ClarinetMike’s All-State Preparation Tips: The Rhy-No Practice Technique



"I love Rhy-No Practice!"

“I love Rhy-No Practice!”

[Below is a slightly revised version of a previous blog post.] 

The Rhy-No Practice Technique

Student Phyllis: “Dr. ClarinetMike! The All-State Music is hard! I don’t know how to work on it!”

ClarinetMike: “Don’t panic Phyllis. Just spend quality time with the Practice Rhy-No.”

One of the most important things that a music teacher needs to do is teach students how practice and prepare music. A year and a half ago I came up with a simple system: The Rhy-No Practice Technique. Since then, I have found this system to be very useful and effective in my students (and my own!) music preparation. (FYI, here’s some of my other practice ideas and a video.)

The system is simple – just break a short passage into two parts: rhythm 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 rhythm 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). Also, try to include dynamics as much as possible.

NOTE: The above image is from




About ClarinetMike

American Clarinetist Michael Dean “ClarinetMike” 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.” Dr. Dean’s career is headlined by appearances at Carnegie Hall, ClarinetFest, NACWPI, Royal Northern College of Music, and Eastman School of Music, with recent recitals and master classes in Italy, Spain, Canada, Michigan, Ohio, Kansas, Iowa, Louisiana, and Texas. He recently returned for a fourth summer to the beautiful Italian Alps of Vipiteno, Italy as Clarinet Artist Faculty in Residence at the international Orfeo Music Festival. He is featured on 6 commercial CD’s including his soon-to-be-released new CD, Postcards from Silver Lake. He is also prominent on New Media, such as YouTube. He was clarinetist with the Paducah Symphony Orchestra for 11 years and he’s also performed with the Southwest Symphony, Nevada Symphony, Abilene Philharmonic, Southeast Chamber Players, Red Mesa Trio, and Duo 35. He has given more than 500 master classes, clinics and performances at universities, conservatories, conferences, festivals, high schools, junior high schools, and a diverse array of venues. As “ClarinetMike,” he writes for his noted and widely-read ClarinetMike Blog – viewed in 150 countries on 6 continents, His blog is the #1 clarinet blog on the Internet according to Google Search and a recent ranking on Feedspot. His articles also appear in professional journals such as the Southwestern Musician, The Bandmasters’ Review, WINDPLAYER, and NACWPI Journal. He is a past president and former officer on the National Board of the National Association of College Wind and Percussion Instructors (NACWPI). After a successful 20 years of teaching clarinet at the university level, he relocated to his native Texas due to family concerns. He is currently an active clarinet and woodwind performer, teacher, clinician, blogger, and consultant based in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas. Dr. Michael Dean studied clarinet performance at Texas Tech University, University of Texas at Austin, University of Colorado at Boulder, and University of Texas at Arlington. His teachers include Robert Walzel, Phil Aaholm, Carol Jessup, Bob Ackerman, and Jess Youngblood. He is a BG France Performing Artist and his professional website is Mike and his family live in Hurst, Texas. His family’s new Golden Retriever, Nimbus, is a relative of Andy.
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9 Responses to ClarinetMike’s All-State Preparation Tips: The Rhy-No Practice Technique

  1. Dr. Prof. Edward Charles. says:

    Good advice, thank you Doctor Mike.

    Interesting to note that of your family, only the dog has a name.
    Perhaps, like my family, it’s a waste of time naming others, as the dog is the only one that comes when called!!!

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