ClarinetMike’s 101 Clarinet Tips: #5 Rhy-No Practice

“I love Rhy-No Practice!”

#5 Rhy-No Practice Technique.

“That’s enough rehearsal for today. Take the music home and work on it,”  says the frustrated music teacher to the students.

Unfortunately, teachers often fail to teach students how to actually practice and prepare music. I recently came up with a simple system for preparing music. (FYI, here’s some of my other practice ideas and a video.)

The system is simple, just break a passage into two parts: rhythms and notes. Work on each separately and slowly, and then put them together. Hence, Rhythm-Notes or Rhy-No Practice!

Here’s how Rhy-No Practice works:

1. Pick out a hard passage – a measure or two.

2. Clap, sing, yodel (only yodel alone!) etc. the rhythm of the passage. Go as slow as needed to accurately learn the counting. A metronome is essential, of course. Gradually increase the tempo until the rhythm is correctly ingrained at desired speed.

3. Play the notes of the passage out of time very slowly and deliberately. (If students don’t understand this, just have them play all notes as slow half notes.) Concentrate on finger movement, tone quality, note connections, etc.  Repeat several times making sure that all notes speak well and there no breaks in sound – esp. “Over The Break.”

4. Play the passage with rhythms and notes combined.

It seems to help my students to sing the music as best they can after Step 3 above, i.e. before playing it in Step 4.  When demonstrating this in lessons, students are often shy to sing. So, I sing with them loudly. This generally encourages them to sing, at least a little!

Also, freely combine the Rhy-No technique with other practice methods (see hyperlinks above).

ClarinetMike says, “Teach your students how to practice. Rhy-No!”

NOTE: The above image is from

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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5 Responses to ClarinetMike’s 101 Clarinet Tips: #5 Rhy-No Practice

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  3. Pingback: Texas All-State Clarinet Audition Music Preparation Help | ClarinetMike Blog

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  5. Pingback: ClarinetMike’s All-State Preparation Tips: The Rhy-No Practice Technique | ClarinetMike Blog

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