ClarinetMike’s “Rhy-No Practice Technique”

“I love Rhy-No Practice!”

ClarinetMike’s “Rhy-No Practice Technique”
by Dr. Michael Dean “ClarinetMike”

Kirk: “Hey ClarinetMike! The UIL Contest Music is hard! I don’t know how to work on it!”

ClarinetMike: “Kirk, don’t panic [or go to red alert]. Just spend quality time with the Practice Rhy-No.”

One of the most important things that a music teacher needs to do is to teach students how to practice and prepare music. A few years ago I came up with a simple system: The Rhy-No Practice Technique. Originally designed for very young students, I have found this technique to be very helpful with all my students’ (and my own!) music preparation.

The system is simple – just break a short passage into two parts: rhythm and notes. Work on each part 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 (or sing) the rhythm of the passage. Go as slowly as needed to accurately learn the counting. A metronome should be used wisely, of course.

3. Play the notes of the passage without rhythm very slowly and deliberately.(If students don’t understand this, just have them play all the notes as slow steady half notes.) Concentrate on finger movement, tone quality, note connections, etc.  Repeat several times making sure that all notes speak well and there are no breaks in sound – esp. “Over The Break.”

4. Sing, then Play the passage with rhythm and notes combined as written.

Don’t skip over the singing in Step 4 above. Singing really seems to help my students.  Make sure students at least get the rhythm correct when singing – singing on pitch is NOT important here. When doing this in lessons, some students are often shy to sing. So, I sing with them loudly. This generally encourages them to sing, at least a little!

I strongly encourage you to freely combine the Rhy-No Practice Technique with other practice methods. Also, make sure to include dynamics as much as possible.

ClarinetMike says, “Rhy-No Practice begins with Rhythm. And, if you only work on Notes, all you have is ‘NO.'”

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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5 Responses to ClarinetMike’s “Rhy-No Practice Technique”

  1. Pingback: “Feed The Rhy-No!” [Very Important Update on ClarinetMike’s Rhy-No Practice Technique] | ClarinetMike Blog

  2. Pingback: 7 Ways to Improve Your Clarinet Playing This Summer! | ClarinetMike Blog

  3. Pingback: 10 Practice Tips for All-State, Solos, and Everything! | ClarinetMike Blog

  4. Pingback: 7 Tricks For Clarinet Teachers | ClarinetMike Blog

  5. Pingback: Practice Tip: “I Will Clap The Music Every Day!” | ClarinetMike Blog

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