NACWPI 2020 National Conference in Miami, Florida!

The ocean and beaches are beautiful in Miami, Florida!

NACWPI Rolls On! As a NACWPI past president and former officer on the NACWPI National Board, I’m very proud to pass along the announcement below from the National Association of College Wind and Percussion Instructors [NACWPI].

NACWPI National Conference 2020
October 22-24, 2020
Hilton Miami Downtown
Miami, Florida, USA

Call For Performance and Presentation Proposals
DEADLINE: March 1, 2020, 11:59PM (CST)

The National Association of College Wind and Percussion Instructors’ 2020 National Conference will be held October 22-24, 2020, at the Hilton Miami Downtown in Miami, Florida, in conjunction with the 2020 National Conferences of the College Music Society (CMS) and the Association for Technology in Music Instruction (ATMI).

NACWPI 2020 Information CLICK HERE

Performance Proposal Submission Directions: CLICK HERE.

Presentation Proposal Submission Directions: CLICK HERE.

ClarinetMike says, “Apply to perform and present at NACWPI 2020! Use this hashtag on Twitter and elsewhere: #NACWPI2020.”

NOTE: Image by Chief22880 from Pixabay  and is available at

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7 Sight-Reading Tips

Dr. Michael Dean “ClarinetMike” after a concert.

7 Sight-Reading Tips 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 sight-read all different kinds and levels 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 – ClarinetMike says, “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, contest, or even a rehearsal, you usually get a little time to look over the music before sight-reading. Have an organized plan, a “Scan 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! Sight-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.)

ClarinetMike says, “Check out the quotes below.”

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 sight-reading – being able
to get a piece of music performance-ready very quickly.
Acclaimed 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 rehearsal or a lesson,
being great at sight-reading can save your neck.
Somewhat-Famous Clarinet Blogger

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Improve Clarinet Articulation: ClarinetMike’s Basic Tonguing Exercise

Dr. Michael Dean “ClarinetMike”

One of the most important (and tricky) aspects of playing the clarinet is tonguing. Below is an articulation exercise that I’ve found very helpful with my students and in my own playing. Also, below is something extra: a new ClarinetMike Illustration [aka “Storytime with ClarinetMike!”].

ClarinetMike’s Basic Tonguing Exercise [aka BTE  or “Betty”]
by Dr. Michael Dean “ClarinetMike”

Scene: Cyrille, one of ClarinetMike’s excellent students, is just starting a clarinet lesson.


ClarinetMike: “Great to see you Cyrille. Let’s work on your tonguing today.”

Cyrille: “My tonguing needs help! Sounds great ClarinetMike!”

ClarinetMike: “One of best exercises I know for working on tonguing is the Basic Tonguing Exercise – aka BTE or ‘Betty.’ It is designed to improve the basic tongue stroke on the reed – sort of like adjusting the ‘default setting’ on a computer program.”

Cyrille: “Will it teach me to double and triple tongue?”

ClarinetMike: “No, but it does prepare you for advanced articulation studies. Before you work on double and triple tonguing, you need to have a great basic single tongue. In fact, I like to think of teaching tonguing in three steps: 1. Basic [Single Tongue] 2. Advanced Single Tonguing – staccato, legato and other shadings 3. Double and Triple Tonguing.…”

Cyrille [interrupts]: “Tell me about Betty!”

ClarinetMike: “I like your enthusiasm Cyrille! BTE or ‘Betty’ is done by playing a scale or a passage from an etude or solo with four tongued quarter notes on each note of the scale or passage. (For example, on a C major scale it would be C, C, C, C, D, D, D, D, E, E, E, E, etc.) The idea is to experiment with the stroke and position of the tongue (i.e. less tongue, more tongue, etc. ) to discover how it feels when the sound of the articulation is just right. It is important to work on this exercise on notes in all registers – not just the low register!*

Cyrille: “Sounds easy! How often and how much do I need to work on it?”

ClarinetMike: “Work on it every day you practice at least 5 minutes or so along with other articulation studies/exercises. Even when you start working on staccato and double/triple tonguing, you should keep working on this exercise. Tonguing takes time to improve – so be patient and keep working.  Ok Cyrille, let’s try it….”

ClarinetMike Illustration: A few years ago I gave a masterclass at a well-known university in the USA. I worked with a graduate clarinet student who was preparing for an orchestra audition. I worked with him on Mendelssohn’s Midsummer Night’s Dream Scherzo – an important excerpt that’s loaded with lots of fast tonguing. He played it for me and and his tonguing was lacking (actually kinda bad!). I asked him how much he worked on tonguing each day in his daily practice. I expected him to say, “None,” but he surprised me and said something like 45 minutes a day!! I was stunned and thought “how can you practice that much on tonguing and sound so bad!” I realized that he had been likely only working on  complicated double and triple tonguing stuff his famous undergraduate teacher had given him at a swanky East Coast conservatory. So, I had him do the above Basic Tonguing Exercise. He showed some immediate improvement and was happy about it! ClarinetMike says, “Don’t neglect the basics, they are always essential!”


*When working on Betty, try using the voicings from E-Tip #3: Eee’s from my E-Tips for E-Lips embouchure tips.

NOTE: FYI, Cyrille is a “pointy-headed” clarinet  reference to the great Cyrille Rose of Rose 32 Etudes fame. Rose was known to have had a sluggish tongue.

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ClarinetMike Blog is #1: The 2019 Annual Report

ClarinetMike says, “THANK YOU for reading the blog and Happy New Year!”

ClarinetMike Blog 2019 Annual Report

Hey! Hope you are enjoying some time off during the holidays. Below is a brief summary of 2019 for the ClarinetMike Blog:

  • The ClarinetMike Blog is one of the top clarinet blogs on the Internet.  Google Search lists it as the #1 clarinet blog on a search of “clarinet blog.” Also, the ClarinetMike Blog is listed as the #1 clarinet blog on the website, Top 20 Clarinet Blogs And Websites To Follow in 2020 (updated December 26, 2019).
  • 46 blog posts in 2019
  • Top Post of 2019 is 10 Performance Anxiety Tips from November 18.
  • Average post length is 485 words.
  • 48,000+ views (15,000+, or 31.25%, of all views are outside the USA)
  • Viewed in 120+ countries on 6 continents with top viewership from USA, United Kingdom, Canada, Hong Kong SAR China, Australia, France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Netherlands, Russia, Belgium, Brazil, Ireland, Israel, India, South Africa, Sweden, Mexico, Norway, Bulgaria, Philippines, Singapore, Finland, Portugal, Greece, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea, Poland, Switzerland, Taiwan, Argentina, Denmark, Austria, New Zealand, Ukraine and Turkey. (The blog did not get a view in 2019 from Vatican City as it did a few years ago!)
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Extra Time Management Tip!

ClarinetMike in the studio recording a new CD.

I recently posted 10 Time Management Tips on my ClarinetMike Blog. The third tip is:

  1. Learn how to quickly (and courteously) get rid of unexpected visitors when they drop by your practice room or office to just “chat.”

A few years ago, I posted these tips in a ClarinetMike Blog post on various social media outlets and an astute person on LinkedIn asked how this could be done, i.e. “nicely get rid of people.” Below is my response to him.


Years ago, I heard a recording of a time management/motivation speaker and former minister named Coy Quisenberry.  He explained how he quickly and courteously “moved along” overly-chatty visitors to his office when he was a minister at a church.  The following is similar to what he said.

After a few minutes of letting the visitor speak, I would get up from my chair and walk out of my office at the same time continuing the conversation. The visitor would always follow me through the doorway into the hall outside. I would then walk the visitor down the hall toward the elevator (to put him/her on it!). I would gently say, “It’s great to see you and have a chance to catch up on things, but I really need to get back to my office. Please give me a call some time. Thanks!” And then I would head back to my office. Most of the time this worked and the visitor was gone.

If the guest was a woman, I sometimes would head toward the Men’s restroom. This also worked well. On a few occasions, when a guest just wouldn’t stop talking, I would tell them with more firmness, but nicely, that I had work to do and just couldn’t keep speaking to them. They would invariably realize they were being a pest and would apologize. And, importantly, leave without offense being taken.

ClarinetMike says, “Be like old pastor Coy Quisenberry.”

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Upper Midwest Tour 2020: ClarinetMike to Perform and Give Master Classes in Michigan and Ohio in February 2020!

ClarinetMike’s tour will include a recital and master class at the University of Michigan!

HEY! I’m excited to announce that I’ll be giving clarinet recitals and master classes on a solo tour of Michigan and Ohio this coming February 2020! I’ll be performing new music for solo clarinet, including a world premiere and possibly two! Details on music, venues, dates and times coming soon!

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10 Time Management Tips

Dr. Michael Dean “ClarinetMike”

The days between Thanksgiving and Christmas are often a super busy time for musicians (and everyone!). Therefore, I offer the following 10 Time Management Tips – with a few NEW updates – from an article I published in the NACWPI Journal (citation below).

10 Time Management Tips by Dr. Michael Dean “ClarinetMike”

1. Handle mail only once. Read it now or read it later (not both!). Emails should be answered within 24 hours. Extra Teacher Tip: If you use your school’s email, make sure that your school’s email storage has not reached its limit. NEW: These rules also now apply to texts!

2. Practice/study/work where you cannot be interrupted by the phone. If possible, turn off your cell phone. NEW: Don’t look at that phone!

3. Learn how to quickly (and courteously) get rid of unexpected visitors when they drop by your practice room or office to just “chat.”

4. Always strive to improve your time management skills: Google it, read a book, attend a lecture, etc.

5. Exercise/Eat Right/Sleep 7-8 hours every night. “Every hour of sleep before midnight counts as two” is a good old rule to follow.

6. Recruit help. You do not have to do every chore yourself.

7. Carefully consider goals and goal-setting. Remember the Chinese proverb: “A journey of
a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

8. Just do it! Be disciplined. The more you are disciplined, the more disciplined you will

9. Failure: If you fall down, don’t just lie there and complain. LEARN, get up, and keep going. Remember the words of John Wooden, “Don’t whine, complain or make excuses – just do the best you can.” NEW: John Wooden also said, “Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be.”

10.  Television and the Internet are your enemies (at least as far as time is concerned).  Now, a new enemy is here: the SMARTPHONE. [NO! You don’t have to check Twitter on your iPhone every few minutes to see if your college football team has a new offensive coordinator….]

ClarinetMike says, “Re-read these tips and then put down your iPhone and get back to work!”

Original Article © by The National Association of College Wind and Percussion Instructors NACWPI Journal, Vol. XLVI, No. 3, spring 1998. Thanks to NACWPI for kind permission.

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