ClarinetMike In Italy 2019! Orfeo Music Festival 2019 Application Information and MORE!

ClarinetMike says, “Ciao! Come Study Clarinet in the Italian Alps at the Orfeo Music Festival in July 2019!”

NEWS! I’ve accepted an appointment to again return as Clarinet Artist Faculty in Residence at the international Orfeo Music Festival in the beautiful Italian Alps in Vipiteno, Italy (Sterzing) this coming summer, July 5-19, 2019.

Check It Out! Orfeo Music Festival 2019 Website: Festival concerts are held at historical venues such as Vipiteno’s Medieval and Renaissance churches as well as at a beautiful modern theater. The study program takes place in one of the best music schools in the region located in a beautiful 13th-century historical building. Festival participants stay at local hotels within walking distance of all venues. Click here.

Who? YOU! Who should apply to go to Orfeo 2019? University, college, conservatory and graduate students, advanced high school students, talented amateurs, and teachers looking for professional development should apply. Please contact me if you have questions or want help with applying: email me at or click here.

Friends! A variety of students attend the Orfeo Music Festival. The majority are university and high school students, but there are also younger students as well as talented adult amateurs and others. Most Festival participants are from the USA, but there is a definite international flavor with faculty and students from Russia, Austria, China, Germany, England, Australia, Korea, and other countries.

Apply!  Click here. Regular application deadline is March 1, 2019. However, registration is accepted until about April 15, 2019 with higher fees.  Application Fee is discounted by $50 if paid by February 15, 2019.  I am happy to help you with applying, just contact me: or click here.

Scholarships! The Orfeo Music Festival has a limited number of merit scholarships available. Click here for more information.

Fee Table! How much does Orfeo 2019 cost? Click here.

Facebook!  Check out and join my official ClarinetMike In Italy 2019 Facebook Page. I’ll be posting updates, pictures, video, application information, and all kinds of cool stuff about Orfeo 2019! Click here.

Perform! Below I’m performing at last summer’s Orfeo Music Festival 2018 in Vipiteno, Italy. I’m giving the World Premiere of Raymond Head’s Small Voice of Calm with my fabulous Orfeo colleague, Dena Kay Jones, at Vigil Raber Saal in downtown Vipiteno, Italy.

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12 Simple Steps to Sensational Private Lessons! Follow These and Your Performing Will Skyrocket!

ClarinetMike says, “Notice below that great private lessons begin and end with great practicing.”

Hey! Below are some common-sense tips that will help students get the most out of private lessons.

12 Simple Steps to Sensational Private Lessons! by Dr. Michael Dean “ClarinetMike”

  1. Practice. Treat private lessons like an important class. Carefully and completely do your homework = LOTS OF GREAT DAILY PRACTICE!
  2. Warm Up. Warm up thoroughly before the lesson.
  3. Be Early. Show up 5 minutes early to the lesson with instrument “ready to go” and wait patiently outside your teacher’s studio door.
  4. No Beeps, Buzzers or Bells. Turn off cell phone and other gizmos during the lesson and while waiting patiently outside the studio door.
  5. “I’m late, I’m late….” Don’t be late to a lesson, but if you are running late [like the White Rabbit in Alice], send a text to your teacher immediately.
  6. LISTEN! Be eager to listen and learn from the teacher. The point of lessons is to learn how to play the instrument better. Lessons are not meant for you to play the entire time. If the teacher makes no comments, you didn’t get a lesson!
  7. COURTESY! Always treat the teacher with respect and courtesy, even if you don’t feel well or the teacher is cranky – you are taking lessons to get better on the instrument, NOT to hang out with a “buddy.”
  8. Write It Down. After the lesson, write down what was discussed, assignments, etc. Keeping a notebook for lessons is a great idea.
  9. Lock It In. Make a point to practice at least a little after the lesson. This will help “lock in” what was taught.
  10. Practice Wisely. Make sure you practice all that the teacher assigns in the way that the teacher has directed you.
  11. Do Extra. Show initiative and do extra work in your lesson preparation. For example, if your teacher assigns you to listen to a recording of a work, listen to 3 recordings.
  12. Practice Log. Keep a practice log of all practicing. Putting it on your wall or near your work desk will remind you to practice.

BONUS: Steps Ahead. Remember that your private lesson teacher may be writing a letter of recommendation for you in the future. So please follow these guidelines.

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BROKEN New Year’s Resolutions? Think HABITS Instead!

Andy, our beloved family dog, was a creature of habit, just like people!

As of today, a few [some…many…most…all!] of you who made New Year’s Resolutions have broken at least one [some…many…most…all!]. Don’t give up! Below is some help for you – and ME! Let us think about and work on our HABITS, such as the important habit of great practice!

BROKEN New Year’s Resolutions? Think HABITS Instead!
by Dr. Michael Dean “ClarinetMike”

BASEBALL! (Pitchers and Catchers Report in 41 Days!) When I was a kid, I played little league baseball. While fielding a position, my coaches taught me to keep my right thumb between my first two fingers when the pitcher started to make his pitch. This way, if a ball was hit to me, my fingers would go to the ball in my glove with perfect hand position for throwing a baseball (see pictures below).

I’ve noticed lately that when I’m walking around that my right thumb is often between my first two fingers! I haven’t played baseball in little league for decades, but the finger position habit I developed as a kid is still with me! [I just stopped typing, looked down, and there was my right thumb between my first two fingers!]

The above is a small, but significant, illustration of the power of habit to shape our lives.  In view of this, I believe it is vital that we constantly work to ingrain great habits (physical and mental) in our own clarinet playing and that of our students. This is true not only for the rhythms, notes and dynamics of a specific work one is working on, but with fundamentals such as embouchure, tonguing, voicing, relaxation, posture, confidence, etc.

ClarinetMike says, “Constantly Load GREAT HABITS!”

PS. Here’s an example of how this often works out in the clarinet (and saxophone, etc.) world. In coming weeks, many high school seniors here in the USA will be taking auditions for entrance and scholarships at colleges, universities and conservatories. Some of them will play “high, loud, and fast” with blinding technical speed but will be passed over (i.e. not accepted or given scholarships) because they have poor fundamentals such as bad tone, articulation, rhythm, etc. (This is true for some All-Staters, too! I know some horror stories….)

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5 Simple Rules for Making New Year’s Resolutions

ClarinetMike says, “Happy New Year!”

Hey! Most years I make New Year’s Resolutions and I’m sure you do, too! Below are some common-sense guidelines I came up with a couple years ago to help you (and ME!) make and keep at least some of them!

5 Simple Rules for Making New Year’s Resolutions
by Dr. Michael Dean “ClarinetMike”

  1. Definite. Try to do something specific by a certain date, like “Lose 15 pounds by June 1,” instead of “Get in Shape SOON!”
  2. Challenging, but Attainable. As the great John Wooden indicated (See HERE at about 30:45), goals should be difficult, but doable.
  3. Clear and Concise. Keep it simple.
  4. Just a Few. Getting a couple things accomplished this year is better than 20 things planned, but never done.
  5. Write it down. Put your resolutions some place that you can see them. Posting them near your work desk would be excellent.
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2018 Annual Report: ClarinetMike Blog is the #1 Clarinet Blog!

ClarinetMike says, “Happy New Year! THANKS for reading the blog!”

ClarinetMike Blog 2018 Annual Report

Hey! Hope you are enjoying some time off during the holidays. Below is a brief summary of 2018 for the ClarinetMike Blog:

  • The ClarinetMike Blog is one of the top clarinet blogs on the Internet.  Google Search lists it as the #1 search hit on “clarinet blog.” Also, back in May, Top 20 Clarinet Blogs And Websites To Follow in 2019 listed the ClarinetMike Blog as #1.

  • 46 posts

  • 65,000+ views (15,000+ outside the USA)

  • Viewed in 132 countries on 6 continents with top viewership from USA, United Kingdom, Hong Kong SAR China, Canada, Australia, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Netherlands, South Africa, Brazil, Belgium, India, Russia, Israel, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Switzerland, Mexico, Malta, Japan, Ireland, Greece, and Singapore. (The blog did not get a view in 2018 from Vatican City as it did a few years ago!)

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ClarinetMike Practice Secret: Temperature/Humidity Gauge

Dr. Michael Dean “ClarinetMike” Practicing at his A+ Home Studio.

Here’s a little practice tip (secret) I’ve found very helpful.

ClarinetMike Practice Secret: Temperature/Humidity Gauge
by Dr. Michael Dean “ClarinetMike”

ClarinetMike says, “Go online or to a ‘Mega’ Mart and get a small, inexpensive, and portable temperature gauge that shows room temperature and humidity.”

I look at my gauge every time I practice as it is very helpful to know my practice room’s temperature and humidity. In addition to gaining insights on things like reed response or condensation inside my clarinet, I can also tell if any cold or hot I feel is the room or me (I might be sick). In addition to using it in the practice room, it is also very useful “on the road” –  teaching studio, rehearsal room, concert hall, hotel room on tour, etc.

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Duo 35 TMEA Tour 2019: ClarinetMike and Saxophonist Todd Oxford To Perform at Texas Music Educators Association Clinic/Convention in February 2019!

Duo 35 TMEA Tour 2019

Hey San Antonio River Walk! Get the Chips and Salsa Ready, Duo 35 is Coming! Saxophonist Todd Oxford and I have been invited to perform at the HUGE Texas Music Educators Association Clinic/Convention 2019 in beautiful downtown San Antonio, Texas on Friday, February 15!  Leading up to our big TMEA concert, Todd and I will be doing a supporting tour in Texas.  Below are the Duo 35 TMEA Tour 2019 Itinerary and Concert Program. I will post complete program notes in the near future. ClarinetMike says, “Make plans to hear us at TMEA. Please come by and say, ‘Hey Duo 35!’”

Duo 35 TMEA Tour 2019
Michael Dean, clarinet

Todd Oxford, alto saxophone


Coppell High School
Coppell, Texas
Recital, 12:45 p.m.
Friday, February 8

Tarleton State University
Stephenville, Texas
Recital, Noon
Master Class, 2 p.m.
Monday, February 11

Texas Music Educators Clinic/Convention (TMEA)
Convention Center North Lobby
San Antonio, Texas
Concert, 2 p.m.
Friday, February 15


The Easy Winners (1901) by Scott Joplin (1868-1917) Arr. by Terry Kenny
(clarinet and alto saxophone)

Sweet and Go (2014) by Armando Ghidoni (b.1959)
(alto saxophone)

Plaisir d’amour (2017) by Robert Fruehwald (b.1957)
(clarinet and alto saxophone)

When Armenian Butterflies Dream (2015) by Jeffrey Hoover (b.1959)

Maple Leaf Rag (1899) by Scott Joplin (1868-1917) Arr. by Terry Kenny
(clarinet and alto saxophone)

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