ClarinetMike’s 101 Clarinet Tips: #20 ClarinetMike’s Performing Checklist

Texas Tour 2013 - Arlington Museum of Art

Texas Tour 2013 –  Arlington Museum of Art

ClarinetMike’s Performing Checklist

Below is a checklist I’ve developed over a number of years of giving recitals, clinics, master classes, presentations, etc. Every performance, clinic, audition, etc. is different, so focus on the ones below that apply to you.

  • Confident and Organized. Be 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.)
  • Check weather and dress appropriately. Take trench coat, umbrella, etc.
  • Careful clothes selection and grooming. This will help even in a blind audition!
  • Eat good food – especially protein.
  • Take extra set of music.
  • Have a short bio handy for any introductions.
  • Carefully prepare all talking during concert. Fit comments to audience. Keep it simple.
  • Leave and arrive early. Check traffic on Google Maps.
  • Have good directions to venue (map or GPS). 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 week’s before and upon arrival.
  • 2 water bottles and 2 clarinet pegs. One for 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.
  • At sound check, carefully check balance between piano or CD, etc. Recruit a helper.
  • Make sure tech person is at sound check.
  • Be very clear with stage crew/usher on stage set (good stands!), hall opening time, etc.
  • Make sure page turner is set!!! Have a backup plan.
  • Make sure programs/handouts are out. Take extra ones in case someone forgets.
  • No negative comments or looks – stay upbeat, even if feeling bad.
  • Take extra business cards for meet and greet after recital.
  • Follow up soon after concert with emails to hosts and other VIP’s you meet.
  • Reflection. What did I learn today?

ClarinetMike says, “Plan well and perform with confidence!”

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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4 Responses to ClarinetMike’s 101 Clarinet Tips: #20 ClarinetMike’s Performing Checklist

  1. Pingback: ClarinetMike’s All-State Preparation Kit | ClarinetMike Blog

  2. Pingback: ClarinetMike’s 101 Clarinet Tips: #11-20 | ClarinetMike Blog

  3. SherwinJTB says:

    That’s an interesting list. Firstly, getting organized and the rest should fit in place. That’s just me. Whenever I play the clarinet I usually just check if the reed is working. I clean it when I have time and buff it up if I want to make it more presentable. I normally don’t have spare sheet music around, but it’s probably good to have when the stakes are high. Have a music stand if you’re reading music. Have a good sense of humor. =)

  4. Pingback: ClarinetMike’s Performing Checklist | ClarinetMike Blog

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