7 Tricks For Clarinet Teachers

ClarinetMike backstage right before performing in Italy at the Orfeo Music Festival.

Are you a new clarinet teacher looking for help? Are you a seasoned clarinet teacher looking for upgrades? Have you taught the clarinet since the Hoover Presidency and want to continue to improve? Well, ClarinetMike is lookin’ out for ya! Below are some tips that will help new (and OLD!) teachers produce excellent clarinet students. Be sure to carefully study the information at the LINKS below.

7 Tricks For Clarinet Teachers by Dr. Michael Dean “ClarinetMike”

  1. Embouchure is Everything.  Your understanding of and the ability to teach good embouchure is the most critical part of producing good clarinet students. LINKS: 5-C Clarinet Embouchure and 5 E-Tips For E-Lips
  2. Relaxation and Posture. “If you ain’t relaxed, you ain’t nothin’.” [Bad English, Good Pedagogy!] LINKS: Head PositionDon’t Lean OverDon’t Look Down, and Unkink Your Hose.
  3. Tonguing, Tonguing, Tonguing! Spend quality time with your new best friend, “Betty.” LINK: Basic Tonguing Exercise a.k.a. “Betty”
  4. COUNT! Teach your students how to count and learn music for themselves. Rote-only private lesson teachers are bad private lesson teachers.  Also, discourage students from just copying a recording or YouTube video on region or solo music. These and similar “short cuts” are shortsighted and end up hurting the students we are charged to help.  LINKS: Rhy-No Practice,  Feed The Rhy-No, and The Fast Way.
  5. Reed and Ligature Placement.  Coach John Wooden said, “Little Things Make Big Things Happen.” LINK: Reed and Ligature Placement
  6. PROJECT! Teach Clarinet Sound Projection. It’s easy to teach and do. LINK: Sound Projection
  7. Maximize Your Maxims. Repeatedly use short, memorable comments that concisely and quickly communicate your concepts and ideas. LINK: Maxims

ClarinetMike Says, “Clarinet Embouchure is possibly the weakest link in current clarinet pedagogy. Spend as much time as possible figuring out how to teach good embouchure – check out 5-C Clarinet Embouchure and 5 E-Tips For E-Lips.”

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, clarinetmike.wordpress.com. 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 clarinetmike.com. Mike and his family live in Hurst, Texas. His family’s new Golden Retriever, Nimbus, is a relative of Andy.
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1 Response to 7 Tricks For Clarinet Teachers

  1. Tom says:

    Teach them music.
    Solo and ensemble, especially, is an opportunity for this.
    Teach them how to get the most out of their practice time.

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