My Teaching Philosophy

As a professor, it seems like a good idea for me to mention something about my educational philosophy. Below are some of my key principles in teaching the clarinet, saxophone, and other subjects.  [It is important to remember that almost all musicians will be doing at least some teaching during their careers.]

1.  Focus on Building People. The molding of a student’s professionalism is a primary concern.
2.  Require Excellence. Students are challenged to strive for genuine excellence.
3.  Emphasize Fundamentals. Important basics of good musicianship (relaxation, tone, rhythm, etc.) are constantly stressed.
4.  Highlight Artistry as of Paramount Importance. Technique is emphasized as a means to musical expression, not as an end in itself.
5.  Stay Student-Centered. Student understanding and development are foremost concerns.
6. Personalize Instruction. Work to fit pedagogical concepts to the specifics needs of each student. Also, make every effort to understand how to best motivate each student.
7. Stress Pedagogy. Concepts of effective teaching are emphasized – especially the pedagogy of private lessons.
8.  Make Students Think.  Logical and creative thinking are emphasized and encouraged.  Absolute conformity, or “clone-making,” is viewed as an inadequate and undesirable musical goal.
9.  Be Reality-Based. Practical concerns are the focus, not esoterica.  Teaching should have a view toward the future.
10. Model Desired Behaviors. Strive to be a good example of the qualities that produce genuine success.

The above can be found at  A more complete article is at

About ClarinetMike

American clarinetist MICHAEL DEAN performs and teaches internationally and across the USA to consistent praise 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." His career is headlined by appearances at Carnegie Hall, ClarinetFest, NACWPI, Eastman School of Music, and Royal Northern College of Music with recent recitals and master classes in Italy, Spain, Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, Louisiana, and Texas. In July, he will return to Vipiteno, Italy as Clarinet Artist Faculty in Residence at Orfeo Music Festival 2018. He is featured on 5 commercial CD's and on New Media, such as YouTube. He is currently preparing another new clarinet CD, Postcards from Silver Lake. He's performed with the Southwest Symphony, Nevada Symphony, Abilene Philharmonic, Southeast Chamber Players, Red Mesa Trio, and Duo 35. He performed for 11 years with the Paducah Symphony. His articles appear in journals such as Southwestern Musician, WINDPLAYER, NACWPI Journal and The Bandmasters' Review. As "ClarinetMike," he writes for his widely-read ClarinetMike Blog, in 150 countries on 6 continents. He was recently 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. He is a past president and former National Board officer of the National Association of College Wind and Percussion Instructors (NACWPI). Dr. Michael Dean studied clarinet performance at Texas Tech University, University of Colorado at Boulder, University of Texas at Austin and University of Texas at Arlington. His teachers include Robert Walzel, Phil Aaholm, Carol Jessup, Jess Youngblood, Bob Ackerman, and Pam Youngblood. His web page,, features video of his teaching and performing as well as information on his CD's and other publications. He is a BG France Performing Artist.
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One Response to My Teaching Philosophy

  1. David Irwin says:

    That is a most humane and professionally sound statement of your teaching philosophy. Bravo!

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