ClarinetMike Blog 10th Anniversary!

Dr. Michael Dean “ClarinetMike”

ClarinetMike says, “Hey! Heartfelt thanks to each of you who have read the blog and interacted with me these past 10 years.”

HISTORY: Early in 2011, Mrs. ClarinetMike said to me, “Hey, you should start a clarinet blog.” And then on March 16, 2011, I posted the following:

Welcome to ClarinetMike Blog!

“Hello World! My name is Michael Dean (aka ClarinetMike) and this is my new blog.  I will be posting on all things clarinet (and saxophone, too).  To stay updated you may want to subscribe to my blog by email or RSS – see the buttons to the right. Thanks! Mike”

STATS: The ClarinetMike Blog is one of the top clarinet blogs on the Internet.  In 2017, Google Search started listing it as the #1 clarinet blog and it has stayed #1 since.  Also, the ClarinetMike Blog is the #1 clarinet blog on the website, Top 25 Clarinet Blogs, Websites & Influencers in 2021 (updated March 13, 2021). Over 10 years, the ClarinetMike Blog has had 477 posts with 342,800 views in more than 150+ countries on 6 continents. In 2014, the blog even had a view at Vatican City!

PARTY: I’ve been unsure what to do to mark the occasion, so I decided to have an online party on Facebook, click here.  (I’d much rather have a real party in my backyard with Texas BBQ! FYI, Nimbus my golden retriever loves you and wants to play with you! Maybe some day in the future.) Join the Facebook Party event and pop by tomorrow and say hey! I’ll try to put up some favorite pictures and such on there. Maybe I’ll post some cool dog pictures of Nimbus and Andy!

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7 Sight-Reading Tips

ClarinetMike in Italy performing a World Premiere at the Chiesa di Santa Margherita (1670) in Vipiteno, Italy at Orfeo Music Festival 2019.

7 Sight-Reading Tips by Dr. Michael Dean “ClarinetMike”

  1. Sight-Read. “Just Do It!” The best way to learn to read at sight is to do it every day. Make sure to sight-read all different kinds and levels of music. A nice book to start with is Rubank’s Supplementary Studies by R.M. Endresen. It’s been arranged for many instruments. This book is inexpensive and has a million uses – ClarinetMike says, “Get it!”
  2. Rhythm First. I like to say, “Play the Rhythm, Guess at the Notes.” The idea is to “guess” at the rhythms first!
  3. Scan Plan. At an audition, contest, or even a rehearsal, you usually get a little time to look over the music before sight-reading. Have an organized plan, a “Scan Plan,” to quickly check things like tempo, style, key, key changes, accidentals, busy areas (areas of fast notes), etc.
  4. Don’t Stop, Keep Going. Keep forging ahead as you sight-read – don’t worry about mistakes. If you get lost, start back up where you stopped, never repeat anything.
  5. Just Duet! Sight-read duets with a buddy – it’s fun and it’s good for you!
  6. Transpose. Occasionally transpose music while sight-reading (C and A Clarinet on Bb clarinet, Bass Clef on bass clarinet and alto saxophone, etc.)
  7. Play With Recordings. Try sitting in front of a big HD (4K) TV sight-reading along with a video of a major orchestra, wind ensemble, or jazz band playing a work. (NOTE: Some orchestras don’t play at A=440.)

ClarinetMike says, “Check out the quotes below.”

The main things we’re looking for are a tone that blends with
the others players, outstanding musicianship, and thorough
preparation, which spills over into sight-reading – being able
to get a piece of music performance-ready very quickly.
Acclaimed Conductor Jerry Junkin
(from “What Are The Top Qualities You Look For When
Hiring A Wind Musician?” WINDPLAYER #59, p. 12)

If you aren’t prepared enough for a rehearsal or a lesson,
being great at sight-reading can save your neck.
Somewhat-Famous Clarinet Blogger

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5 Ways to Improve Clarinet Tone Fast!

Dr. Michael Dean “ClarinetMike”

ClarinetMike says, “More Air is the granddaddy of all clarinet tone quick fixes. Here’s five more.”

5 Ways to Improve Clarinet Tone Fast!
by Dr. Michael Dean “ClarinetMike”

1. Show Me Your Reed. Inspect the reed of each and every student. Don’t let students play on reeds that are very old (too soft) or badly chipped. However, sometimes a slightly chipped reed will play fine, so don’t throw it away without testing it!

2. Sit Up Tall. Noted clarinetist Julian Bliss said something similar at a clinic I attended at TMEA a few years ago.

3. Don’t Pinch The Sides of the Reed. Be sure to keep the lower lip flat against the reed so as not to crimp the corners of the reed.  Once past the reed, the lips can seal to keep air from leaking out. Remember, clarinet sound is produced by the vibration of the reed. The more the reed vibrates, the more sound is produced.

4. Project Your Sound. Think about it, talk about it, work on it, and DO IT! Check out my article on sound projection here.

5. Voice Eee’s.  Use “Eee” syllables when playing in different registers on the clarinet. Go here to check out the syllables.

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Improve Clarinet Articulation!

ClarinetMike at the University of Michigan teaching a clarinet master class right before pandemic hit.

One of the most important (and tricky) aspects of playing the clarinet is tonguing. Below is an articulation exercise that I’ve found very helpful with my students and in my own playing. Also, below is a ClarinetMike Illustration, i.e. “Storytime with ClarinetMike!”

ClarinetMike’s Basic Tonguing Exercise [BTE  or “Betty”]
by Dr. Michael Dean “ClarinetMike”

Scene: Cyrille, one of ClarinetMike’s excellent students, is just starting a clarinet lesson.


ClarinetMike: “Great to see you Cyrille. Let’s work on your tonguing today.”

Cyrille: “My tonguing needs help! Sounds great ClarinetMike!”

ClarinetMike: “One of best exercises I know for working on tonguing is the Basic Tonguing Exercise – aka BTE or ‘Betty.’ It is designed to improve the basic tongue stroke on the reed – sort of like adjusting the ‘default setting’ on a computer program.”

Cyrille: “Will it teach me to double and triple tongue?”

ClarinetMike: “No, but it does prepare you for advanced articulation studies. Before you work on double and triple tonguing, you need to have a great basic single tongue. In fact, I like to think of teaching tonguing in three steps: 1. Basic [Single Tongue] 2. Advanced Single Tonguing – staccato, legato and other shadings 3. Double and Triple Tonguing.…”

Cyrille [interrupts]: “Tell me about Betty!”

ClarinetMike: “I like your enthusiasm Cyrille! BTE or ‘Betty’ is done by playing a scale or a passage from an etude or solo with four tongued quarter notes on each note of the scale or passage. (For example, on a C major scale it would be C, C, C, C, D, D, D, D, E, E, E, E, etc.) The idea is to experiment with the stroke and position of the tongue (i.e. less tongue, more tongue, etc. ) to discover how it feels when the sound of the articulation is just right. It is important to work on this exercise on notes in all registers – not just the low register!*

Cyrille: “Sounds easy! How often and how much do I need to work on it?”

ClarinetMike: “Work on it every day you practice at least 5 minutes or so along with other articulation studies/exercises. Even when you start working on staccato and double/triple tonguing, you should keep working on this exercise. Tonguing takes time to improve – so be patient and keep working.  Ok Cyrille, let’s try it….”


ClarinetMike Illustration: I once gave a masterclass at a well-known university in the USA [not Michigan above]. I worked with a graduate clarinet student who was preparing for an orchestra audition. I worked with him on Mendelssohn’s Midsummer Night’s Dream Scherzo – an important excerpt that’s loaded with lots of fast tonguing. He played it for me and and his tonguing was lacking (actually kinda bad!). I asked him how much he worked on tonguing each day in his daily practice. I expected him to say, “None,” but he surprised me and said something like 45 minutes a day!! I was stunned and thought “how can you practice that much on tonguing and sound so bad!” I realized that he had been likely only working on complicated double and triple tonguing stuff his famous undergraduate teacher had given him at a swanky East Coast conservatory. So, I had him do the above Basic Tonguing Exercise. He showed some immediate improvement and was happy about it!

ClarinetMike says, “Spend quality time with your new best friend, Betty!”


*When working on Betty, try using the voicings from E-Tip #3: Eee’s from my E-Tips for E-Lips embouchure tips.

NOTE: FYI, Cyrille is a “pointy-headed” clarinet  reference to the great Cyrille Rose of Rose 32 Etudes fame. Rose was known to have had a sluggish tongue.

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12 Leadership and Teaching Tips from John Wooden

Dr. Michael Dean “ClarinetMike”

Recently here at ClarinetMike HQ, we have been discussing the leadership and teaching ideas of legendary basketball coach John Wooden. So, to tip-off my blog in 2021 with a little inspiration, 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.

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 * 682-888-7639 *

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, p. 127-128  – a similar report is found here)

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.” (

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 says, “Carefully study the ideas of Coach John Wooden. Check out the book Be Quick – But Don’t Hurry! by Andrew Hill/John Wooden plus the Wooden video mentioned above.”

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!

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ClarinetMike 2020 Annual Report

Dr. Michael Dean “ClarinetMike”

Here’s the 2020 Annual Report on my ClarinetMike Blog, ClarinetMike QuickTips, YouTube Videos, ClarinetMike QuickClips, Master Classes, Performances, and more.

  • The ClarinetMike Blog remains one of the top clarinet blogs on the Internet.  Google Search continues to report it as the #1 clarinet blog on a search of “clarinet blog.” Also, the ClarinetMike Blog is again listed as the #1 clarinet blog on the website, Top 20 Clarinet Blogs And Websites To Follow in 2020 (updated December 23, 2020).
  • The ClarinetMike Blog featured 30 posts in 2020. There were 22,000+ views from 116+ countries on 6 continents with 34% of views outside the USA. (The blog did not get a view in 2020 from Vatican City as it did a few years ago!)
  • Posted 34 ClarinetMike QuickTips: 67,692 views, 10 ClarinetMike QuickClips: 11,388 views, and 9 ClarinetMike YouTube Videos: 2306 views — a total of 81,386 video views
  • ClarinetMike Blog + ClarinetMike Videos = 103,386 overall views.
  • Taught 85+ online and in person clarinet master classes and clinics in addition to private lessons.
  • Upper Midwest Tour 2020 in February [right before Covid!] featured recitals and master classes at the University of Michigan, University of Toledo, and Oakland University.
  • Gave 4 World Premieres in 2020 and performed at the NACWPI/College Music Society 2020 National Conference (virtual) as a soloist and with Duo 35 (with saxophonist Todd Oxford), appeared on the Ryan Anthony “Song of Hope” World Band Project, and performed as principal clarinetist with the new Dallas Chamber Wind Ensemble.
  • Upcoming Events for 2021 and 2022 include the release of a new CD, Postcards from Silver Lake, return as Clarinet Artist Faculty in Residence at the international Orfeo Music Festival in Vipiteno, Italy, and a recital & master class tour of Israel.

ClarinetMike says, “Happy New Year! Hang In There!!”

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ClarinetMike Performs with Dallas Chamber Wind Ensemble!

I’m Principal Clarinetist with a new group, the Dallas Chamber Wind Ensemble. We recently recorded our inaugural concert that will be broadcast on YouTube here and simulcast on our DCWE Facebook page here this coming Sunday, January 3 at 7 pm cst. Join our official Facebook Group here to get all the latest on the DCWE! ClarinetMike says, “Check It Out!”


Date: Sunday, January 3, 2021 at 7 pm CST [Monday, January 4, 1 am GMT/UTC]
Links: YouTube here and simulcast on DCWE Facebook page here 


Old Wine in New Bottles by Gordon Jacob

“Scherzo alla Marcia” from Symphony No. 8  by Ralph Vaughan Williams

Selections from The Danserye by Tielman Susato/Fred J. Allen


The Dallas Chamber Wind Ensemble is dedicated to performing the best in original literature for winds written by master composers. The Dallas Chamber Wind Ensemble is comprised of professional players and teachers from the Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas area and is committed to upholding the highest artistic standards while entertaining its audience in the virtual and live formats.


Flute: Katelin Adams and Ana Hinojosa
Oboe: Abigail Hawthorne and Rashaad Calaham
Bassoon: Martin Wells and Miranda Macias
Clarinet: Michael Dean and Nicholas Dickinson
Trumpet: Luke Wingfield and Ryan Albert
Horn: Rachelle Huffman, Jordan Doss, Lauren Vandergriff, and Rodolfo Castro
Trombone: Jacob Muzquiz, Tim Wight, and Alex Castro
Conductor: Reagan Brumley


Join our official Dallas Chamber Wind Ensemble Facebook Group here to get all the latest on the DCWE!

Click HERE to see a YouTube video about the upcoming concert featuring Reagan Brumley, conductor of the Dallas Chamber Wind Ensemble!

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7 Time Management Tips

7  Time Management Tips by Dr. Michael Dean “ClarinetMike”

1. Get a Plan, Man! Get some kind of plan and DO IT! I have found that having a plan and following it (even if it’s a so-so plan) results in great success.

2. Goal! Relate your PLAN to a goal or two, not just putting out fires. One or two things actually accomplished is better than ten things not done.

3. Hey, How’s It Going? Handle texts, email, Facebook messages, regular mail, etc. only once. Read/act on it now or later (not both!). However, ALL messages should be answered within 24 hours.

4. Thanks So Much, but I Have To Go… Learn how to quickly (and courteously) get rid of unexpected visitors when they call or drop by your office/practice room to just “chat.”

5. Help! I Need Somebody. Recruit help. You do not have to do every chore yourself. You could give the pesky unexpected visitor a job to do for you!

6. I Can Resist Anything Except Temptation. Television and the internet are your enemies, at least as far as time is concerned. Now, a new enemy is here: the Smartphone. FYI, you don’t have to check Twitter every few minutes to see if your college football team has a new head coach.

7. Just Do It! Be disciplined. The more you are disciplined, the more disciplined you will
become. Work hard to develop better time habits.

BONUS: Mom is Right! Exercise/Eat Right/Sleep 7-8 hours every night. “Every hour of sleep before midnight counts as two” is a good old rule to follow.

ClarinetMike says, “Read through these tips again, put your phone away, and then plan the rest of your day.”

The above is a modified version of information from my article, “Basic Time Management” © by The National Association of College Wind and Percussion Instructors NACWPI Journal, Vol. XLVI, No. 3, spring 1998. Thanks to NACWPI for kind permission.

ClarinetMike Extra: #2 click here, #5 The Beatles, and #6 Oscar Wilde

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The Best Clarinet Fingerings for F# and Eb

ClarinetMike teaching a clarinet master class at the University of Michigan in February 2020.

The Best Clarinet Fingerings for F# and Eb
by Dr. Michael Dean “ClarinetMike”

Below I offer my opinions on two fingerings that I think should be taught and used by beginning (and all) clarinetists.

First space F#/Gb.  Beginners are often taught to play this note in a chromatic scale with thumb and the 2 bottom right side (trill) keys. I strongly suggest that teachers teach the standard fingering of left hand index finger instead. Students should use it all the time, even in the chromatic scale.  In actual music it almost always is the preferred fingering for F#/Gb. Learning to “flip” well between thumb F and index F# is an important technique for all clarinetists.

I was taught to introduce alternate fingerings early and often – and I agree. However, I would make it clear to the students that the basic (or guide) fingering for F# is index finger. FYI, legendary clarinet performer/teacher, Robert Marcellus, said in an interview, “…the two side trill keys are not chromatic ‘F#’ like a lot of people play. The chromatic of “F#” is just the index finger in the left hand.”

[However, if for some reason you simply MUST teach trill key F# in a chromatic scale, I plead with you to make sure your students also know regular index finger F#. I’ve seen far too many clarinet students use trill key F# all the time as their basic fingering – I suspect their beginning clarinet teachers never taught the standard fingering to them. The inadequate preparation of beginning clarinet teachers is an important topic for another day!]

First line Eb/D# (also Bb/A# second space above the staff). Beginners are often taught to play this note with the left hand fork key (also called the “sliver” or “banana” key). Instead, students should be taught to use the normal fingering of thumb and top two fingers of left hand with right bottom side (trill) key.  And, as above, I strongly suggest this fingering be used also in the chromatic scale. Again, this fingering is almost always the preferred fingering in actual music. Further, the left hand fork key is difficult to use if a student’s fingers aren’t slender. FYI, one of my teachers told me a story about a famous clarinetist who disliked the left hand fork key so much he had it taken off the clarinet and its hole plugged up!

I want to restate that I think alternate fingerings should be introduced early and often. The more fingerings a clarinetist knows, the better the clarinetist can solve technical problems in music.

ClarinetMike says, “As legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden said, ‘Little Things Make Big Things Happen.’”

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Program Notes for Duo 35 Concert at NACWPI/CMS National Conference 2020 (online) featuring TWO World Premieres!

NOTE: Time above is in Eastern Daylight Time (1:15 pm Central Daylight Time, etc).

Hey! Duo 35, saxophonist Todd Oxford and I, have been invited to perform at the National Conference Online of NACWPI (National Association of College Wind and Percussion Instructors) on Saturday, October 10, at 1:15 pm central time. NACWPI will hold its conference in conjunction with the 2020 National Conferences of the College Music Society, the Association for Technology in Music Instruction (ATMI), and Pi Kappa Lambda (PKL). Below is the conference program and program notes. We are excited to give TWO World Premieres for clarinet and saxophone:  [confab] by Michael P. Schneider and Garage Sale Llama by Jeffrey Hoover!

NACWPI/CMS National Conference 2020 (online)
Saturday, October 10, 2020
2:15 p.m. EDT (1:15 pm Central Daylight Time, etc.)

Duo 35
Michael Dean, clarinet
Todd Oxford, alto saxophone


[confab] (2020) (clarinet & alto saxophone) by Michael P. Schneider (b.1975)
(World Premiere)

Blue Caprice (1981) (alto saxophone) Victor Morosco (b.1936)

Transposing A Feeling: For Bailey Sikorski (2020) (clarinet) by Austin Ali (b.1997)

Gararge Sale Llama (2020) (clarinet & alto saxophone) by Jeffrey Hoover (b.1959)
(World Premiere)


[confab] (2020) (clarinet & alto saxophone) by Michael P. Schneider (b.1975)
(World Premiere)

Critics have hailed Michael Schneider as “a pianist with exceptional insight” and a “performer with great panache” in performances across the USA and abroad. Michael has performed in legendary venues such as the château of George Sand in Nohant, France, Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall, and the Library of Congress. He has been a featured guest artist at the International Chopin Festival in France, the Music Festival of the Hamptons, directed by Lukas Foss, ‘Pianotune’ Festival in Brussels, the Hungarian Festival in Cancun, Mexico, the American Liszt Society Annual Conference, the Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles, CA, and for seven summers was an audience favorite at Pianofest in the Hamptons. Dr. Schneider holds degrees from the University of North Texas, Cleveland Institute of Music and University of Texas at Austin. He has taught on the faculties of Youngstown State University, University of Texas at Austin, Concordia University-Austin, and University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. His teachers include Anton Nel, Paul Schenly, and Pamela Mia Paul. His professional website is

Michael Schneider says: “[confab] is a new work written specifically for Duo 35. I subtitled [confab]: ‘in a time of pandemic’ to Dr. Michael Dean (aka ClarinetMike) upon delivery of the new work, and while the current crisis seems to have played a role in shaping the outcome of the piece, it was not the genesis of [confab]. What should have originally been a jocular sounding piece for two exceptional musicians with sterling personalities instead ended up a victim of circumstance and societal misfortune. While ideas bounced freely around the composer’s head, a single plebeian motive began to surface: asking a question again and yet again, the motive then turning around on itself looking for the answer, only to answer with its original ill-informed motive.

“The narrative is quite simple after that. Conversations about dire things with unknown outcomes often produce fruitless talk and build to a fear-based frenzy. A striking moment of this work occurs after the first of these frenzies: the arrival of a mutually commiserating lament, the musicians acting in unison. This feeds in on itself and builds again, only to finally return to the opening material with one main difference: this time the conversation is layered on top of each other. The tedious message remains the same, but with each musician speaking over the other – unmoved, unchanged, and none the wiser by their conversational journey.”

[confab] was commissioned by Duo 35 and premiered by them at the NACWPI/College Music Society National Conference 2020 (online) in October of 2020.

Blue Caprice (1981) (alto saxophone) Victor Morosco (b.1936)

Victor Morosco is a unique concert saxophonist who has achieved an international reputation as a performer of classical and improvised music, an educator, clinician, and composer. Mr. Morosco has been a member of the faculty of The City University of New York Graduate Center, Brooklyn and Lehman Colleges and at California State University, Los Angeles. Currently residing in Ocala, Florida and Strada in Casentino, Italy, Mr. Morosco continues to work as a composer, soloist, and clinician. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Julliard School of Music where he studied with Vincent Abato, Daniel Bonade, and Joseph Allard.

Blue Caprice is a set of variations on the harmonic structure and form of the blues. The original title of the piece was “Caprice en Forme de Blues.”

Transposing A Feeling: For Bailey Sikorski (2020) (clarinet) by Austin Ali (b. 1997)

Austin Ali is an international award-winning composer, trumpet player, and conductor based in Dallas, Texas. Musicians from Austin, Texas, to Washington, DC, to Valencia, Spain have performed Austin’s music, including the Austin Symphony Orchestra, Spanish Brass, and Christopher Bill. In addition to composing, Austin loves to play the trumpet. Recently, he toured Guatemala and Costa Rica with the endlessly funky Big Wy’s Brass Band. The group performed as invited guests in an International Jazz Festival in Guatemala City and at a national parade in Limon, Costa Rica with an audience of 10,000 people. Austin served as the primary composer and arranger for the band’s two records Portal to Funkville and Lord Dope. Austin graduated in May with a bachelor’s degree in Music Composition and Plan II Honors from the University of Texas at Austin. This fall, Austin will pursue graduate work in music composition on full scholarship at UCLA in Los Angeles, California under the mentorship of noted composers Richard Danielpour and Ian Krouse.

Austin Ali says, “Transposing a Feeling is dedicated in memory of Bailey Sikorski, who lost his life to a rare form of leukemia at age 21 in 2017. Bailey was one of the first friends I made during my freshman year at the University of Texas at Austin. As my resident assistant, he kept us freshmen out of trouble. Fresh out of high school band, I was delighted to meet Bailey, a junior at the time and a fellow band kid. I quickly learned Bailey was an exceptionally talented clarinetist. He was extremely passionate about band and music, leading his high school as drum major. I also discovered Bailey’s passion for science and aspirations within UT Aerospace Engineering. Eventually, Bailey went on to design hardware and software at Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company to be used in NASA’s Orion Crew Capsule to take humans to Mars. Bailey easily became a role model for me at UT. He showed me what a truly talented and motivated young person could accomplish.

“In a school interview, Bailey said, ‘…one dream I had for a really long time was to play in the New York Philharmonic or the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. I think music is really just another dimension of the human mind. It is truly a unique form of emotional self-expression, a way of transposing a feeling in a way that isn’t possible with words.’

“Bailey’s words and memory still resonate with me today, inspiring me to compose Transposing A Feeling: For Bailey Sikorski. If you listen to the piece, you’ll hear sweeping upward gestures on the clarinet as if they were reaching toward the sky. Bailey never stopped reaching for the stars. I hope with the help of this piece, he will be one step closer to reaching them.”

Transposing A Feeling: For Bailey Sikorski for solo clarinet was commissioned by Michael Dean and premiered by him at the University of Michigan on his Upper Midwest Tour 2020 in February of 2020.

Gararge Sale Llama (2020) (clarinet & alto saxophone) by Jeffrey Hoover (b.1959) (World Premiere)

Jeffrey Hoover’s work – ranging from compositions for soloist to symphony orchestra – has been recognized through national and international awards, grants, fellowships, and commissions. Also a visual artist, he is known for creating unique interdisciplinary works where he combines his paintings with his compositions. Recognized for distinguished achievement as a composer, he is a member of the ACME roster of Mu Phi Epsilon. He is an active free-lance composer, musician, and teacher in Sacramento, California. His professional web page is

Jeffrey Hoover writes of his work: “Back in December, I attended a Christmas party and noticed that the neighbor of my host had something unusual in his backyard. The host briefly mentioned to me how his neighbor made the acquisition. The following narrative is how I imagine this occurred:

‘On a sunny Saturday morning I was out for a stroll with my wife when I noticed a garage sale down the street from my suburban Sacramento home. As we approached the garage sale, the sound of Christmas songs filled the air and we noticed a number of people looking through the books, furniture, and other usual items. We also noticed a live llama tied up beside the house with a sign nearby that read, Luis The Llama is For Sale. Jeff, I’m still not sure exactly what happened next, but one thing led to another and now we have a live llama in our backyard!’ ”

Garage Sale Llama was commissioned by Duo 35 and premiered by them at the NACWPI/College Music Society National Conference 2020 (online) in October of 2020.


Duo 35 is a dynamic chamber ensemble featuring Michael Dean on clarinet and Todd Oxford on saxophone. The Texas-based duo engages and entertains audiences with a fresh and versatile repertoire of mostly new music. Mike and Todd recently performed in Canada and at the Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA) Clinic/Convention in San Antonio, Texas.

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, Michigan, Ohio, Alabama, Kansas, Iowa, Louisiana, and Texas. In April 2021, he will tour Israel giving clarinet recitals and master classes. The following July, he will again return to Vipiteno, Italy as Clarinet Artist Faculty in Residence at Orfeo Music Festival 2021. He is featured on 5 commercial CD’s with a new CD due in 2020. For 11 years he was clarinetist with the Paducah Symphony and has given more than 500 clinics, master classes and performances at high schools, universities, conferences and other venues. As “ClarinetMike,” he writes for his widely-viewed ClarinetMike Blog, read in 150 countries on 6 continents. After a successful 25 years of university clarinet teaching, he relocated to his native Texas due to family concerns. He is an active clarinet performer, teacher, and clinician based in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas. He’s a BG France Performing Artist. His professional website is

Todd Oxford has appeared as a concert artist, recording artist and on radio and television in Europe, Asia, Mexico, Canada, and across the USA. Recent engagements include Carnegie Hall, Merkin Hall, CAMI Hall in New York, and Texas Rangers Ballpark performing for 30,000 fans. International appearances include Europe, Mexico, Canada, People’s Republic of China, Thailand, and Indonesia. He has appeared on the artist rosters of Columbia Artists Management, Texas Commission on the Arts, and Arts Mid-West. His professional awards include two consecutive New York Debut Awards, six Global Music Awards, Grammy Award nomination, and a recent feature in Billboard Magazine. He appears on eighteen commercially available recordings on the Equilibrium, Mark, Navona, Kairoi, and JLG record labels with worldwide distribution via iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, and major online retailers. He is an Artist Endorser for Eastman Saxophones and Associate Professor of Saxophone at Texas State University. His professional website is

NOTE: The cropped picture above of a domestic llama and other important attribution information about it are found here. This is not the original Garage Sale Llama. But the Llama’s name might be Luis!

ClarinetMike says, “Llamas are leading the fight against COVID-19, click here!”

NOTE: Time above is in Eastern Daylight Time.

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