10 Practice Tips for Preparing All-State, Solos, and Everything!

ClarinetMike uses these tips when preparing cool New Music like this.

Here are 10 general practice tips for preparing the All-State etudes, solos, or any music. Hey Teachers! I have marked a few spots, [BAD PEDAGOGY], to indicated opportunities for teachers to correct and upgrade their instruction. Watch for MORE All-State help coming soon from ClarinetMike!

10 Practice Tips for Preparing All-State, Solos, and Everything!
by Dr. Michael Dean “ClarinetMike”

  1. Go Slow. Load correct information only! Go slow and learn the rhythm and notes correctly the first time and every time.
  2. MORE Go Slow. Generally, begin work on an etude by counting in eighth notes, i.e. twice as slow or three times as slow if in 6/8,  where one eighth note gets one beat, one quarter note gets two counts, dotted quarter note gets three counts, etc.
  3. DYNAMICS! DYNAMICS!, DYNAMICS!!, DYNAMICS!!! every step of the way!  Learn dynamics as you learn the rhythm and notes. Adding dynamics later does NOT work very well. Check out my ADD BOLD DYNAMICS! post. [Dynamics Later = BAD PEDAGOGY]
  4. Ornaments First Time and Every Time! In preparing the etude, YOU MUST learn it the right way slowly every time. DO NOT skip grace notes, trills, turns, etc. and think you will add those at a later time. BAD IDEA! Your “muscle memory” will be messed up and you’ll be relearning those spots forever. [Ornaments Later = BAD PEDAGOGY]
  5. Performance Tone. Learn etude with a “performance tone,” not a “practice tone.” In fact, never use a “practice tone.” [This idea comes from the Note Grouping video directly below.] A bad tone always sounds BAD!
  6. Note Grouping. The Note Grouping Concept works great for fast passages. It is described in a Note Grouping video featuring the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Nathan Cole HERE.
  7. Practice Routine. Work on basics and scales every day as you work on the all-state etudes, solos, etc. Use an organized Practice Routine. Put special attention on tonguing every day – check out my “Betty” post.
  8. Sight-Reading. Do some sight-reading (and work on other music) every day to keep your playing fresh.
  9. Metronome. The metronome is a valuable tool and should be used a lot. Do not use it 100% of the time when you practice an all-state etude, solo, etc. Do not get “Metronome Addiction.” This is where a person can play an etude or solo well only with a metronome. Common Sense is also a VERY valuable tool. [Metronome Overuse = BAD PEDAGOGY]
  10. Practice Rhy-No. Check out Rhy-No Practice,  Feed The Rhy-NoThe Fast Way, and other practice techniques from this blog – Click Here.
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14 All-State Clarinet Resources: Rose 32 Etudes, 40 Studies, Caprices and More!

Cyrille Rose in 1880

As in the past, this year’s Texas TMEA All-State audition etudes for soprano and low clarinets (and ATSSB soprano clarinets) are Rose Etudes – Texas uses the David Hite edition, Artistic Studies, Book 1 – From the French School. Other states in the USA also  use Rose etudes for their high school all-state clarinet auditions. A quick online search revealed Florida, Minnesota, Kentucky, Washington, West Virginia and New Hampshire (among certainly others) use Rose Etudes for all-state clarinet auditions. And, of course, the study of Rose Etudes is standard for practically all clarinet students at colleges, universities, and conservatories in the USA.

I have found that some of the best places to look for ideas on how to play an etude, solo or any work of music are other editions of the same music. Therefore, below is an annotated list of various editions of the Rose Etudes. I have also included a few versions of the Ferling Studies plus links to some other related studies (the Ferling and the Rode studies below are the basis for the Rose Etudes used for this year’s Texas TMEA auditions). I am currently using these resources as I teach my students the all-state etudes and prepare the forthcoming ClarinetMike’s Texas All-State Clarinet Clinic.

Note: Cyrille Rose (1830-1902) was a very important clarinet teacher at the Paris Conservatory and 1st clarinetist with the Paris Opera orchestra for 34 years. Rose did not compose these etudes, but he adapted and enhanced etudes written for other instruments. He “clarinetized” them. For general information on the Rose 32 Etudes, click HERE  and for the Ferling Studies click HERE.

14 All-State Clarinet Resources by Dr. Michael Dean “ClarinetMike”

  1. Daniel Bonade, editor. Sixteen Phrasing Studies for Clarinet.  Conn-Selmer, Inc., 1952. Legendary clarinet player and teacher who taught Mitchell Lurie, Robert Marcellus, and other leading clarinetists of his day: he also taught David Hite, the editor of the Texas all-state etudes. These offers  phrasing and other help on the slow etudes from the Rose 32 Etudes. Please note that Bonade renumbered the etudes – Rose #13 is #7 here for example. Available for free HERE.
  2. Philippe Cuper, editor. 32 Etudes for Clarinet. [Paris?]: International Music Diffusion, 2011, with CD. From Gary Van Cott’s web site: “This new edition of the 32 Rose Etudes is based on the original 1893 edition with some additions to the markings by the editor when they missing from the original. There are fewer markings than the editions edited by Warner [see below]. The printing in this edition, although very clean, has more white space between lines and is somewhat smaller than other editions. Now includes a CD of these etudes performed by Philippe Cuper.” Available HERE.
  3. Franz Wilhelm Ferling. 48 Studies for Oboe, Op. 31. Braunschweig: J.P. Spehr, n.d.(1837) Reprinted New York: Edwin F Kalmus, n.d. (after 1933). Catalog K.04121 (Citation from IMSLP.org) Early edition of Ferling studies. (These studies are the basis for the Rose 32 Etudes.) Available for free HERE.
  4. Franz Wilhelm Ferling. 48 Famous Studies for Oboe or Saxophone, Revised by Albert J. Andraud. San Antonio, TX: Southern Music Co., 1958. This is also the book often used for the Saxophone and Oboe/English Horn all-state audition music.  Available at local music stores.
  5. Larry Guy, editor. 32 Etudes for Clarinet. Stony Point, NY: Rivernote Press, 2017. From Gary Van Cott’s web site: “Larry Guy presents the 32 Rose Etudes (edited and corrected) along with a page of suggestions for each etude. The book also includes several pages describing the nomenclature and fingerings used in the book as well as four pages on the fundamentals of phrasing.” Available HERE.
  6. David Hite, editor. Artistic Studies, Book 1 – From the French School for Clarinet. San Antonio, TX: Southern Music Co., 1986. This is the book used for this year’s Texas TMEA Soprano and Low Clarinet all-state music. Students and teachers should purchase the book and not use ONLY copies. Also, in the back of the book is an important Glossary – a list of terms briefly explaining Hite’s numerous [and sometimes overdone!] performance suggestions. Click HERE for a blurb on the edition. Available at local music stores.
  7. Jean & David Hite, revisors and editors. Cyrille Rose FORTY STUDIES for ClarinetSan Antonio, TX: Southern Music Co., 2000. From Gary Van Cott’s web site: “In preparing this edition the editors have found many opportunities to enhance the studies by adhering to the original violin notation. This book also includes information on the composers of the original etudes for violin that Rose transcribed and chronology of etudes published between 1793 and 1884.” Available HERE.
  8. Henry Larsen. The 32 Rose Studies: An Analysis and Study Guide. Avon, CT: Larsen Audiographics, 1998. Each of the 32 etudes is accompanied by extensive notes and suggestions. Available HERE.
  9. Pierre Rode. 24 Caprices for Solo Violin, Opus 22. Paris: J. Frey, n.d. (1822) [The TMEA All-State Rose Caprice #6 is #15 of these.] Available for free HERE. Another early edition edited by Jakob Dont is also available for free HERE.
  10. Pierre Rode. Twenty Studies for Clarinet, Arranged by Harry BettoneyNew York: Carl Fischer, 1968. [Bettoney chose 20 of the Rode Violin Caprices and arranged them for clarinet. The TMEA All-State Rose Caprice #6 is #19 of these. FYI, I worked on these as a university clarinet student.] Available HERE.
  11. Cyrille Rose. 20 Grand Studies Selected from the Caprices by Rode, Edited by Stanley Drucker. New York: International Music Company, 1962. From Gary Van Cott’s web site: “This is the same material as in [10. Bettoney edition] above. The studies are in a different order. The most noticeable differences are that the printing is clearer and there are additional dynamic and articulation markings.” Available HERE.
  12. Cyrille Rose. Thirty-Two Etudes for Clarinet. New York: Carl Fischer, 1913. The venerable edition many of us in the USA learned from. It is notorious for mistakes, so be careful. Available for free HERE.
  13. The Complete Clarinet: C. Rose Revisited – 118 Etudes for Clarinet. Fort Worth, TX: Complete Works Music Publisher, 2014. Features every etude that Rose wrote for the clarinet, including the lesser-known “26 Etudes.” Available HERE or HERE.
  14. Melvin Warner, editor. The New Rose Studies for Clarinet. New York: Carl Fischer, 2002/2009, with CD. From Gary Van Cott’s web site: “In this new edition of the 32 Rose Etudes, the editor has drawn on various editions of the 32 Etudes and the Ferling 48 Etudes on which they are based.  He has corrected errors in time signatures, notes, articulations, etc. He has not added any breathing, tempo, or other markings not found in the originals. This edition includes downloadable piano accompaniments composed and performed by John Walker (as .mp3 files) and .pdf files of all of these piano parts. The recorded accompaniments are still available as a regular CD HERE. The old Carl Fischer edition (most recently with a white cover) has been discontinued.” Available HERE.

ClarinetMike says, “Here’s a ‘ClarinetMike Insider Tip’ – Check out the Mule edition of Ferling Studies below. It is frequently used by saxophone students at colleges, universities, and conservatories in the USA. I often consult it myself when teaching the saxophone (and clarinet!).”

Franz Wilhelm Ferling. 48 Studies by Ferling for All Saxophones, Edited by Marcel Mule. Paris: Leduc, 1946. Available HERE.

Note: The above picture is in Public Domain and can be found HERE. [Rose looks a lot like the late Stanley Hasty, renowned Eastman clarinet professor.]

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5 Step All-State Preparation Outline [Clinic]

ClarinetMike says, “Prepare Carefully, Perform Carefree!”

The All-State Preparation Outline below is loaded with information from my ClarinetMike All-State Clarinet Clinics (click here).  Included in the outline is a template I use in preparing my annual Complete Clinic Notes on the all-state etudes. Look for more All-State help from ClarinetMike coming soon!

ClarinetMike’s All-State Preparation Outline
Dr. Michael Dean “ClarinetMike”
Clarinet Performing, Teaching and Consulting
Hurst, Texas * 682-888-7639
clarinetmiketexas@yahoo.com * clarinetmike.com

Step 1: Preliminary Concerns

  1. Get quality equipment. My Bb soprano clarinet set up: Buffet R13 clarinet [1974], Vandoren M13 Lyre mouthpiece, Vandoren V12 3.5 or D’Addario Reserve Classic 3.5 reeds, BG Super Revelation ligature, metronome/tuner, GEM swab, ReedGeek, etc.
  2. Find a good private teacher who teaches solid basics and expressive musical style. Stay away from Rote-Only Teachers and YouTube Videos. [Don’t just copy a recording. Learn to count! *Rote-only playing will not get you past a good university audition.]

Step 2: Core Concepts

  1. It’s Always about the MUSIC. So, work on ARTC Basics & ARTSY Musical Style (Phrasing, especially Romantic Style)
  2. Loading & Unloading (See Frank R. Wilson) Slow Careful Practice = Speedy, Confident Performing. The Tortoise and the Hare – Be a Turtle!
  3. Focus on what you control: Preparation & Effort. Success, John Wooden, etc.
  4. Genuine Excellence = Talent × Practice Time × Practice Quality.
  5. Power of Habit. Work on Basics (ARTC) & Scales, along with the All-State Music in a Practice Routine.

Step 3: General Preparation Tips

  1. Practice and perform only on good reeds.
  2. Use a metronome and tuner.
  3. Record yourself – check out phone apps!
  4. BOLD Dynamics.
  5. Sound Projection
  6. Plan and mark breathing carefully.
  7. Understand music terms, notation, ornaments, etc.
  8. Create a cheat sheet. Write each etude’s scales and arpeggios at top of music.
  9. Clap and sing the music.
  10. Check out additional Practice Tips.

Step 4: Etude Preparation Template

  1. Composer and Style
  2. Overview
  3. Tempo and Key
  4. Sections and Phrases
  5. Special Issues (repeated figure, etc.)
  6. Musical Issues
  7. Technical Issues (articulation, rhythms, fingerings, etc.)
  8. Problem Passages
  9. Scale and Arpeggio Cheat Sheet
  10. Breath Marks
  11. Other
  12. Suggested Listening

Step 5: Further Study

  1. See Internet links above.
  2. Listen to the general style on youtube.com.
  3. Check out documents, videos, posts, etc. on www.clarinetmike.com and www.clarinetmike.wordpress.com.
  4. See TMEA Performance Guides.
  5. Watch for more all-state help on this ClarinetMike Blog coming soon!
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TEXAS TMEA All-State Clarinet Audition Etudes 2018-2019 for Soprano and Low Clarinets Now Available! PLUS “ClarinetMike’s 5 All-State Practice Tips To Get You Started”

ClarinetMike says, “Take Private Lessons With A Good Teacher!”

Today, the official audition materials for the Texas TMEA All-State Band for 2018-2019 were posted online. BELOW I have posted screenshots from the official TMEA.org website of the audition materials for soprano and low clarinets.  The materials for all band instruments (including soprano and low clarinets) are available online HERE.

I’ve already started to break down the audition music for private lessons, all-state clinics and such. Here’s 5 all-state practice tips to get you started:

ClarinetMike’s 5 All-State Practice Tips To Get You Started

1 Have a balanced practice routine as you work on the all-state music that includes spending time on basics, scales, and sight-reading. My practice routine is available HERE.

2 Work on tonguing every day. Check out my “Betty” post.

3 Look over the etude before just diving in. A little analysis can be very helpful.

4 Start by working on the first few measures or first line. Go slowly and learn the rhythm, notes, and dynamics correctly the first time and every time.

5 Take private lessons with a good teacher or if one is not available in your area, at least read this blog.  I will post more helps on the all-state etudes on my ClarinetMike Blog in coming weeks. (FYI, I offer Skype lessons.)


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ClarinetMike to Give World Premiere at Orfeo Music Festival in Vipiteno, Italy!

ClarinetMike Performing at the Orfeo Music Festival 2017 in Vipiteno, Italy

In a couple weeks, I leave for Italy! As previously posted, I’m again returning as Clarinet Artist Faculty in Residence at the international Orfeo Music Festival in the beautiful Italian Alps of Vipiteno, Italy (Sterzing) on July 5-19, 2018.

One of the works I’ll be performing at the Orfeo Music Festival is a new work, Small Voice of Calm, written for me by British Composer, Raymond Head. Joining me on the World Premiere is my wonderful Orfeo colleague Dena Kay Jones on piano. I’m excited to report that the composer will be in attendance at the premiere! Below are specifics on the premiere, some information from the composer and a blurb on the venue. Also, CLICK HERE to check out a Facebook Event I created for the premiere.

ClarinetMike says, “If you happen to be wandering around the Alps in early July, come on by!”

Small Voice of Calm for clarinet and piano by Raymond Head
(World Premiere)
Michael Dean, clarinet
Dena Kay Jones, piano

Orfeo Music Festival 2018
Monday, July 9, 2018, 8:30 pm (20:30)
Chiesa di Santo Spirito, Vipiteno, Italy (Sterzing)


Small Voice of Calm for Clarinet and Piano  (1st Performance)
by Raymond Head
Dedicated to Dr. Michael Dean

“This piece was inspired by a poem by John Greenleaf Whittier, the 19th century American Quaker who became a household name in the USA and the UK. Despite all the earthquakes, wind and fire of our minds, if we let it, the “still small voice of calm” reappears to soothe us. Essentially this is what happens in the piece:  sudden, violent interjections are gradually pacified by the quiet authority of the insistent repeated melody.”

Raymond Head is the Musical Adviser to the Holst Birthplace Museum, Cheltenham UK, and a composer, teacher and Holst Scholar.   He was one of the featured commentators in a recent Tony Palmer film Gustav Holst – In the Bleak Midwinter which was shown on the BBC.

For more than 30 years Raymond has lived in Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, UK and is a composer and a teacher of piano and singing. He was trained at Dartington College of Arts, UK where he encountered Indian music for the first time.

He was an early follower of Stockhausen but in the end rejected him in favour of writing music that was modern yet communicative. He believes music should be capable of the widest range of expression from angst to lyricism and even humour.

CD’s of his music are on the Prima Facie ASC label. A string orchestral piece is to be recorded in the Ukraine in August for the Toccata Classics label and a wind quintet Toda Cambia is to be premiered in Wales later this year. His music is published by Sky Dance Press, UK. His professional website is www.raymondhead.com.

VENUE: The Chiesa di Santo Spirito (Church of the Holy Spirit) was built in 1399. It is the oldest gothic church in Vipiteno Italy (Sterzing). In the nave are late Gothic-style frescos (1402) of the South Tyrolien painter Hans von Bruneck. (More)

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Top 10 Clarinet Things To Do On Summer Break!

ClarinetMike on the Balcony of a Nice Hotel in San Antonio, Texas.

Summertime and the livin’ is easy…. I love summer! When I’m wearing shorts, I’m always in a good mood! Below is a follow-up on my recent post, 7 Ways to Improve Your Clarinet Playing This Summer!

Top 10 Clarinet Things To Do On Summer Break!
by Dr. Michael Dean “ClarinetMike”

  1. IMPROVE. Work on improvements and adjustments in your clarinet technique. (Hey Students! How about working on what your teacher emphasized last semester – posture, embouchure, tonguing, etc.?) See my related recent post.
  2. STUDY. Study an orchestra or band work you don’t know (or a solo, chamber work, etc.)
  3. BASICS. Work on Etudes, Sight Reading and Transposition.
  4. LIVE MUSIC. Go to concert. When was the last time you went to a LIVE concert just to enjoy the music?
  5. REPAIR. Clean out your clarinet case! Take clarinets to the repair shop.
  6. CLEAN. Organize your office and/or practice space!
  7. LUNCH. Contact an older musician – especially a retired private teacher or band director. Go have lunch with him/her.
  8. MOVIES. Watch old movies (check out TCM) and listen to the music. Learn about the composers. Some of them have written solo music for the clarinet!
  9. JAZZ. Work on Jazz or a style that is new to you. If you don’t know anything about jazz, now is the time to learn – yes, right now!
  10. LIFE. Most importantly, take some time off and NOT think about the clarinet. Attend a church or philosophical meeting, get some exercise, read a good book, go to a baseball game, become a volunteer in an organization that helps people, etc.

ClarinetMike says, “Have a Great Summer!”

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Little Mistakes Make Big Problems Happen: Bridge Key Alignment!

Carefully line up the upper and lower bridge keys.

Little Mistakes Make Big Problems Happen: Bridge Key Alignment!
by Dr. Michael Dean “ClarinetMike”

Recently, I had an excellent student announce that her clarinet wasn’t working properly. After I did an inspection, I noticed that she had not lined up the bridge keys correctly. I lined it up for her and, Presto!, things were fixed! I’ve taken to inspecting this every time there is a similar issue. I’ve been surprised to find that a number of my students are careless in this small, but important issue.

Therefore, let us make sure our students follow the instruction of Dr. Westphal, “Pressing down the rings on the upper joint to raise the upper bridge key, add it to the lower joint with a slight twisting motion. Line up exactly the upper and lower bridge keys.” (Westphal, Guide to Teaching Woodwinds, 5th ed., p. 53)

ClarinetMike says, “Remember John Wooden’s words: ‘Little things make big things happen.’”

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