Band Contest (UIL) Quick Tips


It is band contest season (UIL for those of you in Texas).  Here are 3 tips that can be helpful in getting all that hard work transferred from the band hall to the concert stage:

1. BE CONFIDENT.  You can’t control the results, so don’t focus on them. Set the example for your band by focusing on what you do control –  namely your preparation  and effort. (Check out my article on this and more John Wooden ideas here.)

2. PROJECT THE SOUND. If you haven’t been already pounding this, START! Sound projection can (and should) be an integral part of all music preparation. See my article on sound projection at

3. PUSH DYNAMICS. At those final rehearsals: Dynamics, Dynamics, and more Dynamics!! You can even overdo it a little on this. Legendary clarinetist Daniel Bonade pointed out that there is a tendency to play “coldly” in actual performance.  Overdoing it a little with dynamics and phrasing in rehearsals will help it turn out about right in the actual concert.

Remember, judges are like everybody else, they want to hear MUSIC, not just right notes. Confidently projecting beautiful dynamics will certainly make the music better.

NOTE: Photo above is Isaac Stern Auditorium at Carnegie Hall. The photo is in public domain and can be found 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 Canada, Italy, Spain, Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, Louisiana, and Texas. In July, he will again return to Vipiteno, Italy as Clarinet Artist Faculty in Residence at the international Orfeo Music Festival 2019. 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. Dr. Dean has given more than 500 clinics, master classes and performances at high schools, universities, conferences and other venues. For 11 years he was a clarinetist with the Paducah Symphony and he's also performed with the Southwest Symphony, Nevada Symphony, Abilene Philharmonic, Southeast Chamber Players, Red Mesa Trio, and Duo 35. His articles appear in journals such as Southwestern Musician, WINDPLAYER, NACWPI Journal and The Bandmasters' Review. As "ClarinetMike," he writes for his widely-viewed ClarinetMike Blog, the Internet’s #1 clarinet blog read in 150 countries on 6 continents: After a successful 25 years of teaching clarinet at the university level, he relocated to his native Texas 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, and Bob Ackerman. 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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