophonist Todd Oxford to Perform at the NACWPI National Conference 2017!

Duo 35 to Perform at NACWPI National Conference 2017!

I’ve been officially notified that Saxophonist Todd Oxford and I (Duo 35) have been selected to perform at the National Association of College Wind and Percussion Instructors [NACWPI] National Conference 2017 at the University of Montevallo on October 6-8, 2017 in Montevallo, Alabama!

ClarinetMike says, “NACWPI 2017 is just the first leg of our Duo 35 Tour 2017! Watch for more Duo 35 Tour 2017 information coming soon!”

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Supercharge Your Teaching With Powerful Maxims!

ClarinetMike Teaching a Lesson

A maxim is a short, memorable comment that quickly and concisely communicates an idea or concept.  The use of maxims is a very effective way to teach any subject, including the clarinet. One of my heroes, the legendary basketball coach John Wooden, was famous for his “Maxims.” (FYI, check out my John Wooden article HERE.)

It is important that teachers consider and evaluate their maxims. We need to make sure that what is being conveyed in a saying to a student is consistent with our overall pedagogy and teaching philosophy. For example, many teachers say, “Practice makes permanent.” While there is much truth to this saying, I prefer to say, “Practice makes habit.” I believe that change is possible and, in fact, constantly necessary. As John Wooden said, “Not all change is progress, but there is no progress without change.” (AND, I find the word, “permanent” a bit depressing!)

Some of my favorite maxims:

“The heart of performing is the attempt to say something beautiful.”

“Go For It!”

“If you can’t clap it, you can’t play it.”

“Don’t play anything faster than you can play it.” (John Cipolla)

“Good things take time, as they should.” (John Wooden)

“Relax in your body, concentrate in your mind [not the other way around!].”

“Rhythm First!”

“It’s always the rhythm.”

“If you can’t play it slow, you can’t play it fast.”

“If you learn it at Mezzo-Nothing, you’ll perform it at Mezzo-Nothing.” [on the importance of working on dynamics as a piece is learned]

“Gain relaxation, maintain relaxation, and then regain relaxation.”

“Slow and steady gets you ready.”

“Be confident and play with a great sound.”

“Old age and sneakiness beats youth and talent every time.”

ClarinetMike says, “Listen to the advice of the great Winston Churchill below.”

“If you have an important point to make, don’t try to be subtle or clever. Use a pile driver. Hit the point once. Then come back and hit it again. Then hit it a third time – a tremendous whack.” Winston Churchill  (This and many other quotes can be found at http://www.brainyquote.com.)

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

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Super Cool Summer 2017 Clarinet Events for Dallas-Fort Worth Student Clarinetists!

The Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas area will be having some fantastic clarinet events for students coming up in June and July! If you know of more, let me know!

ClarinetMike says, “HEY CLARINET STUDENTS! Turn off Snapchat for a minute and GO! to some great clarinet events. You’ll learn a lot and it’ll be FUN!! You can send a Snap about what you learn….”

UTA Concert Band Camp
, Grades 7-12
University of Texas at Arlington Campus
Sunday, June 11 to Thursday, June 15
Click Here For More Details


TCU High School Music and Leadership Experience Band Camp 2017

TCU Campus, Fort Worth, Texas
Monday, June 19 to Thursday, June 22
Click Here For More Details

TCU Middle School Music Experience
Band Camp 2017
TCU Campus, Fort Worth, Texas
Friday, June 23 to Saturday, June 24
Click Here For More Details



TCU Summer Clarinet Workshop 2017
For Intermediate and Advanced Clarinetists
TCU Campus, Fort Worth, Texas
Monday, June 26 to Tuesday, June 27
Click Here For Details





ClarEssentials High School Clarinet Workshop 
University of North Texas Campus, Denton, Texas
Wednesday, June 28 to Saturday, July 1
Click Here For Details





Clearly Clarinet Camp (NEW!) 
Ages 11-23
Vandeventer Middle School, Frisco, Texas
Monday, July 10 to Thursday, July 13
Click Here For More Details




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UNKINK YOUR HOSE! A Practical Lawn Care and Clarinet Playing Tip

Does your airflow have kinks like the ClarinetMike Garden Hose?

A couple years ago, the city of Hurst sent out some nice folks to put down new grass in my lawn where they had previously dug it up to fix a water line. As I got out the ClarinetMike Garden Hose to water the new grass in my lawn, I noticed a kink in the hose. So I made sure all the kinks and such were out of the hose and watered my lawn.

I realized this is similar to clarinet playing. We need to make sure our air flows freely without any tension or “kinks” in our body.

ClarinetMike says, “Unkink Your Hose!”

Here’s the ClarinetMike Garden Hose working well after removing the kinks.

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

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DON’T LOOK NOW! This Easy Trick Will Have Your Clarinet Performing Looking Up!

Dr. Michael Dean “ClarinetMike” after a concert.

ClarinetMike says, “Don’t Look Down!”

I have noticed that many young clarinetists, especially beginners, at times have a tendency to look down their clarinets while playing. Looking down the clarinet while playing can create bad habits and problems:  embouchure, head position, posture, etc. can be impacted.

This tendency to look down is especially common when students are having difficulty on a fingering. Also, some young students have small fingers and can have trouble covering the open holes.

Therefore, make sure you teach your students to look straight ahead at the music and trust their fingers.

NOTE: The above is a very slightly revised version of a previous post.

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Duo 35 In Concert at IBCA! ClarinetMike and Saxophonist Todd Oxford Perform Friday, June 9 In Arlington, Texas

ClarinetMike says, “Hey Dallas-Fort Worth! Come to our FREE concert! What a Deal!”

Hey! My buddy Todd Oxford and I will be performing at IBCA again this June!  Come hear a virtuosic and FUN performance of cool solo and chamber music for clarinet and saxophone by Mark Carlson, Charles Rochester Young, James Grant, Amy Quate, Olivier Messiaen, and Scott Joplin. We will be joined on the concert by pianist Michael Schneider and clarinetist Sean Reed. Join our Facebook Event Page HERE.

Friday, June 9, 2017, 7:30 p.m. FREE ADMISSION
International Baptist Church of Arlington
1013 West Park Row, Arlington, Texas 76013
Reception Following
CD’s for Sale – Meet the Artists

Duo 35 Concert at IBCA
Michael Dean, clarinet
Todd Oxford, saxophone
with Michael Schneider, piano
and special guest, Sean Reed, clarinet


Postcards from Silver Lake (2010) (clarinet, alto saxophone & piano) by Mark Carlson
Full Moon over Mt. Baldy
Late at Night
The Good Life

Concerto (2003) (alto saxophone and piano) by Charles Rochester Young

Chocolates (2010) (clarinet & piano) by James Grant
Triple Mocha Indulgence

Brief Intermission

Talking Pictures (1984) (clarinet & soprano saxophone) by Amy Quate
Water Dance

“Abyss of the Birds” (Quartet for the End of Time) (1941) (solo clarinet) Olivier Messiaen
Sean Reed, clarinet

The Easy Winners (1901) (clarinet & soprano saxophone) Scott Joplin/Terry Kenny

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This Simple Clarinet Posture Trick Will Put You Head and Shoulders Above The Rest!

Proportions of the Head (c. 1488 – 1489) is a drawing by Leonardo da Vinci.

In a recent post, I considered the importance of not leaning over too much when playing the clarinet. A related issue is that of head position/weight. Leaning over when playing the clarinet can lead to biting down too much on the mouthpiece because of the weight of the head. FYI, the average adult head weighs about 10 pounds (4.5 kilograms). Imagine a 10-pound bowling ball on your neck!

So, if I have a student who is leaning over too much when playing the clarinet, in addition to telling them to not lean over, I also often tell them to have more of the weight of their head resting on the neck. Sometimes I’ll mention this head weight issue by itself if I get the feeling they are biting down too much on the mouthpiece. This posture adjustment almost always benefits the student; it usually produces a better clarinet tone as the reed is allowed to vibrate more freely. (See E-Tip #4: Ex)

Try it out for yourself and with your students.

ClarinetMike says, “Good posture is always good idea!”

NOTE: The above is a very slight revision of a previously published ClarinetMike Blog post with a cool Beatles reference in the title.

NOTE: Image above is in Public Domain and can be found HERE.  This work is in the public domain in its country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author’s life plus 100 years or less.

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