Job Interview [and Teaching!] Help from Coach John Wooden

Dr. Michael Dean “ClarinetMike”

I know many of you are looking for a new (or better!) job. So, below I offer some tips from an article I wrote in the NACWPI Journal a few years ago based on my study of the works of Coach John Wooden. His brilliant pedagogy and maxims could prove helpful in your preparation for job interview questions, such as “What is your philosophy of education” or “What are the characteristics of an exemplary teacher,” etc. At the very least, the tips below will help you be a better teacher! Best wishes on your job search!

Preparation and Effort: Tips on Applying John Wooden’s Concepts
Dr. Michael Dean “ClarinetMike”
“Building Great Clarinetists”
Clarinet Performing, Teaching and Consulting
Hurst, Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas USA
clarinetmiketexas@yahoo.com * 682-888-7639
clarinetmike.com * clarinetmike.wordpress.com

1. Focus on Preparation and Effort. Spend your time working on what is under your control: your preparation and effort.

2. Work Hard and Plan Carefully. The first block of the Pyramid of Success says, “There is no substitute for work. Worthwhile results come from hard work and careful planning.” Wooden says, “I fully understood that the success of my leadership was directly linked to using time wisely.” (Wooden on Leadership, p. 162)

3. Teach Good Habits. Steve Jamison says that the key to Wooden’s winning championships is that he was great at teaching good habits. (Wooden on Leadership, p. xi-xii) A band director I know in Long Beach, CA, Chris Stevens, says, “Practice does not make perfect, practice makes habit.”

4. Focus Teaching Comments on How to Do Things Better. A study in the 1970’s of Wooden’s utterances during coaching found that only 6% were praises and 6% were reproofs. The study reported that 75% of his utterances were instructional in nature. (Originally found at http://ronaldgallimore.com/resources/GallimoreTharp2004.pdf, p. 127-128)

5. Focus on Fundamentals. Constantly work on basics. “There is no replacement for sound fundamentals and strict discipline.” (They Call Me Coach, p. 168)

6. Little Things Make Big Things Happen. Identify relevant details and accomplish them at a very high standard of performance. (Wooden on Leadership, p. 135)

7. Keep it Simple.

8. Model Expected Behaviors. Make every effort to match practice to precept. Wooden says, “Being a role model is the most powerful form of educating. Youngsters need good role models more than they need critics.” (Quotable Wooden, p. 98)

9. Be Quick, But Don’t Hurry. Wooden says, “If you hurry, you’re more likely to make mistakes; but if you’re not quick, you won’t get things done.” (http://id3430.securedata.net/teamarete/10tipstomanagement.html)

10. Develop Mental Toughness. John Wooden was very disciplined. Beneath his grandfatherly exterior was the heart of a lion. Wooden and his players’ mental toughness made them great.

11. Balance is Everything. Life is complicated and it’s easy to get out of balance. Keep things in proper perspective. (Be Quick – But Don’t Hurry!, p. 92)

12. Be Patient and Persistent. Coach Wooden developed his ideas and concepts over a long period of time – he spent fourteen years carefully crafting his Pyramid of Success. Wooden says, “Good things take time and that’s the way it should be.” (Wooden Video, Values, Victory and Peace of Mind)

ClarinetMike, “If you have a minute to prepare, check out Be Quick – But Don’t Hurry! by Andrew Hill/John Wooden plus the Wooden video mentioned above. And remember, on a job interview you must dress up and look good!”

Original Article © by The National Association of College Wind and Percussion Instructors, NACWPI Journal, Vol. LVII, No. 4, Summer 2009

Thanks to NACWPI for kind permission and for being super cool!

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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2 Responses to Job Interview [and Teaching!] Help from Coach John Wooden

  1. meghatangri says:

    Great article, Mike! This can be applied to any teacher / mentoring role! Thanks for writing.

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