International Woodwind Duo Symposium on April 13-14, 2018 at Sam Houston State University!

The Awea Duo (Jennifer Brimson Cooper and Mas Sugihara)

HEY WOODWIND DUOS! Below is information on a new conference for woodwind duos, the International Woodwind Duo Symposium at Sam Houston State University in
Huntsville, Texas on April 13-14, 2018! Application Deadline to perform and present is January 15, 2018.  CLICK HERE for information.

ClarinetMike says, “APPLY! Todd Oxford and I (Duo 35) have already applied to perform, YOU should too!”


International Woodwind Duo Symposium
Sam Houston State University
Huntsville, Texas
April 13-14, 2018
IWDS Website

​The Awea Duo is excited to host the inaugural International Woodwind Duo Symposium at Sam Houston State University. This conference will provide performance, networking, and educational opportunities to professional woodwind duos, composers, and students while offering unique concert experiences to the local residents.  Recitals, lectures, masterclasses, panel discussions, and duo competition will be scheduled for Friday afternoon-evening and Saturday morning-afternoon.



King-Lyman Duo

​Oboist Nancy Ambrose King and Bassoonist Jeffrey Lyman have performed together as the King-Lyman Duo since 2005. Both professors at the University of Michigan, they have recorded, commissioned, and premiered numerous works together. They commissioned John Steinmetz’s Songs and Dances’for Oboe and Bassoon, as well as the world premiere of Chun-Wai Wong’s A Breath of Life. They were featured in one of the first performances of Dirk-Michael Kirsch’s Concertino for Oboe, Bassoon and Orchestra in Tokyo at the Conference of the International Double Reed Society. Their YouTube channel, Katz-King-Lyman, features duos and trios by Poulenc, Grandval, Planel, Jolivet, and Villa Lobos. They also appear in duos by Steinmetz and Paganini on YouTube. They are featured in Jeffrey Lyman’s CD El Basson Mexico. In addition to being professors at the University of Michigan, Drs. King and Lyman are widely respected soloists as well as chamber musicians, who bring their interest in expanding and promoting the repertoire for oboe and bassoon to the King-Lyman Duo.​


Citizens of Nowhere

Faculty colleagues at Georgia State University, saxophonist Jan Berry Baker and clarinetist Kenneth Long formed Citizens of Nowhere in 2011. They have commissioned numerous works for saxophone and clarinet, including Mischief (Goldstein), Citizens of Nowhere (Demos), and Ragahoro Breakdown (Wanamaker) and have given performances across the US and Mexico of the works recorded on their debut CD, Citizens of Nowhere (Albany). Jan Berry Baker, an advocate of new music, is Co-Artistic Director and saxophonist with Atlanta new music ensemble Bent Frequency. She regularly performs with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Grant Park Orchestra in Chicago, Chicago Philharmonic, and Atlanta Opera and can be heard on recordings with the Grant Park Orchestra, Atlanta Opera, and on her most recent CD, Diamorpha (Centaur) with the Bent Frequency Duo Project. She is an endorsed Selmer Paris and Vandoren performing artist. Kenneth Long is associate professor of clarinet at Georgia State University and principal clarinetist of the Atlanta-based contemporary ensemble Bent Frequency and the Atlanta Chamber Winds. Dr. Long has performed 13 seasons with the Utah Festival Opera and performs frequently with the Atlanta Symphony and Ballet Orchestras. He can be heard on the Albany, Aucourant, and Summit labels.

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15 Performance Anxiety Tips from ClarinetMike

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

Auditions! Music Juries! Finals! One of the most frequent questions I get in lessons, master classes, clinics, etc. is how to deal with the normal stress of performing. Therefore, I’ve decided to repost some common sense tips on dealing with performance anxiety.

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.
  1. There is a Tomorrow. Very few times in our lives do our careers hinge on a single performance. Also, not too many people die while performing!
  1. Be Confident/Be Positive. The key is to act or “be” confident whether you feel confident or not.
  1. Have a Routine. Most success is planned, so having a performing ritual will help.
  1. 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!
  1. 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.
  1. Avoid Alcohol, Drugs, etc. Be wary of chemicals that alter you. My band director would always tell us that, “Performing and alcohol do not mix.”
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. Relax in your Body/Concentrate in your Mind. Usually we do the opposite.
  1. Get in the Hall Before the Performance. The day before would be best, but playing a little on the stage even an hour or two before “Showtime” helps.
  1. 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?)
  1. 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.

ClarinetMike says, “LOAD the music carefully with lots of SLOW PRACTICE and then UNLOAD fearlessly – GO FOR IT!” [Tip #15]

[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]

This article originally appeared in and is © InterFACE (Journal of the Utah Music Educators Association) Fall 1998 (Volume 44, No. 1). (NOTE: This journal is now called The Utah Music Educators Journal.)

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ClarinetMike’s All-State Preparation Kit: 10 Powerful Resources to Upgrade Your Performance!

ClarinetMike says, “Click on the links below and GET TO THE PRACTICE ROOM!!!”

Marching Band Season is over here in Texas (mostly). Kids in Texas and across the USA are turning their attention 100% to all-region/all-state preparation (along with catching up on homework and sleep!). Therefore, I have assembled some previously-published ClarinetMike Blog posts that offer help on preparing and performing audition music. ClarinetMike says, “Click on the links below and GET TO THE PRACTICE ROOM!!!”

General Helps

Practice Routine

Rhy-No Practice Technique

“Feed The Rhy-No!”

The Fast Way

Help on Tonguing

Time Management Tips

Tips on Texas TMEA All-State Music

Texas TMEA All-State Etude Preparation Tips

Simple Ways to Upgrade A Performance FAST!

Sound Projection

Ligature and Reed Placement

Perform Music!

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Upcoming Audition? ClarinetMike says, “PERFORM MUSIC!”

ClarinetMike says, “PERFORM MUSIC!”

Do You Have An Upcoming Audition? Competition? Music Jury?  ClarinetMike Says, “PERFORM MUSIC!”

In the preparation for and giving of auditions and such I suggest changing our thinking from “I want to beat people and WIN!” to “I will ‘Go For It’ trying to give a beautiful PERFORMANCE OF MUSIC.” Because MUSIC (i.e. ART) is what we are actually trying to do.  Here’s a few inspirational quotes:

“We are musical if we are beautifully expressive and passionate – the antithesis of mechanical, meaningless, accuracy-only producers of organized sound. Accuracy unto itself is boring and lifeless. Through beauty, expressivity, and passion, accuracy transcends into art.” Donald Neuen (Southwestern Musician, Nov 2017, p 13)

“The heart of performing is the attempt to say something beautiful.” Michael Dean “ClarinetMike”

I want to quickly add that making all-region band, winning a competition, passing a music jury, etc. are very worthy goals. And, of course, the music business IS competitive. However, it is vital that we not let our competitiveness overwhelm our artistry and joy.

So, let us constantly remind ourselves and teach our students that it is ALL ABOUT MUSIC!

A Practical Tip: With myself and my students, I push the idea of referring to the all-region audition as “A Performance of Music” and not “An Audition.”

As previously mentioned on this blog, I’ve been heavily influenced by the ideas of the great John Wooden – see HERE and HERE.

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ClarinetMike in Italy 2018!

ClarinetMike says, “Come Study Clarinet in the Italian Alps at the Orfeo Music Festival in July 2018!”

HEY! NEWS!! I’ve accepted an appointment to again return as Clarinet Artist Faculty in Residence at the international Orfeo Music Festival in the beautiful Italian Alps in Vipiteno, Italy (Sterzing) next summer, July 5-19, 2018.

Consider joining me in the beautiful Italian Alps next summer! Official application information coming soon! Please contact me for more information or if you have questions – email or click HERE.

Below I’m performing at this past summer’s Orfeo Music Festival 2017 in Vipiteno, Italy. I’m performing Astor Piazzolla’s Oblivion with my fabulous colleague, Faina Lushtak, at the Chiesa di Santa Margherita in Vipiteno, Italy – an early Tyrolian Baroque church built in the 1670’s with an old bell tower first mentioned in 1337.

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The ABC Exercise! This EASY Clarinet Tone Improvement Trick Will Blow Your Mind!

ClarinetMike on tour in sunny San Diego, California.

The idea below of having students recite the alphabet, “ABC’s,” to help embouchure and voicing comes from my research into the amazing pedagogy of master single reed teacher, Joe Allard (see NOTE below). I’ve experimented with The ABC Exercise (or ABC) on and off for a number of years. I’ve lately been using it a lot with my students and in my own practicing with much success.

The ABC Exercise

What? The ABC Exercise is simply saying the alphabet aloud a few times in a normal voice. This very simple exercise always helps my embouchure and voicing.

When? I use ABC early in my daily Practice Routine as part of working on my embouchure and voicing. I often do ABC after going through the steps of the 5-C Clarinet Embouchure  and near my work on voicings from E-Tips for E-Lips.

Why does ABC help? To be honest, I’m not 100% sure. I think what is going on is that saying the alphabet gets me “in touch with things” with respect to my mouth, lips, tongue, teeth, face, etc. in embouchure/voicing.  For example, what do babies do when they learn to speak? They try to copy what they hear by experimenting with their voice using mouth, lips, tongue, teeth, face, etc. They start with “Dada” and end up smoothly using words to talk easy-touch Dad into buying them things….

ClarinetMike says, “Try it!”

NOTE: Saying the Alphabet is mentioned in The Joe Allard Project website which features part of Debra McKim’s important dissertation on Joe Allard (see HERE). The ABC Exercise above features my own ideas and thoughts on a technique that Joe Allard taught. As was true on my previously published 5-C Clarinet Embouchure and E-Tips for E-Lips embouchure tips, I happily acknowledge a heavy debt to the great Joe Allard.

(The above is a slightly revised version of a previous post.)

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Duo 35 Tour 2017! ClarinetMike and Saxophonist Todd Oxford To Give Concerts and Master Classes in Alabama and Texas!

Duo 35 Tour 2017 Coming to Alabama and Texas!

Saxophonist Todd Oxford and I are hitting the road tomorrow for our Duo 35 Tour 2017! We will be giving recitals and master classes in Alabama and Texas, including a recital and presentation at the NACWPI National Conference 2017 at the University of Montevallo – CLICK HERE.  Below are the Duo 35 Tour 2017 Itinerary and Concert Program. For the Complete Duo 35 Tour 2017 Program and Program Notes CLICK HERE.

ClarinetMike says, “If you are in the neighborhood, come say ‘HEY CLARINETMIKE!'”

Duo 35 Tour 2017
Michael Dean, clarinet
Todd Oxford, saxophone


NACWPI 2017 National Conference
University of Montevallo, Alabama
Recital 10:30 a.m.
Saturday, October 7

Houston Baptist University
Houston, Texas
Recital 11 a.m. Music Forum
Monday, October 9
Clarinet Master Class 2 p.m.
Monday, October 9

Houston Area High Schools
Houston, Texas
Clinics and Master Classes
Tuesday, October 10 

Sam Houston State University
Huntsville, Texas
Recital 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, October 11
Clarinet Master Class 2 p.m.
Thursday, October 12


Postcards from Silver Lake (2010) by Mark Carlson (b. 1952)
(clarinet, alto saxophone & piano)
Full Moon over Mt. Baldy
Late at Night

Tango Magnetism (1998) by Dan Gutwein (b. 1951)
(alto saxophone & cd)

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


Talking Pictures (1984) by Amy Quate (b. 1953)
(clarinet & soprano saxophone)
Water Dance

The Easy Winners (1901) by Scott Joplin (1868-1917) Arr. by Terry Kenny
(clarinet & soprano saxophone)

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