GREAT POSTURE RULES: Don’t Lean Over Too Much!

The Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy.

Over the years, I’ve noticed that many students (and pros!) lean over too much when playing the clarinet (or saxophone!). Of course, it is very true that each person has their own unique way of relating to the clarinet based on their own particular body shape, embouchure, etc. Nevertheless, it seems clear to me that leaning over too much while performing can, at least somewhat, hinder good technique and music making generally.

So, I make a point in the my clarinet teaching to be sure that my students don’t lean over too much. I say to them, “Have the clarinet come to you – don’t go to the clarinet.” This is often said  in the very first lesson, whether beginner, high school, college, or professional looking for a few pointers. It almost always helps to fix problems: embouchure, breathing, head position, hand/arm position, etc. (Click HERE to see a video where I work on this with a student in a master class at Florida State University.)

Watch for an upcoming post on the related issue of “head position/weight,” as it will be an extension of this topic.

ClarinetMike says, “Great posture on the clarinet totally rules! Don’t lean over too much and have the clarinet come to you!”

NOTE: The above photo is attributed to Saffron Blaze, via http://www.mackenzie.co and is found at Wikimedia Commons HERE.

NOTE: The above is a slight revision of previous post.

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Lecture Notes for ClarinetMike Presentation at Texas Clarinet Colloquium 2017!

ClarinetMike says, "come to my presentation at the FREE Clarinet Colloquium. What a Deal!"

ClarinetMike says, “Come to my presentation at the FREE Clarinet Colloquium. It’ll be FUN!”

Below are the Lecture Notes for my presentation on the upcoming Texas Clarinet Colloquium 2017 at Texas A&M University-Commerce on Saturday, February 18, 2017. (An easy-to-print PDF of the my Lecture Notes is available HERE.)   My presentation on music preparation and performance will be at 1 pm.

GO FOR IT! Master Class and Workshop on Music Preparation and Performance
Dr. Michael Dean “ClarinetMike”
“Building Great Clarinetists”
BG France Performing Artist
Clarinet Performing, Teaching and Consulting
clarinetmiketexas@yahoo.com * 682-888-7639
clarinetmike.com * clarinetmike.wordpress.com

Description: Michael Dean will work with master class participants on upgrading their music preparation and performance. Topics covered will include practice techniques, performance anxiety, practice routine, basics and scales, and more! This is a “How to Do It” workshop geared toward high school and junior high school students and teachers; however, the information will be useful to all.  All attendees are encouraged to bring their clarinets to the class

I. Intro
A. It’s All About Music – So, How Can I Help My Students Play Music Better?
1. Basics (ARTC, A = Think = How to Prepare Music, etc.)
2. Style (Esp. Romantic Period)

B. Key Concept: Loading/Unloading [Frank R. Wilson]
1. Illustrations: Shoelaces, Brushing Teeth, Dynamics, “Performance Tone”
2. Two Applications of Loading/Unloading
a. “The quality of the Unloading is based on the quality of the Loading.”
*** “Load only accurate information.”***
b. “Perform as much as possible from the Unloading Area.”
*** “Go For It”– “Make MUSIC!”***

II. Practice Routine
A. Basics (ARTC)
B. Scales
C. Music

III. Practice Techniques (with Demo)
A. Rhythm-Notes or Rhy-No
B. “Feed The Rhy-No!”
C. The Fast Way! (works great inside of Rhy-No)
D. Double Articulation (same)
E. Count Aloud
F. Note Grouping
G. Air Thru The Notes

IV. Performance Anxiety
A. Common Sense: Bananas, Sleep/Exercise/Diet, Check Clothes, Do IT!
B. MY STORY

V. Questions and Answers (formal and informal)

VI. Further Resources: ClarinetMike Blog, ClarinetMike.com, Call, Text or Email Me, etc.

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Schedule for Texas Clarinet Colloquium 2017!

ClarinetMike says, “Hey! Come to my Master Class and Workshop on Music Preparation and Performance at the Texas Clarinet Colloquium 2017 on Saturday, February 18, 2017!”

ClarinetMike says, “Hey! Come to my Presentation on Music Preparation and Performance at the Texas Clarinet Colloquium 2017 on Saturday, February 18, 2017!”

Above is the official schedule of events for the upcoming Texas Clarinet Colloquium 2017 at Texas A&M University-Commerce on Saturday, February 18, 2017. (An easy-to-print PDF of the schedule is available HERE.)  As per above, my presentation on music preparation and performance will be at 1 pm. Below is the official information on my presentation at the FREE one-day conference:

Title: “GO FOR IT! Master Class and Workshop on Music Preparation and Performance”

Clinician: Dr. Michael Dean “ClarinetMike”

Description: Michael Dean will work with master class participants on upgrading their music preparation and performance. Topics covered will include practice techniques, performance anxiety, practice routine, basics and scales, and more! This is a “How To Do It” workshop geared toward high school and junior high school students and teachers; however, the information will be useful to all.  All attendees are encouraged to bring their clarinets to the class.

Clinician Bio: American clarinetist and BG France Performing Artist MICHAEL DEAN’s performing and teaching have been praised as “dynamic,” “wonderful,” “consummate performer,” “inspirational,” “outstanding teacher,” “super,” “brilliant performer” and “one of the best clinicians I have ever seen.” Dr. Michael Dean maintains a national and international profile with recent recitals and master classes in Italy, Spain, Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, Louisiana, and Texas. He will be returning to Vipiteno, Italy this coming summer as Clarinet Artist Faculty in Residence at the Orfeo Music Festival 2017.

Michael Dean has appeared as a clarinet recitalist at Carnegie Hall and has a sustained record of recitals, clinics, master classes, and presentations at international (ClarinetFest), national (NACWPI), and state (TMEA/TBA) conferences. He is featured on New Media (YouTube) and five commercial CD’s and is currently preparing another new CD, Postcards from Silver Lake. He has extensive experience as an orchestral, chamber, and orchestra pit musician:  Abilene Philharmonic, Southwest Symphony, Nevada Symphony, Southeast Chamber Players, Red Mesa Trio and Duo 35. He recently performed for 11 years with the Paducah Symphony Orchestra.

As “ClarinetMike,” Michael Dean writes for his noted and widely-read “ClarinetMike Blog,” clarinetmike.wordpress.com. The clarinet blog has been read by clarinetists in 147+ countries on 6 continents. He’s also published articles in print journals such as WINDPLAYER, Southwestern Musician, NACWPI Journal, The Bandmaster’s Review and online publications such as Vandoren’s widely-distributed WAVE e-newsletter.

Dr. Dean was previously Associate Professor of Clarinet and Saxophone (tenured) at Southeast Missouri State University for 11 years. In 2012, due to family concerns, he resigned his secure position at Southeast Missouri State and returned home to his native Texas as a clarinet performer, teacher and consultant based in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. An active clinician, he has given more than 300 clinics, master classes, and performances at high schools, universities, conservatories, conferences, etc. He is a past president and former officer on the Executive Board of the National Association of College Wind and Percussion Instructors (NACWPI).

Dr. Michael Dean studied clarinet performance at Texas Tech University, University of Colorado at Boulder, University of Texas at Austin, and University of Texas at Arlington. His teachers include Robert Walzel, Phil Aaholm, Carol Jessup, Jess Youngblood, and Bob Ackerman. Video and audio of his performing and teaching, as well as information on his CD’s and other publications, are available at clarinetmike.com, clarinetmike.wordpress.com, and linkedin.com/in/clarinetmike. Mike and his family reside in Hurst, Texas.

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BECOME A MONSTER CLARINETIST! Check Out ClarinetMike’s Clarinet Practice Routine in Vandoren’s The WAVE

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I’m currently practicing for upcoming recording sessions for my sixth CD, Postcards from Silver Lake.

Become a monster clarinetist by practicing like a monster clarinetist: Lots and lots of organized practice that addresses basics, scales, arpeggios, sight-reading, etudes, solos, excerpts, etc. with tons of SLOW CAREFUL PRACTICE!

Vandoren has reprinted my Clarinet Practice Routine in a compendium of practice articles in Volume 6, Issue 1 of its The WAVE, “NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS: 8 PRACTICE TIPS TO KEEP YOU ON TRACK IN 2017.” Check it out HERE.

Also, CLICK HERE for an Easy-To-Print PDF Version of my Clarinet Practice Routine – there’s also a Saxophone Practice Routine and other helps available on the page.

ClarinetMike says, “Print off my Clarinet Practice Routine and GO PRACTICE LIKE A MONSTER!”

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Skype Clarinet Lessons with ClarinetMike!

ClarinetMike says, "Hey! Study Clarinet with me on Skype in 2017!"

ClarinetMike says, “Strive for Genuine Excellence in 2017!  Study with me on Skype!”

Skype. I am currently accepting new students in my studio for live lessons over Skype. In addition to clarinet students, I am also currently accepting a limited number of saxophone students. Let me help you strive for genuine excellence as you prepare for solo contests, university scholarship auditions, all-state auditions, concerto competitions, orchestra auditions, jury and recital hearings, concerts, job interviews and more! Band Directors: I’m also available for professional development. Contact me HERE.

Dr. Michael Dean “ClarinetMike” is a former clarinet and saxophone university professor with more than 30 years of successful private lesson teaching experience at all levels, from university graduate students to 4th grade beginners. His students consistently win awards and distinctions at competitions and festivals including solo & ensemble, all-region, all-area, all-state, MTNA, and various concerto and other competitions. His students perform professionally in military bands, orchestras, big bands, traveling broadway shows and more. His students are consistently accepted into prestigious university music schools and hold faculty appointments as successful music educators and administrators. Biographical information is available below and HERE. A brochure is available HERE.

Equipment. Skype lesson students need a computer with a good internet connection, webcam with microphone, and free Skype app. (I can help you figure it out – it’s easy!)

Information. For information on Skype Lessons with ClarinetMike, just send me an email or give me a call – CLICK HERE.

Dr. Michael Dean “ClarinetMike” Bio. American clarinetist and BG France Performing Artist MICHAEL DEAN’s performing and teaching have been praised as “dynamic,” “wonderful,” “consummate performer,” “inspirational,” “outstanding teacher,” “super,” “brilliant performer” and “one of the best clinicians I have ever seen.” Dr. Michael Dean maintains a national and international profile with recent recitals and master classes in Italy, Spain, Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, Louisiana, and Texas. He will be returning to Vipiteno, Italy this coming summer as Clarinet Artist Faculty in Residence at the Orfeo Music Festival 2017.

Michael Dean has appeared as a clarinet recitalist at Carnegie Hall and has a sustained record of recitals, clinics, master classes, and presentations at international (ClarinetFests), national (NACWPI), and state (TMEA/TBA) conferences. He is featured on New Media (YouTube) and five commercial CD’s and is currently preparing another new CD, Postcards from Silver Lake. He has extensive experience as an orchestral, chamber, and orchestra pit musician:  Abilene Philharmonic, Southwest Symphony, Nevada Symphony, Southeast Chamber Players, Red Mesa Trio and Duo 35. He recently performed for 11 years with the Paducah Symphony Orchestra. Michael Dean has achieved national and international recognition through his noted and widely-read “ClarinetMike Blog,” clarinetmike.wordpress.com. The clarinet blog has been read by clarinetists in 147+ countries on 6 continents. He’s published articles in print journals such as WINDPLAYER, Southwestern Musician, NACWPI Journal, The Bandmaster’s Review and online publications such as Vandoren’s widely-distributed WAVE e-newsletter.

Dr. Dean was previously Associate Professor of Clarinet (tenured) at Southeast Missouri State University for 11 years. In 2012, due to family concerns, he resigned his secure position at Southeast Missouri State and returned home to his native Texas as a clarinet performer, teacher and consultant based in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. An active clinician, he has given more than 300 clinics, master classes, and performances at high schools, universities, conservatories, conferences, etc. He is a past president and former officer on the Executive Board of the National Association of College Wind and Percussion Instructors (NACWPI).

Dr. Michael Dean studied clarinet performance at Texas Tech University, University of Colorado at Boulder, University of Texas at Austin, and University of Texas at Arlington. His teachers include Robert Walzel, Phil Aaholm, Carol Jessup, Jess Youngblood, and Bob Ackerman. Video and audio of his performing and teaching, as well as information on his CD’s and other publications, are available at clarinetmike.com, clarinetmike.wordpress.com, and linkedin.com/in/clarinetmike. Mike and his family reside in Hurst, Texas in the Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas Metroplex.

 

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ClarinetMike’s Graduate School Rules

The University of Colorado at Boulder where I did my Master's Degree. Photo Courtesy of University of Colorado Boulder

Photo Courtesy of The University of Colorado at Boulder – where I did my Master’s Degree.

Hey! Below are some tips for success in graduate school from an article I published in the NACWPI Journal a few years ago. Many of these tips will also be helpful to new faculty. ClarinetMike says, “Follow the Rules.”

Graduate School Rules
By Dr. Michael Dean

A few years ago I spent some time pondering the graduate school experience and what advice I could offer my students. Below are ten tips that can help a graduate student successfully navigate the waters of graduate study. Most of these tips would also be useful to new faculty members. (NOTE: I was very fortunate in grad school to have had a number of excellent teachers and mentors, so not all of the tips below are based on my own experience.)

  1. Be Calm and Patient. Graduate school is generally less of a “grind” than undergraduate study. It is more of a “roller coaster ride” with high stakes exams, hearings, recitals, etc. Remain calm and enjoy the process. Remember that ” Good things take time” (John Wooden).
  2. Practice Good Habits NOW because “Life is a Habit.” Always be working to improve habits of personal organization (especially time management) and self-discipline. (See my recent article on John Wooden – available [HERE].)
  3. Take care of your body. Mom was right – exercise, eat right, and get enough sleep.
  4. Prepare for Culture Shock. This is especially true if you go to grad school in another part of the country – for example, going from the Midwest to the West Coast. Prepare yourself by looking up information on the Internet. Generally, it is true that “It’s not weird, It’s just different.”
  5. Know Rules. Every organization has written and unwritten rules – learn them. Carefully study the Graduate Music Handbook, if available.
  6. Be Courteous. Treat others as you want to be treated. Remember, professors are people too. Thesis/dissertation advisors are among the unsung heroes of academe.
  7. Keep Head Down and Mouth Shut. Don’t try to show off in class. The best way to make a positive impression is to be early to class, well-prepared, and have a positive attitude.
  8. Trust No One. “The walls have ears.” So be careful what you say and to whom. Letters of recommendation can be ruined, so watch out! Follow the advice of John Wooden’s father, “Don’t whine, don’t complain, don’t make excuses, just do the best you can.”
  9. Write Everything Down. When your advisor, committee members, etc. tell you important information, take good notes and make memos to yourself. Develop your own standardized memo form – be sure it has a date on it.
  10. Perseverance is Everything. Stay at it! Keep learning and making adjustments. You will win if you keep going and don’t give up.

© by The National Association of College Wind and Percussion Instructors NACWPI Journal, Volume LVIII, Number 2, Winter 2009-10.

NOTE: This article can also be found on the excellent new NACWPI website HERE.

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Study with ClarinetMike in Italy! Orfeo Music Festival 2017 Application Information and MORE!

ClarinetMike says, “Come to Italy this summer!"

ClarinetMike says, “Join me in the Italian Alps this summer!”

Study with ClarinetMike in Italy! As previously posted, I’ve accepted an appointment to return as Clarinet Artist Faculty in Residence at the international Orfeo Music Festival in the beautiful Italian Alps of Vipiteno, Italy (Sterzing) this coming summer, July 6-20, 2017.

Who Should Apply? Who should apply to go to Orfeo 2017? University, conservatory and graduate students, advanced high school students, talented amateurs, and teachers looking for professional development should apply. Please contact me if you have questions or want help with applying: email me at clarinetmiketexas@yahoo.com or CLICK HERE.

Orfeo Music Festival 2017 Webpage!  www.orfeomusicfestival.com

Who Goes? A variety of students attend the Orfeo Music Festival. The majority are university and high school students, but there are also younger as well as talented adult amateurs/others. There is a wonderful atmosphere of camaraderie at the Festival. Whether serious conservatory student or adult amateur, students enjoy learning from faculty, from nature, and from each other. Most Festival participants are American, but there is a definite international flavor with students from Germany, England, Australia, Korea, and other countries. (from Stephen Caplan’s informative Orfeo page: see HERE.)

How Do I Apply? CLICK HERE. The priority registration deadline is February 15, 2017. However, registration is accepted until April 15, 2017 with higher fees.   I am happy to help you with applying, just contact me: clarinetmiketexas@yahoo.com.

Scholarships! Some limited merit-based scholarships are available. CLICK HERE for more information.

Fee Table: How much does Orfeo 2017 cost? CLICK HERE.

Poster!  An easy-to-print PDF of a cool poster for Study with ClarinetMike in Italy 2017! is available on my clarinetmike.com website: CLICK HERE.

Facebook! Check out and join my official ClarinetMike in Italy: Orfeo Music Festival 2017! Facebook Event page. I’ll be posting application information, pictures, video and all kinds of cool stuff about Orfeo 2017! CLICK HERE.

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