SLAY THE AUDITION! Check Out ClarinetMike’s Performing Checklist!

Dr. Michael Dean “ClarinetMike”

Happy Thanksgiving! I know many of you have all-region auditions, competitions, concerts, hearings, recitals, music juries, etc. in the coming weeks, so I’ve reposted my Performing Checklist below. This is a follow-up to my recent 15 Performing Anxiety Tips – CLICK HERE.

ClarinetMike says, “Just like the Thanksgiving Meal, Preparation is Everything!”

ClarinetMike’s Performing Checklist by Dr. Michael Dean “ClarinetMike”

Below is a preparation checklist based on many years of giving performances and presentations and teaching students to do the same. Every audition, jury, performance, clinic, etc. is different, so focus on the preparation tips below that apply to your situation.

  • Be Organized and Confident: 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.) the night before.
  • Check weather and dress appropriately. Take umbrella, rain poncho, trench coat, etc.
  • Wear layers of comfortable clothing for audition, especially in a long audition.
  • Dress up and have good grooming. This will help even in a blind audition!
  • Eat good food – especially protein.
  • Take extra set of music.
  • Have a short bio ready for introductions.
  • Carefully plan all speaking during concert. Fit comments to audience. Keep it simple.
  • Leave and arrive early. Check traffic on Google Maps.
  • Have good directions to venue (GPS or map). 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 weeks before and upon arrival.
  • 2 water bottles & 2 clarinet pegs. One 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 up, hall opening time, etc.
  • Make sure there is no profanity or embarrassing writing on back of music stand!
  • Don’t let an audition monitor rush you. Respectfully insist on what’s right.
  • Make sure page turner is set!! Have a backup plan.
  • Make sure programs/handouts are put out. Take extra ones in case someone forgets.
  • MAKE MUSIC! Always “Go For It!” when performing – just unload what you’ve loaded.
  • No negative comments or looks – stay upbeat, even if feeling sick or upset.
  • Take extra business cards for meet and greet after recital.
  • Don’t forget to pick up music after concert, especially CD’s and pianist’s music.
  • Follow up soon after concert with emails or texts to hosts and other VIP’s you meet.
  • Reflection. What did I learn today? Write yourself a little note on Evernote, etc.

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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4 Responses to SLAY THE AUDITION! Check Out ClarinetMike’s Performing Checklist!

  1. Tom frasca says:

    Mike , thx so much for all your helpful hints. I wish I was using all of them. I hope your students appreciate all your hard work. I know I do. Happy thanksgiving.

  2. Glinda says:

    Great list! Thanks for sharing! Did you mention lighting? Is that something you can weigh in on?

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