ClarinetMike In Italy 2022! Orfeo Music Festival 2022 Application Information and MORE!

ClarinetMike says, “Ciao! Come Study Clarinet in the Italian Alps at the Orfeo Music Festival in July 2022!”

NEWS! 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) this coming summer, July 4-16, 2022.

Check It Out! Orfeo Music Festival 2022 Website: Festival concerts are held at historical venues such as Vipiteno’s Medieval and Renaissance churches as well as at a beautiful modern theater. The study program takes place in one of the best music schools in the region located in a beautiful 13th-century historical building. Festival participants stay at local hotels within walking distance of all venues: pictures.

Who? YOU! Who should apply to go to Orfeo 2022? University, college, 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 or text.

Friends! A variety of students attend the Orfeo Music Festival. The majority are university and high school students, but there are also younger students as well as talented adult amateurs and others. Most Orfeo participants are from the USA, but there is a definite international flavor with faculty and students from Russia, Austria, China, Germany, England, Australia, Korea, and other countries.

Apply! Click here. Regular application deadline is March 15, 2022. Early Bird application deadline is March 1, 2022. I am happy to help you with applying, just contact me: or text.

Scholarships! The Orfeo Music Festival has a limited number of merit scholarships available. Click here for more information.

Fee Table! How much does Orfeo 2022 cost? Click here.

Facebook! Check out and join my official ClarinetMike In Italy 2022 Facebook Page. I’ll be posting updates, pictures, videos, application information, and all kinds of cool stuff about Orfeo 2022! Click here:

Social Media! I’ll be using the hashtag #orfeo2022 when I post on Facebook and other social media platforms such as Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.

Perform! Below I’m performing at Orfeo Music Festival 2019 with fabulous Orfeo colleague Faina Lushtak on the World Premiere of her “Blues in C” at Vigil Raber Saal in downtown Vipiteno, Italy.

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ClarinetMike in 2021!

Dr. Michael Dean “ClarinetMike”

I’m very thankful for a successful and busy year of performing and teaching in 2021 in spite of the pandemic. Below is the 2021 Annual Report on my ClarinetMike Blog, QuickTips, QuickClips, TikToks, Master Classes, Clinics, Performances, and more. (Notice the emergence of TikTok.)

ClarinetMike 2021 Annual Report

  • The ClarinetMike Blog remains one of the top clarinet blogs on the Internet. Google Search lists it as the first hit on a search of “clarinet blog.” Also, the ClarinetMike Blog is again listed as the #1 clarinet blog on the website, Top 20 Clarinet Blogs and Websites (updated December 28, 2021).
  • The ClarinetMike Blog featured 23 posts in 2021. There were 12,365+ views from 101+ countries on 6 continents with 33% of views outside the USA. (The blog did not get a view in 2021 from Vatican City as it did a few years ago!)
  • 18 ClarinetMike QuickTips: 24,516 views on Facebook and Instagram

  • 9 ClarinetMike QuickClips: 3,923 views on Facebook and Instagram

  • 41 ClarinetMike TikToks: 13,120 views

  • Blog + Tips + Clips + TikToks = 53,924+ overall views (not including LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.)
  • Taught 108+ online and in person clarinet master classes, clinics, performances, etc. in addition to lots of private lessons.
  • In person solo Texas-Oklahoma Tour 2021 in October featured recitals (2 World Premieres!) and/or master classes at the University of North Texas, Texas A&M University Corpus Christi, Texas A&M University Kingsville, Baylor University, University of Oklahoma, TCU, and the NACWPI 2021 National Conference at Texas Woman’s University.

  • Commissioned and premiered 2 cool new clarinet works (on tour above): Austin Ali’s Nimbus! for clarinet and media plus Mark Carlson’s Song of Solitude for solo clarinet.
  • Performed as principal clarinetist with the Dallas Chamber Wind Ensemble on the World Premiere of a new chamber version of John Mackey’s Hymn to a Blue Hour.

Upcoming Events for 2022 and 2023 include the release of a new CD, Postcards from Silver Lake, a return to the Italian Alps as Clarinet Artist Faculty in Residence at the summer international Orfeo Music Festival in Vipiteno, Italy, and a recital & master class tour of Israel.

ClarinetMike says, “Happy New Year!”

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ClarinetMike’s Performing Checklist

ClarinetMike backstage before performing at the Teatro Comunale Vipiteno at the Orfeo Music Festival in Vipiteno, Italy.

ClarinetMike’s Performing Checklist by Dr. Michael Dean “ClarinetMike”

Many of you have upcoming all-region auditions, competitions, concerts, hearings, recitals, music juries, etc. So, here’s my Performing Checklist based on many years of giving performances and presentations and teaching students to do the same. Every audition, jury, performance, clinic, etc. is different, so focus on the preparation tips below that apply to your situation.

  • Be Organized and Confident: Organized in Preparation and Confident in Performance.
  • Morning Performances = Get up extra early. (Go to bed early the night before.)
  • Mentally walk through performing day and concert (or audition, etc.) the night before.
  • Check weather and dress appropriately. Take umbrella, rain poncho, trench coat, etc.
  • Dress up and look your best. This will help even in a blind audition!
  • Wear layers of comfortable clothing for an audition, especially for a long audition.
  • Eat good food – especially protein.
  • Take extra set of music.
  • Have a short bio ready for introductions.
  • Carefully plan all speaking during concert. Fit comments to audience. Keep it simple.
  • Leave and arrive early. Check traffic on Google Maps.
  • Have good directions to venue (GPS or map). Know precisely where the building is.
  • Plan for parking at venue. Budget extra time.
  • Know where you can warm up at venue – on stage is best.
  • Have concert recorded if possible: video is best! Check weeks before and upon arrival.
  • Have stand lights handy with new batteries in case lighting is poor on stage.
  • 2 water bottles & 2 clarinet pegs: one each on stage and one for off stage/green room.
  • Get on stage or in room for sound check before concert – a day+ early would be best.
  • Make sure tech person is at sound check.
  • At sound check, carefully check balance between piano or CD, etc. Recruit a helper.
  • Be very clear with stage crew/usher on stage set up, hall opening time, etc. Be courteous and patient with them. Actually, be nice to eveyone!
  • Make sure there is no profanity or embarrassing writing on back of music stand!
  • Don’t let an audition monitor rush you. Respectfully insist on what’s right.
  • Make sure page turner is set!! Have a backup plan.
  • Make sure programs/handouts are put out. Take extra ones in case someone forgets.
  • Turn off your cell phone!
  • MAKE MUSIC! Always “Go For It!” when performing – just unload what you’ve loaded.
  • No negative comments or looks – stay upbeat, even if feeling sick or upset.
  • Take extra business cards for meet and greet after recital.
  • Don’t forget to pick up music after concert, especially CD’s and pianist’s music.
  • Follow up soon after concert with emails or texts to hosts and other VIP’s you meet.
  • Reflection. What did I learn today?

ClarinetMike says, “This checklist is a follow-up to my recent blog post, 10 Performing Anxiety Tips.”

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10 Performance Anxiety Tips

Dr. Michael Dean “ClarinetMike”

10 Performance Anxiety Tips by Dr. Michael Dean “ClarinetMike”

Successfully dealing with the concerns of playing or singing in stressful situations, such as recitals, contests, auditions, etc. is an important part of being a good musician. I have found the following tips useful with my students and in my own performing.

  1. Nervous is Normal. This is very important. The goal is not to eradicate nervousness. It is to perform well without letting nerves get in the way.
  2. Have a Routine. Most success is planned, so having a performing ritual will help.
  3. Prepare Music Well with Good Fundamentals. Music must be thoroughly practiced with sound basics of relaxation/body position, tone, rhythm, and technique. So, turn off that TV [and INTERNET!] and get to the practice room!
  4. Make Music. Understand that the point of performing is to make music. Careful reflection on this and related topics are an essential part of dealing with performance anxiety and good music-making in general.
  5. Breathe. Spend the first few minutes on stage thinking about your air use. Further, make sure the breath marks are well-conceived and clearly marked on your music.
  6. Eat Bananas. Chop up a few of them on your cereal on the morning of a big performance. They have natural ingredients that help deal with stress.
  7. Eat Right/Exercise/Sleep 8 Hours A Night. Eating burritos at 1 a.m. the night before an 8 a.m. audition is usually not a good idea. Also, “Every hour of sleep before midnight counts as two” is a good old rule to follow.
  8. Relax in your Body/Concentrate in your Mind. Usually we do the opposite.
  9. Check your Clothes Before You Walk on Stage. Make sure your performing clothes are not too tight and/or restrictive. (I think we all know why clothes we have not worn recently might be too tight, don’t we?)
  10. DO IT!! There is no magic formula for dealing with performance anxiety. Learning to perform well takes time. It is more like exercising than turning on a light switch. Try to make small improvements every time you perform. Always be looking for opportunities to perform.

EXTRA: ClarinetMike says, “Carefully Plan and Arrive Early! If possible, try to get in the audition room early and play some.”

[NOTE: The above information is based on the lecture presentation, “Perspectives on Performance Anxiety,” given by the author at the UMEA conference in February 1998]

The 10 tips above are from an article that originally appeared in and is © InterFACE (Journal of the Utah Music Educators Association) Fall 1998 (Volume 44, No. 1).

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7 Ways to Improve Your Practicing!

ClarinetMike practicing at the Scuola di musica in Vipiteno, Italy at the Orfeo Music Festival.

7 Ways to Improve Your Practicing by Dr. Michael Dean “ClarinetMike”

  1. Practice First. “Work expands to fill the time available.” (A time management maxim known as “Parkinson’s Law.”) This means if you wait to practice until you finish all your homework (or housework, etc.), then you won’t practice because you’ll run out of time. So, my suggestion is to practice first for at least one practice session before starting on other work. This way you’ll get at least some practice in every day.
  2. Let There Be Light. Make sure you have adequate light in your practice space. FYI, you should own a couple of stand lights and take them to your rehearsals and gigs. A stand light saved my neck the first time I performed in Italy at the Orfeo Music Festival. I played Schubert’s Shepherd on the Rock in an amazing (but dark!) old church – La Chiesa di Santo Spirito, built in 1399!
  3. Care About the Chair. Get a good chair to sit in that is comfortable and the right height for you. Similarly, make sure you have a quality music stand that is adjustable.
  4. Straighten Up and Fly Right. Be sure you sit up or stand with good, relaxed posture – NO slouching, leaning over, leg crisscrossing, etc.
  5. No Fan of Fans. Do not have a ceiling fan (or similar) going above your head or near you while practicing. The fan will blow your sound around and you will not be able to accurately hear yourself.
  6. Turn Off The Phone! Limit distractions by turning off all beeps, buzzers, and bells on cellphones, tablets, laptops, computers, etc.
  7. No TV or Internet. Do not do something else while practicing. I know someone who warms up on his instrument while reading email every morning. Do not do this.

ClarinetMike says, “Read these tips again and go practice right now.”

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Texas-Oklahoma Tour 2021: Venues, Program, and Notes! ClarinetMike to Give 2 World Premieres!

ClarinetMike at the University of Toledo, Ohio on his Upper Midwest Tour 2020 right before the pandemic.

On Tour! I’ll be giving clarinet recitals, master classes, and clinics on a solo tour of Texas and Oklahoma October 1-24! I’ll be giving the World Premieres of two super cool new works! Below are the Tour Itinerary, Recital Program, and Program Notes plus other tour information. ClarinetMike says, “If you are in the area, come by and say, ‘Hey ClarinetMike!’” Also join my tour Facebook Page:

Texas-Oklahoma Tour 2021
Michael Dean, clarinet

Tour Itinerary
University of North Texas, Denton
Friday, October 1, Noon, Guest Lecture, Graduate Clarinet Class

International Baptist Church of Arlington, Texas
Saturday, October 9, Recital 7 p.m.

Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi
Thursday, October 14, Master Class 4:30 p.m., Recital 7:30 p.m.

Texas A&M University-Kingsville
Friday, October 15, Recital and Master Class 2 p.m.

Baylor University, Waco, Texas
Sunday, October 17, Recital 5 p.m.

University of Oklahoma, Norman
Tuesday, October 19
Master Class 1:30 p.m., Recital 7:30 p.m. plus Livestream

Texas Christian University [TCU]
Friday, October 22
Master Class Noon

NACWPI 2021 National Conference
Texas Woman’s University, Denton
Saturday, October 23
Recital 4:30 p.m.

Recital Program
Summer Sunrise on the Mississippi (2009) by Robert Fruehwald (b. 1957)
(clarinet & media)

Burn: re-mixed (2020) by Peter Meechan (b. 1980)
(clarinet & media)

Andy and Me (2006) by Robert Fruehwald
(clarinet & media)


“Fairly slowly” from Low Register Suite No. 1 (c. 1973) by Alec Wilder (1907-1980)
(solo clarinet)   

“Gently” from Three Smiles for Tracey (1989) by Adolphus Hailstork (b. 1941)
 (solo clarinet)

Song of Solitude (2021) (World Premiere) by Mark Carlson (b. 1952)
(solo clarinet)

Nimbus! (2021) (World Premiere) by Austin Ali (b. 1997)
(clarinet & media)

Program Notes

Summer Sunrise on the Mississippi (2009) by Robert Fruehwald (b. 1957)
(clarinet and media)

There is an eloquence of silence…
There is a haunting sense of loneliness…
The tranquility is profound, infinitely satisfying.
That is all beautiful, soft and rich and beautiful,
A pink flush, a powder of gold, a purple haze.

from Life on the Mississippi (1883) by Mark Twain

Summer Sunrise on the Mississippi for clarinet and media was commissioned by Michael Dean. He premiered it at Florida State University and other venues on his 2009 tour of Florida. Michael Dean performs Summer Sunrise on the CD, Woodwind Music of Robert Fruehwald, Vol. 1.

Robert Fruehwald said, “I teach music composition and theory at Southeast Missouri State University. Every day, when walking home, I would see a glint of blue through the trees on the horizon. For many months, I thought I was seeing the sky. Then, one day, I saw a stern-wheel steamboat squarely in the middle of that patch of blue – what I had been seeing was the Mississippi River. Every day after that, I would watch the river and observe its moods. It’s been my daily companion ever since. Recently, our music department at Southeast Missouri moved from the main university campus to a new one on the banks of the Mississippi. Now I observe the river up close. I see different things every day. I decided to write a piece about the river, a piece that expresses its mood on a warm day, early in the morning, just as my own day would begin. I looked to Mark Twain for some lyrics and found a suitable passage in his Life on the Mississippi (published the year before The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn).  I thought Twain’s words would make a great basis for a song, and I think that someday they will; however, instead of a vocal work they inspired me to write this instrumental solo. When I recorded the river sounds on the media accompaniment, I put the microphone right down on the Mississippi River (at Cape Girardeau, Missouri). I also recorded some other nearby sounds: birds, cicadas, a passing train, etc.”

Robert Fruehwald

Composer and teacher, Robert Fruehwald grew up in Louisville, Kentucky where he played flute in the Louisville Youth Orchestra. He attended the University of Louisville receiving a Bachelor of Music in Composition (with honors). While in Louisville, he studied composition with Nelson Keyes, Claude Baker, and Dan Welcher, and flute with Francis Fuge. He earned his Master of Fine Arts degree at the California Institute of the Arts studying with Mel Powell, Morton Subotnick, and Leonard Rosenman. He returned to the Midwest to work on a Ph.D. at Washington University in St. Louis. There, he studied under Robert Wykes and finished his doctorate in 1985. Before accepting a teaching position in the late 1980s, Dr. Fruehwald developed a series of programs to print musical examples for scholarly journals and books. In 1989 he took a teaching position at Southeast Missouri State University. Dr. Fruehwald has taught numerous subjects at Southeast Missouri including applied composition, music theory, applied flute, electronic-computer music, and the history of modernism. He served as chair of the department of music from 1995-2000.

Burn: re-mixed (2020) by Peter Meechan (b. 1980)
(clarinet & media)

Burn was originally composed for solo clarinet and wind orchestra/band in 2012 for British clarinetist Linda Merrick. Burn was premiered by her in March of 2012 accompanied by the Sheffield University Wind Orchestra (SUWO) conducted by Tony Houghton. This version, Burn: re-mixed, for clarinet and media was commissioned by Michael Dean and premiered by him at the University of Michigan and other venues on his tour of Michigan and Ohio in February of 2020.

Peter Meechan said, “The initial unaccompanied passage that opens the work was written during 2011’s “Arab Spring”, which dominated news reports of the time. The haunting soundtrack to these newscasts (which were a strange cocktail of devastating, uplifting, angry, mournful, rallying and peaceful) was the calls to prayer. There was no attempt whilst writing Burn (a title inspired by region’s climate) to directly imitate these calls to prayer, but certainly they had an impact on the opening passage of the work, and therefore the whole piece.”

Peter Meechan

The music of Canadian-based British composer Peter Meechan is performed throughout the world. His music has been commissioned, recorded, broadcast and performed by some of the world’s leading wind orchestras, brass bands, conductors and soloists, including: “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Dallas Winds, Bramwell Tovey, Black Dyke Brass Band, Dunshan Symphonic Wind Orchestra, The Band of the Coldstream Guards, RNCM Wind Orchestra, University of Texas Wind Ensemble, Jerry Junkin, Ryan Anthony, Jens Lindemann, Steven Mead, Les Neish, Linda Merrick, the BBC Concert Orchestra, Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, Rex Richardson, Jacques Mauger, and many more.

Meechan’s music is featured on over 100 commercial recordings and has been featured at festivals and clinics globally, including the Midwest Clinic, the International Trumpet Guild, the International Tuba and Euphonium Association, BASBWE conferences, and in 2014 his work “The Legend of King Arthur” was used as the set test piece at the British National Brass Band Championships, held in the Royal Albert Hall, London. Peter was the first ever “Young Composer in Association” with the prestigious Black Dyke Brass band, where he went on to serve as their “Composer in Residence”, a position he also held between 2012 – 2015 with The Band of the Coldstream Guards. He holds an undergraduate degree from the Royal Northern College of Music, a Master of Arts degree and a PhD (composition), both from the University of Salford. Peter Meechan’s music is principally published by his own publishing house, Meechan Music.

Andy and Me (2006) by Robert Fruehwald (b. 1957)
(clarinet & media)

Andy and Me for clarinet and media was commissioned by Michael Dean. He premiered the work at Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau, Missouri in December of 2006. Andy and Me is on Michael Dean’s CD, Desertscape: New Music for Clarinet.

Robert Fruehwald said, “Andy and Me is a whimsical look at the relationship between Mike and the newest addition to his family, Andy. The sounds on the media accompaniment represent (and feature) Andy in a kind of conversation with the clarinet music played by Mike.”

“Fairly slowly” from Low Register Suite No. 1 (c. 1973) by Alec Wilder (1907-1980)
(solo clarinet) 

This short work for solo clarinet was originally written for unaccompanied flute. It is the first movement from Wilder’s Low Register Suite No. 1 (c. 1973). The work appears on Michael Dean’s Mysteries CD.                                                                                

Alec Wilder

Alec Wilder wrote a great deal of music of remarkable originality in many forms: instrumental solos, chamber music, works for orchestral and wind ensemble, musical comedies, film music, ballets, operas, and hundreds of popular songs. His music is a unique blend of American musical traditions – including American popular song, jazz, and basic “classical” forms and techniques. As such it fiercely resists all labeling. Often his music wasn’t jazzy enough for the “jazzers;” frequently it wasn’t “highbrow,” “classical” or “avant-garde” enough for the classical establishment. His music was never out of vogue because, in effect, it was never in vogue. The non-stereotypical nature of his music virtually precluded any widespread acceptance.

However, Wilder did endear himself to a relatively small, but loyal, group of diverse performers. Wilder’s admirers included jazz musicians, classical musicians and popular singers. Frank Sinatra was an early fan of Wilder’s music and an avid supporter. He even persuaded Columbia Records in 1945 to record some of Wilder’s solo wind works with string orchestra (with Sinatra himself conducting). The two men became life-long friends and Sinatra recorded many of Wilder’s popular songs.

Other noted musicians associated with Wilder include Erich Leinsdorf, Frederick Fennell, Gunther Schuller, John Barrows, Marian McPartland, Stan Getz, Gerry Mulligan, Doc Severinson, Clark Terry, Mabel Mercer, Peggy Lee, and Tony Bennett.

“What so many of us respect in Alec Wilder was his absolute independence as an artist. For years Alec wrote music of taste and quality with that personal melodic touch that was all his own, undaunted by musical fashion or fads. In short…he was an American ‘original.'” Gunther Schuller

“Gently” from Three Smiles for Tracey (1989) by Adolphus Hailstork (b. 1941)
 (solo clarinet)               

Three Smiles for Tracey for solo clarinet was written in 1989 and is dedicated to Tracey Brown. The work was published in 2003 by Theodore Presser Co.

Adolphus Hailstork

Adolphus Hailstork received his doctorate in composition from Michigan State University, where he was a student of H. Owen Reed.  He had previously studied at the Manhattan School of Music, under Vittorio Giannini and David Diamond, at the American Institute at Fontainebleau with Nadia Boulanger, and at Howard University with Mark Fax. Hailstork has written numerous works for chorus, solo voice, piano, organ, various chamber ensembles, band, orchestra, and opera. Hailstork is of African American ancestry and his works blend musical ideas from both the African American and European traditions. Adolphus Hailstork resides in Virginia Beach, Virginia, and is Professor of Music and Eminent Scholar at Old Dominion University in Norfolk. His professional website is 


Song of Solitude (2021) (World Premiere) by Mark Carlson (b. 1952)
(solo clarinet)

Mark Carlson said, “The original image that floated into my head as I began work on this piece was that of a shepherd, seated on a hill with a flock below, improvising a song—both to fill as distraction from loneliness and for the pleasure of making music. The piece, which I wrote at Michael Dean’s request for his Fall 2021 tour, is freely based on song form (AABA).”

Mark Carlson

Composer Mark Carlson‘s lyrical, emotionally powerful, and stylistically unique music has earned him the admiration of audiences and musicians throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Europe. A versatile composer, his approximately 100 works include art songs, chamber music, choral music, concertos and other large ensemble works, and songs for musical theater. He is currently working on an opera on The Scarlet Letter with librettist Bruce Olstad. The recipient of more than 50 commissions, he has been commissioned by the National Shrine in Washington, DC, and the New West Symphony, among other organizations, as well as by many individual musicians and private parties. One of his thirteen CDs, The Hall of Mirrors, was a winner of the Chamber Music America/WQXR Record Awards for 2001. He taught music theory and composition at UCLA for 28 years until his retirement in 2018 and also taught at Santa Monica College for 15 years. He is the Founder and Artistic Director of the Los Angeles chamber music ensemble Pacific Serenades, and he recently retired as a flutist, after a lifetime of performing primarily chamber music, much of which was written for him.  Born in Ft. Lewis, WA, Carlson grew up in California, attended the University of Redlands, graduated from CSU Fresno, and received MA and PhD degrees in composition from UCLA. His professional website is

Nimbus(2021) (World Premiere) by Austin Ali (b. 1997)
(clarinet & media)

Nimbus! for clarinet and media was commissioned by Michael Dean. This tour features the World Premiere.

Austin Ali said, “Nimbus! is dedicated to the Dean family and their two-year-old golden retriever, Nimbus. The work blends the spirit of Nimbus (a big, loving dog who’s still a bit of an excited puppy) and the inspiration for the name Nimbus (meaning ‘halo’). Nimbus! represents both Nimbus the dog and the companionship dogs offer us humans, a sacred gift of common grace for us all to enjoy. The media track features pre-recorded clips of clarinetist Michael Dean playing four clarinets: Bb, A, Eb, and Bass clarinets. In the piece, the spirit of Nimbus finds itself in the rapid, fluttering gestures in the media accompaniment. The solo part and media accompaniment part mirror each other at times like a companion. Yet, the parts are not exact mirror images of each other. The fragmented melodies in the media swell and burst, continually breathing life and excitement into the piece, feeding its rhythmic pulse. The clarinet solo compliments this driving rhythm often with soaring lyrical melodies, foreshadowing the heartfelt ending of the piece. Eventually, the lyrical solo part tames the frenetic accompaniment. The work ends with an homage to Nimbus’ great-uncle Andy with a whimsical quote from Robert Fruehwald’s ‘Andy and Me.’” 

Austin Ali

Austin Ali is an international award-winning composer, trumpet player, and conductor based in Los Angeles, California. Musicians from California to Texas to Washington, DC, to Spain have performed Austin’s music. Austin currently pursues graduate studies at UCLA in Music Composition under the guidance of Grammy Award winning composer Richard Danielpour. Austin’s composition mentors also include Russell Podgorsek, Donald Grantham, Yevgeniy Sharlat, John Mills, and Christopher Trapani. Austin holds a bachelor degree in music composition from the University of Texas at Austin. In addition to composing, Austin loves to play the trumpet. Recently, he toured Guatemala and Costa Rica with the endlessly funky Big Wy’s Brass Band. The group performed as invited guests in an International Jazz Festival in Guatemala City and at a national parade in Limon, Costa Rica with an audience of 10,000 people. Austin served as the primary composer and arranger for the band’s two records Portal to Funkville and Lord Dope.

Dr. Michael Dean “ClarinetMike”

American Clarinetist Michael Dean “ClarinetMike” performs and teaches internationally and across the USA to consistent praise and acclaim such as, “world-class clarinetist and pedagogue,” “consummate performer,” “inspirational,” “outstanding teacher,” “super,” “brilliant performer,” and “one of the best clinicians I have ever seen.”

Dr. Michael Dean’s career is headlined by appearances at Carnegie Hall, ClarinetFest, NACWPI, Eastman, and Royal Northern College of Music, with recent recitals and master classes in Italy, Spain, Canada, Michigan, Ohio, Alabama, Kansas, Iowa, Louisiana, and Texas. He is planning a solo recital and master class tour of Israel for spring 2023. He is on the faculty of the summer Orfeo Music Festival in Vipiteno, Italy as Clarinet Artist Faculty in Residence.

Michael Dean performed with the Paducah Symphony Orchestra for 11 years and has also performed with the Dallas Chamber Wind Ensemble, Southwest Symphony, Nevada Symphony, Abilene Philharmonic, Abilene Opera, Southeast Chamber Players, Red Mesa Trio, and Duo 35 with saxophonist Todd Oxford. As a clarinet performing and recording artist, he has commissioned, premiered, edited, and recorded new and lesser-known clarinet works. He is featured on 6 commercial CDs, including the upcoming Postcards from Silver Lake CD. He is also prominent on New Media, such as YouTube and Facebook.

He has given more than 600 master classes, clinics and performances at universities, colleges, conservatories, festivals, conferences, and high schools. His ClarinetMike Blog and ClarinetMike QuickTips are widely read on the internet and social media and viewed in more than 150 countries on 6 continents. His articles also appear in professional journals such as Southwestern MusicianWINDPLAYERThe Bandmasters’ Review, and NACWPI Journal. He is a past president and former officer on the National Board of the National Association of College Wind and Percussion Instructors (NACWPI).

A committed teacher and noted pedagogue, Dr. Dean’s students enjoy successful careers as professional performers, educators, and administrators. They consistently win awards and distinctions at competitions and festivals including solo & ensemble, all-region, all-state, and various concerto and other competitions. After a successful 25 years of teaching the clarinet and music at the college level, he relocated to his native Texas due to family concerns. He is currently an active clarinet and woodwind performer, teacher, clinician, and consultant based in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas.

Dr. Michael Dean studied clarinet performance at Texas Tech University, University of Texas at Austin, University of Colorado at Boulder, and University of Texas at Arlington. He is a BG France Performing Artist and his professional website is Mike and his family live in Hurst, Texas.

I want to give Special Thanks for help on this tour to Phil Paglialonga, Kim Luevano, Daryl Coad, Deborah Fabian, Greg Raden, Eric Wright, UTA ISI, John Sun, IBCA, Ran Kampel, Scott Pool, Andrea Vos-Rochefort, Suzanne Tirk, Corey Mackey, Danielle Woolery, NACWPI, Robert Fruehwald, Peter Meechan, Mark Carlson, Austin Ali, Anne-Leslie Dean, and Nimbus.

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

ClarinetMike uses these tips, especially when preparing New Music. ClarinetMike gave 2 World Premieres at the University of Michigan (above) on tour in February 2020 right before the pandemic.

Here are 10 general practice tips for preparing the All-State etudes, solos, or any music.

10 Practice Tips for 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. Go Slow!
  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. This means one eighth note gets one beat, one quarter note gets two counts, dotted quarter note gets three counts, etc.
  3. 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. “If you learn it at mezzo nothing, you’ll perform it at mezzo nothing!”
  4. Learn Ornaments From the Start. Do not put off the ornaments until later! In preparing the etude, YOU MUST learn it the right way slowly from the beginning. 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.
  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 below.] A bad tone always sounds…BAD!
  6. Tonguing. Work on tonguing every day.
  7. Sight-Reading. Do some sight-reading (and work on other music) every day to keep your playing fresh.
  8. 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 valuable tool!
  9. Practice Routine. Work on basics and scales every day as you work on the all-state etudes, solos, etc. Use an organized Practice Routine.
  10. 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.

ClarinetMike says, “Use these tips!”

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Teaching Tip: “It’s All About The Music!”

ClarinetMike in Italy performing a World Premiere at the Chiesa di Santa Margherita (1670) in Vipiteno, Italy at Orfeo Music Festival 2019.

Last week I started my busy fall schedule of clarinet lessons and master classes. I often start off a first master class or lesson by saying,

“It’s all about the music.”

I then tell the students that,

“My job is to help you play music better.”

I then go on to tell them that the main way I help my students play music better is to

“Work on improving basics and knowledge of musical style.”1

I do this because students often don’t connect things like posture, embouchure, articulation exercises, long tones, scales, phrasing, etc. to actually performing music. This is especially true if they’ve only been rote-taught music. I have found that these few simple comments help the student understand the value of basics and musical style and how they connect to the music they want to perform.

ClarinetMike says, “It’s all about the music!”

1. Clarinetist Kelly Burke said something similar in a terrific master class article. (The Clarinet, March 2009, p 40).

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Top 10 Tips for Successful Private Lessons!

Dr. Michael Dean “ClarinetMike”

Schools are starting here in Texas and for many music students that means back to private lessons. The tips below will help a student get the most out of private lessons.

Top 10 Tips for Successful Private Lessons!
by Dr. Michael Dean “ClarinetMike”

  1. Practice. Treat private lessons like an academic class. Carefully and completely do your homework = lots of great daily practice!
  2. Warm Up and Be Early. Warm up thoroughly before the lesson. Show up 5 minutes early to the lesson with instrument “ready to go” and wait patiently outside your teacher’s studio door. Make sure you have a pencil!
  3. No Beeps, Buzzers or Bells. Turn off cell phone and other gizmos during the lesson and while waiting patiently outside the studio door.
  4. Listen! Be eager to listen and learn from the teacher. The point of lessons is to learn how to play the instrument better. Lessons are not meant for you to play the entire time. If the teacher makes no comments, you didn’t get a lesson!
  5. Courtesy! Always treat the teacher with respect and courtesy, even if you don’t feel well or the teacher is cranky – you are taking lessons to get better on the instrument, NOT to hang out with a “buddy.”
  6. Write It Down. After the lesson, write down what was discussed, assignments, etc. Keeping a notebook for lessons is a great idea.
  7. Lock It In. Make a point to practice at least a little soon after the lesson. This will help “lock in” what was taught.
  8. Practice Wisely. Make sure you practice all that the teacher assigns in the way that the teacher has directed you.
  9. Do Extra. Show initiative and do extra work in your lesson preparation. For example, if your teacher assigns you to listen to a recording of a work, listen to 3 recordings.
  10. Practice Log. Keep a practice log of all practicing. Putting it on your wall or near your work desk will remind you to practice.

ClarinetMike says, “Remember that your private lesson teacher may be writing a letter of recommendation for you in the future. So please follow these tips.”

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15 All-State Clarinet Resources: Rose 32, 40, Caprices, and More!

French Clarinet Teacher and Performer Cyrille Rose in 1880

On Monday, July 12, the Texas TMEA All-State audition etudes were revealed. As in years past, Rose Etudes will be used for soprano and low clarinets (and Texas ATSSB soprano clarinets). Other states in the USA also use Rose Etudes for their high school 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 and beyond.

Some of the best places to look for ideas on how to perform an etude, solo, or any work of music are other editions of the same music. Therefore, below is a annotated list of various editions of the Rose 32 Etudes, 40 Studies, and Caprices. I have also included a few versions of the Ferling Studies as they are the basis for most of the Rose 32 Etudes plus versions of the Rode/Rose Caprices. I will use these resources as I prepare to teach lessons and give clarinet clinics on the all-state music.

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. FYI, like many pros, my own clarinet lineage goes back to Cyrille Rose.

15 All-State Clarinet Resources: Rose 32, 40, Caprices, and More!
Dr. Michael Dean “ClarinetMike”
“Building Great Clarinetists”
Clarinet Performing, Teaching and Consulting
Hurst, Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas USA * 682-888-7639 *

  1. Daniel Bonade, editor. Sixteen Phrasing Studies for Clarinet.  Conn-Selmer, Inc., 1952. Bonade was a 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 studies offer phrasing and other help on the slow etudes from the Rose 32 Etudes. Please note that Bonade renumbered the etudes. This edition was available for free for years, but now seems to be safely available only in another book, The Complete Daniel Bonade, compiled and edited by Larry Guy.
  2. Philippe Cuper, editor. 32 Etudes for Clarinet. Paris, France: International Music Diffusion, 2011, with CD.
  3. Franz Wilhelm Ferling. 48 Studies for Oboe, Op. 31. Braunschweig: J.P. Spehr, n.d. (1837) Reprinted New York: E. F. Kalmus, n.d. (1933-1970). Catalog K.04121 (Citation from 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 book is often used for the Saxophone and Oboe/English Horn all-state audition music.  Available at local music stores.
  5. Franz Wilhelm Ferling. 48 Studies by Ferling for All Saxophones, Edited by Marcel Mule. Paris, France: Leduc, 1946. The Mule edition of the Ferling Studies 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!).
  6. Ben Andrew Garcia and Luuk De Vries, editors. 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.
  7. Larry Guy, editor. 32 Etudes for Clarinet. Stony Point, NY: Rivernote Press, 2017. NOTE: there is a NEW edition just now shipping HERE! Plus some additional Bonus Commentary HERE!!
  8. 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. Available at local music stores.
  9. Jean & David Hite, revisors and editors. Cyrille Rose FORTY STUDIES for Clarinet. San Antonio, TX: Southern Music Co., 2000. A reworked edition of the Rose 40 Studies.
  10. 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. UPDATE: Reportedly out of print, try Interlibrary loan plus search WorldCat HERE.
  11. Pierre Rode. 24 Caprices for Solo Violin, Opus 22. Leipzig: CF Peters Music Office, [1819]. The TMEA All-State Rose Caprice #9 is #11, p. 22 of these. This first edition is available for free HERE. Another early edition edited by Jakob Dont from around the time of Rose is also available for free HERE.
  12. Pierre Rode. Twenty Studies for Clarinet, Arranged by Harry BettoneyNew York: Carl Fischer, 1968. This is a different arrangement of the Rode Violin Caprices by clarinetist Harry Bettoney, i.e. not by Cyrille Rose! Bettoney chose 20 of the Rode Caprices and arranged them for clarinet. The TMEA All-State Rose Caprice #9 is #15 of these. FYI, I worked on these years ago as a university clarinet student. My pencil markings are still clear as well as my teacher’s!
  13. Cyrille Rose. 20 Grand Studies Selected from the Caprices by Rode, Edited by Stanley Drucker. New York: International Music Company, 1962. The TMEA All-State Rose Caprice #9 is #11 of these.
  14. Cyrille Rose. 32 Etudes for Clarinet. New York: Carl Fischer, 1913. 40 Studies for Clarinet. New York: Carl Fischer, 1910. These venerable editions are what many of us in the USA used in school. They are notorious for mistakes, so be careful.
  15. Melvin Warner, editor. 32 Rose Etudes for Clarinet. New York: Carl Fischer, 2002/2009, with CD.

ClarinetMike says, “It is absolutely critical that those who judge these intense competitions carefully study the all-state etudes before the competitionsWe owe this to the students. ‘Winging It’ can be as bad as cheating.”

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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