ClarinetMike’s Texas All-State Clarinet Clinic: Preparation Guide

Clarinet Mike says, "Slow, Careful, Practice!"

Clarinet Mike says, “Genuine Excellence = Talent × Practice Time × Practice Quality!”

[NOTE: Below is a slightly revised version of a previous blog post. This guide is from my Texas All-State Clarinet Clinic Lecture Notes. Look for more All-State help from ClarinetMike in coming weeks!]

ClarinetMike’s Texas All-State Clarinet Clinic: Preparation Guide

Dr. Michael Dean
“Building Great Clarinetists”
Clarinet Performing, Teaching and Consulting
BG France Performing Artist * 682-888-7639 *

Preliminary Concerns

  1. Get quality equipment. My soprano clarinet set up: Buffet R13 clarinet, M13 Lyre or D’Addario Reserve XO mouthpiece, Vandoren V12 3.5 or D’Addario Reserve Classic 3.5 reeds, BG Revelation or Super Revelation ligature, metronome/tuner, silk swab, BG Pad Dryer, etc.
  2. Find a good private teacher who teaches good basics and musical style. Stay away from Rote-Only Teachers. [Also, don’t just copy a recording. Learn to count!]

Core Concepts

  1. It’s Always about the MUSIC. So, work on ARTC Basics & ARTSY Musical Style (Phrasing, esp. Romantic style)
  2. Loading & Unloading (See Frank R. Wilson) Slow Careful Practice = Speedy, Confident Performance. The Tortoise and the Hare – Be a Turtle!
  3. Focus on what you control: Preparation & Effort. Success, John Wooden, etc.
  4. Genuine Excellence = Talent × Practice Time × Practice Quality.
  5. Power of Habit. Work on Basics (ARTC) & Scales, along with the All-State Music in a Practice Routine.

General Preparation Tips

  1. Practice on and perform with good reeds.
  2. Use a metronome and tuner.
  3. Record yourself – check out phone apps!
  4. Sound Projection & Dynamics.
  5. Plan and mark breathing carefully
  6. Understand music terms, notation, ornaments, etc.
  7. Create a cheat sheet. Write each etude’s scales and arpeggios in the upper corner.
  8. Clap and sing the music.
  9. Check out additional Practice Tips.

Etude Preparation Tips (Template)

  1. Overview on composer and musical style.
  2. Key(s) and Tempo(s).
  3. Scale and Arpeggio Cheat Sheet
  4. Technical Issues (articulation, rhythms, fingerings, etc.).
  5. Problem Passages.
  6. Sections, Phrases, and Musical Issues.
  7. Breath Marks.
  8. Other.
  9. Suggested Listening

Further Study

  1. See Internet links above.
  2. Listen to style on
  3. Check out documents, videos, etc. on and
  4. See TMEA Performance Guides.

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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2 Responses to ClarinetMike’s Texas All-State Clarinet Clinic: Preparation Guide

  1. Pingback: ClarinetMike’s Texas All-State Clarinet Clinic: How To Practice | ClarinetMike Blog

  2. Pingback: ClarinetMike’s Texas All-State Clarinet Clinic: Preparation Guide | ClarinetMike Blog

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