Hear ClarinetMike Discuss Clarinet Performing and Pedagogy on Clarineat Podcast! (You Won’t Believe What Happens Next!)

Hear ClarinetMike on Clarineat Podcast!

Hear ClarinetMike on Clarineat Podcast!

Hear ClarinetMike Discuss Clarinet Performing and Pedagogy on Clarineat Podcast! (You Won’t Believe What Happens Next!)

[Sorry about the clickbait headline – just having a little fun!]

Earlier this summer I had a great time being interviewed by Sean Perrin for his noted clarinet podcast, Clarineat. We touched on a number of subjects related to clarinet performing and teaching. Below is a list of topics we discussed and a blurb on the Clarineat Podcast, that now also features a blog.

CLICK HERE to listen to the podcast. Wait for the Clarineat Podcast Player to pop up on the page, then click the play button.

Discussion Topics

  • How the ClarinetMike blog got started
  • Who is the blog for?
  • The importance of brevity
  • Mike’s performance at ClarinetFest 2016
  • New CD Project “Postcards from Silver Lake”
  • 10 Clarinet Things to do on Summer Break
  • How taking breaks can increase your productivity
  • Setting practice limits and “segments”
  • Quality over Quantity
  • Finding routines that work for you
  • The importance of a good embouchure for beginners
  • Setting and achieving musical goals through technique
  • The difference between “test-takers” and apprentices
  • What makes a successful performance?
  • How to practice in a way that helps performance
  • “Loading” and “Unloading”
  • The “ARTC” System
    • Approach and Attitude
    • Relaxation
    • Tone
    • Counting
  • Tonguing tips
  • Single Lip-Double Lip Embouchure
  • The importance of voicing and “air position”
  • Equipment isn’t everything, but…
  • You need to play on good equipment
  • Mike’s criteria for evaluating equipment
    • 1. Response
    • 2. Tone
    • 3. Tuning
  • Advice for band teachers looking to upgrade equipment
  • Don’t be scared to reach out with questions!
  • Don’t buy a “CSO”
  • Mike’s recent CD “Mysteries”

ClarinetMike says, “Check out the Podcast because YOU WON’T BELIEVE WHAT HAPPENS NEXT!”


Clarineat is a weekly podcast that is followed by clarinetists and others around the world across social media and via email subscription. The show was founded in January 2016 and features interviews with prominent performers, educators, and manufacturers in the clarinet community. The website features product reviews and a blog that is updated regularly. The goal is to provide unique, high-quality content on a regular basis to the clarinet community.

The Clarineat podcast is recorded, hosted, edited and produced by Sean Perrin in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

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ClarinetMike’s Clarinet Teacher Tips: “Line up exactly the upper and lower bridge keys.”

ClarinetMike’s Clarinet Teacher Tips: “Carefully line up the upper and lower bridge keys.”

ClarinetMike’s Clarinet Teacher Tips: “Line up exactly the upper and lower bridge keys.”

ClarinetMike’s Clarinet Teacher Tips: “Line up exactly the upper and lower bridge keys.”

A couple of years ago, I had a student announce in a lesson 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.’”

[The above is a slightly revised version of a previous blog post.]


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ClarinetMike’s Clarinet Teacher Tips: Posture Video

In the above video I discuss two simple performing adjustments:

1.  Don’t perform with clarinet bell right under the music stand. Take a step back.

2. Stand (or sit) up straighter and have the clarinet come to you. DO NOT go to the clarinet with your head or body. This is one of the best tips I know – it fixes a million sins.

For more ClarinetMike teaching videos, CLICK HERE and HERE.

ClarinetMike says, “Figure out how performing adjustment #2 applies to you and do it!”

NOTE: This is a very slightly revised version of a previous blog post.

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Duo 35 Concert! ClarinetMike and Saxophonist Todd Oxford Perform Sunday, August 14, 2016 in Austin, Texas

ClarinetMike says, "Come to our concert!"

ClarinetMike says, “Come to our Duo 35 concert in Austin, Texas!”

Saxophonist Todd Oxford and I will be playing our third concert of the summer in Austin, Texas on Sunday, August 14, 2016, 5 p.m., at the Episcopal Church of the Resurrection – see program below. We performed in Arlington, Texas in June and perform next week at ClarinetFest 2016 at the University of Kansas, Lawrence. Program Notes for the concert are available HERE – we will be repeating the same program from our June concert.

Duo 35 Concert
Michael Dean, clarinet
Todd Oxford, saxophone
with Suzanne Pagan, piano


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

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

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

Brief Intermission

NAS-T (2012) (solo alto saxophone) by Brian Rhodes

Truffles (2010) (clarinet & piano) by James Grant
Dark Chocolate (sinful)

Concertpiece No. 2 (1833) (clarinet, alto saxophone and piano) by Felix Mendelssohn

Sunday, August 14, 2016, 5 p.m.
Episcopal Church of the Resurrection
2200 Justin Lane, Austin, TX 78757
$10 Suggested Donation at the Door
CD’s for Sale – Meet the Artists

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ClarinetMike’s Texas All-State Clarinet Clinic: Preparation Guide

Clarinet Mike says, “Genuine Excellence = Talent × Practice Time × Practice Quality!”

ClarinetMike says, “Genuine Excellence = Talent × Practice Time × Practice Quality

The Texas TMEA All-State Audition music has been posted – CLICK HERE. Also, the Texas ATSSB audition materials are available HERE. The guide below is from my Texas All-State Clarinet Clinic Lecture Notes. Look for more All-State help from ClarinetMike in coming weeks!

ClarinetMike’s Texas All-State Clarinet Clinic: Preparation Guide 

Dr. Michael Dean “ClarinetMike”
Clarinet Performing, Teaching and Consulting
BG France Performing Artist
clarinetmiketexas@yahoo.com * 682-888-7639
clarinetmike.wordpress.com * clarinetmike.com

Preliminary Concerns

  1. Get quality equipment. My soprano clarinet set up: Buffet R13 clarinet, Vandoren M13 Lyre or D’Addario Reserve XO mouthpiece, Vandoren V12 3.5 or D’Addario Reserve Classic 3.5 reeds, BG Revelation or Super Revelation ligature, metronome/tuner, silk swab, BG Pad Dryer, etc.
  2. Find a good private teacher who teaches good basics and musical style. Stay away from Rote-Only Teachers. [Also, don’t copy a recording. Learn to count!]

Core Concepts

  1. It’s Always about the MUSIC. So, work on ARTC Basics & ARTSY Musical Style (Phrasing, esp. Romantic style)
  2. Loading & Unloading (See Frank R. Wilson) Slow Careful Practice = Speedy, Confident Performance. 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.

General Preparation Tips

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

Etude Preparation Tips (Template)

  1. Overview on composer and musical style.
  2. Key(s) and Tempo(s).
  3. Scale and Arpeggio Cheat Sheet
  4. Technical Issues (articulation, rhythms, fingerings, etc.).
  5. Problem Passages.
  6. Sections, Phrases, and Musical Issues.
  7. Breath Marks.
  8. Other.
  9. Suggested Listening

Further Study

  1. See Internet links above.
  2. Listen to style on youtube.com.
  3. Check out documents, videos, etc. on www.clarinetmike.com and www.clarinetmike.wordpress.com.
  4. See TMEA Performance Guides.

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

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Texas TMEA All-State Band 2016-17 Audition Material for Soprano and Low Clarinets

ClarinetMike says, “Pursue genuine musical excellence every day! Have fun and ‘Get Into It!’”

ClarinetMike says, “Pursue genuine excellence every day! Have fun and make beautiful music’”

Today, the official audition materials for the Texas TMEA 2016-17 All-State Band Auditions were posted at TMEA.org. The materials for all band instruments (including soprano and low clarinets) are available HERE.  BELOW I have re-posted the audition information for soprano and low clarinets.

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

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

Practice counting in eighth notes, i.e. twice as slow, where one eighth note gets one beat, one quarter note gets two counts, etc.

Go slow and learn the rhythm correctly the first time and every time.

Dynamics, dynamics, dynamics every step of the way! Check out my ADD BOLD DYNAMICS! post.

I will post more helps on the all-state etudes on my ClarinetMike Blog in coming weeks.

Soprano Clarinets

Artistic Studies, Book 1 – From the French School, David Hite, Southern Music Company, Edition B362

Selection 1

Etude Title: 40 Studies, No. 20, Page 22
Tempo: Quarter Note = 76-84
Play from Beginning to end.
Errata: Measure 65 – Beat 3 – Change articulation to slur 2 tongue 2

TMEA Performance Guide: Care must be taken to fit the grace note and trill in measure one within the correct timeframe. Place the grace note before the beat with only one trill motion. The most important consideration is not altering the rhythm to satisfy the grace note and trill. The rhythm in measure 3 should be played as illustrated in the brackets above the measure. The musical style of a Polonaise should be observed throughout, except for the dolce legato section from measure 37 through 44. The accented eighth notes in measures 57 and 59 should be longer with more weight. Observe all of the mixed articulations throughout this etude with a light staccato for the correct style and shape of the phrase.


Selection 2

Etude Title: 32 Etudes, No. 16, page 61
Key: Bb major
Tempo: Eighth Note = 88-100
Play from Beginning 
Errata: m. 8 – three notes before the end of the measure should be a Bb
m. 8 – four notes before the end of the measure should be C natural, not C-sharp
m. 12 – B-flats, six and seven notes from end of measure should be tied together

TMEA Performance Guide: This beautiful etude gives many opportunities to play with extreme control, refinement, and nuance. Be sure to always take a deep, full breath so your intervals will be smooth and connected. Take time to find the best resonance fingerings for your throat tones so your tone will be consistent and even in all registers. This etude is about tonal evenness and phrasing. Be sure to make beautiful, refined playing your top priority.


Selection 3

Etude Title: 9 Caprices, No. 9, Pages 94-95
Tempo: Quarter Note = 110-112
Play from Beginning to Measure 50 downbeat.
Errata: None

TMEA Performance Guide: This étude is challenging and rewarding to perform. when performing articulations under a slur, use the syllable “dah.” I would suggest using the syllable “Tah”or tut” for all other articulated notes that are not under a slur. In measure 6, and others similar to it, try not to pre-clip the end of the slur with the tongue, because these articulated slurs are followed by other similar slurs. When slurs are followed by quick articulated notes, such as in measures 5, 9, 31, 32, etc., it is a good idea to pre-clip the end of the slur with the tongue, to help prepare for the following staccato notes. A single note trill is fine in measures 48 and 49. The Meno Mosso tempo at 30, should be carefully followed. These articulation suggestions are meant to follow the bowing effects of the original étude , and are only suggestions. Keep a steady and even tempo, and a light tongue game stroke to maintain articulative clarity at all times. All trills should start on the written note and move to the note above in the key indicated, and because of the speed of this étude, one trill, in most cases is fine. . The


Low Clarinets

Artistic Studies, Book 1 – From the French School, David Hite, Southern Music Company, Edition B362

Selection 1

Etude Title: 32 Etudes, No. 9, Page 55
Key: F Major
Tempo: Quarter Note = 96-112
Play from Beginning to end.

TMEA Performance Guide:  This etude has a combination of both technical and lyrical lines. Students should aim to create contrast between these two styles by playing fast staccato passages cleanly and with separation between notes, and using good air support in lyrical sections to create smooth, connected phrases. The addition of right-hand resonance fingerings will help throat-tone notes for better pitch, better intonation, and make it easier getting into the clarion register.

The turn in m.7 happens on the upbeat of count three and includes the following notes: F, G, F, E, F. Grace notes in m.33 should be placed just before the beat.

Staccato notes should be played short and cleanly with the tip of the tongue touching the tip of the reed. Marcato notes in m. 18 should be played with a heavier tongue stroke and quick bursts of air to create short and accented notes. Articulated notes in m. 23 should be played with a legato tongue stroke using the syllable “du” and deliberate pronunciation. All articulated sixteenth notes in mm. 48-49 should be played staccato.


Selection 2

Etude Title: 32 Etudes, No. 5, Page 51
Tempo: Quarter Note = 50-58
Play from Beginning to end.
Errata: Contra clarinets play measures 46, 47, 48 and the first beat of measure 49 down one octave, then as printed to the end.

TMEA Performance Guide: Slower etude tempos often necessitate subdividing the eighth note for the pulse and this etude is a prime example of when to utilize subdivisions. Practicing with the metronome set to the eighth-note subdivision will help with counting both the slower and faster rhythmic patterns. Solid air support is essential to creating long, lyrical phrases and will also help to even tonal differences between the different registers. Dynamic ranges should be pushed to the extremes. Students are encouraged to follow the breath marks indicated in the music. Notes written with staccatos under slur markings should be played with a legato tongue stroke, using the syllable “du.”

This etude has many different rhythmic patterns and rhythmic values. Students should be extra careful when playing and counting 32nd notes in comparison to the slower sixteenth notes (example in mm. 21-32). The long trilled section in mm. 24-25 should be trilled in 32nds with the grace notes treated as sixteenth notes. In m.5 the correct fingerings are right-hand B and left-hand C-sharp. Use right-hand C-sharp two bars later in m. 7. An alternate fingering for altissimo D in m. 44 can be played as an over-blown open G plus the octave key. For this note to respond clearly and without hesitation, the correct voicing must be utilized. The turn in m.48 should be played on the upbeat of count three.


Selection 3

Etude Title: 32 Etudes, No. 24, Page 69
Tempo: Quarter Note = 86-104
Play from Beginning to end.
Errata: (Early editions only) In mm. 33, 34, the 3rd and 4th 16th notes are slurred like mm. 1, 2. This errata is corrected in later editions of the book.

TMEA Performance Guide: Begin practicing slowly to ensure that all accidentals and finger patterns are secure and technically clean. All tongued notes should be played separate and lightly to facilitate speed. To articulate cleanly and quickly, use to the tip of the tongue to touch the tip of the reed. Accented notes need to come out of the texture and be played with a heavier tongue stroke and quick bursts of air. Passages containing repeated pitches tongued are musically enhanced when played with slight crescendos going into the next downbeat. Dynamic markings and crescendos/decrescendos should be played in a way that creates extreme dynamic contrasts. All throat-tone notes need to be played with right-hand resonance fingerings down for better pitch, better tone, and to help get into the clarion register with ease. Try using 1+1 fingering for B-flat in m.18. For G-flats in mm. 19-20, 23-24, 30 use middle finger G-flat, not the forked fingering. When playing the altissimo E-flat in m.16 make sure to open the pin-hole key with the left index finger and to use the forked fingering.

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Come to ClarinetMike’s CLARINET POWER! Clinic at the Texas Bandmasters Convention on Friday, July 22, 2016 at 5 pm!

ClarinetMike says, "Come get some CLARINET POWER at my TBA clinic!"

ClarinetMike says, “Bring Your Clarinet to my CLARINET POWER! TBA clinic this Friday!”

Ciao! As I write this, I’m in the northern Italian Alps of Vipiteno, Italy finishing up a great time as Clarinet Artist Faculty at the Orfeo Music Festival.  I leave Italy tomorrow for Germany and will be flying back home to Texas on Tuesday.

As previously posted, this coming Friday I’ll be giving a big clarinet clinic at the Texas Bandmasters Association Clinic/Convention 2016: CLARINET POWER! Upgrade with Powerful Clarinet Pedagogy (details below). The clinic will be on Friday, July 22 at 5 pm – at “Taco Time!” right after the closing of the exhibit hall! Before you consume a mountain of Mexican Food on the River Walk, come get some CLARINET POWER! I can’t wait to get a Alps-Sized mountain of Mexican Food myself!

Also, if possible, bring a clarinet with you to the CLARINET POWER! clinic as this will be a hands-on clinic. You can install some CLARINET POWER! immediately!

CLARINET POWER! Upgrade with Powerful Clarinet Pedagogy
Friday, July 22, 2016, 5 pm, Room: CC 214AB
Texas Bandmasters Association Clinic/Convention 2016

Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, San Antonio, Texas
Clinician: Dr. Michael Dean 

  Middle School Track    High School Track

TBA Clinic Description: During this clinic, clarinet basics will be discussed such as embouchure, voicing, articulation, relaxation, posture, and sound projection. There will be a special emphasis on the “Single Lip-Double Lip” embouchure and related embouchure tips. This is a hands-on clinic, so bring your clarinet to the class! [Click Here for fuller clinic description.]

Dr. Michael Dean Bio: American clarinetist and BG France Performing Artist Dr. Michael Dean performs and teaches across the USA and abroad. His performing and teaching have been praised as “dynamic,” “wonderful,” “consummate performer,” “inspirational,” “outstanding teacher,” “super” and “brilliant performer.” His extensive career is headlined by appearances at Carnegie Hall, Royal Northern College of Music, Eastman School of Music, ClarinetFest and NACWPI. In July, he will be Clarinet Artist Faculty in Residence at the Orfeo Music Festival 2016 in Vipiteno, Italy. He is featured on five commercial CD’s and on New Media, such as YouTube. He is currently preparing another new CD, Postcards from Silver Lake. He performed for 11 years with the Paducah Symphony and has also performed with the Southwest Symphony, Nevada Symphony, Abilene Philharmonic, Southeast Chamber Players and the Red Mesa Trio. His articles appear in journals such as Southwestern Musician, WINDPLAYER, NACWPI Journal, and The Bandmasters’ Review. As “ClarinetMike,” he writes for his widely-read clarinet blog, clarinetmike.wordpress.com. His ClarinetMike Blog has been viewed in 147+ countries on 6 continents. He is an active clarinet performer, clinician, private teacher, and consultant based in the Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas area. He was a tenured Associate Professor of Clarinet for 11 years at Southeast Missouri State University. He returned to his native Texas in 2012 due to family concerns. 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, Carol Jessup, Phil Aaholm, Jess Youngblood and Bob Ackerman. His web page, clarinetmike.com, features video and audio of his teaching and performing. Mike and his family reside in Hurst, Texas.

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