ClarinetMike’s 10 Little Secrets!

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

Below are 10 small items I carry in my clarinet case. ClarinetMike says, “Remember the words of Coach John Wooden, ‘Little Things Make Big Things Happen.’”

ClarinetMike’s 10 Little Secrets!
by Dr. Michael Dean “ClarinetMike”

  1. Darker Lead Pencil. I always try to mark my music with a darker leaded pencil. This really helps me to see my markings. I have found that often “custom” pencils, such as  university logo pencils have a darker lead for some reason.
  2. Earplugs. I always carry a set of simple earplugs in my case. You never know when you’ll go on a gig and you’ll be sitting in an orchestra with a trumpet in your ear! Some of my worst memories involve the slapstick in “Sleigh Ride!” If you are involved in an ongoing gig that is tough on your ears, do some research on getting high-end musician earplugs. Protect Your Ears! UPDATE: I somewhat recently found out about and have been using Earasers earplugs. Check ’em out!
  3. Synthetic Reeds. Many single reed players play exclusively on synthetic reeds and they sound GREAT! Unfortunately, I can’t get them to work as well for me, so I still use cane reeds. However, I carry a couple of synthetic reeds with me for special occasions when regular reeds tend to fail: outside performances, “quick instrument switch” doubling gigs, etc. FYI, I like the Legere European Cut Signature Clarinet Reeds – Click HERE.
  4. Pad Dryer. During a long practice session or gig, especially in a cold room, water can get under your pads. I carried cigarette paper for years in my case to dab the water off the pads. I now carry the BG Pad Dryer. It works great! Check it out HERE. The last thing you need is to try to explain to a junior high school official about how cigarette papers are part of your “standard equipment” in teaching clarinet lessons! FYI, Muncy Winds sells a product called “Zonda Pad Papers.” They are cigarette papers without the word “cigarette.” Click HERE.
  5. ReedGeek. A few years ago I started using this amazing product. The truth is I hate working on reeds and am kinda scared of knives. But I love my little ReedGeek “Universal” Reed Tool – IT WORKS! The ReedGeek has REALLY helped me do simple reed adjustments that have very much improved the performance of the cane reeds I play on. Check it out HERE (watch the videos).
  6. Black Swab. At the rehearsal and gig, it is best if your swab is black. This will keep from drawing unwanted attention to yourself when you swab. This is especially important if you are new on a gig. (FYI, I carry an extra swab or 2 in wild colors for less formal occasions! I’m easily entertained….)
  7. Little Screwdriver. I always keep a little screwdriver in my clarinet case as a small screw will sometimes work itself out a little when playing the clarinet. I had a couple of screws on my beloved 1974 Buffet R13 Bb clarinet that used to work themselves out all the time!  [Now fixed, yes!] You can get a set of small screwdrivers at “Tool World” at a local home improvement store or in a sewing kit set at a Mega Mart.
  8. Small Watch. I don’t wear a watch as I don’t like the constriction on my wrist.  So, I have a little black watch (black like my swab) I carry around. It’s a little digital watch that clearly shows the time and such. I have taken off the wristband part and can position it on my music stand or near my clarinet peg. This allows me to easily keep tabs on the time and, importantly, be less obvious about checking the time during lessons or at a gig. A few years ago here in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, an “old school” conductor fired a couple of musicians in a local orchestra for looking at their cell phones during a rehearsal!
  9. Two Clarinet Pegs. I always carry 2 portable clarinet stands with me at all times. This way I can have one on stage and one backstage at a recital. If I play an orchestra gig, I also bring my heavy steel-based stand. I put the heavy stand on stage beside me and the plastic ones in the dressing or warm up room. There are many portable clarinet stands to choose from. I like the simple plastic stands that are light and fit easily in my case cover.
  10. Plastic Mouthpiece Cap. A metal cap may be more secure, but if it falls off at the rehearsal or gig, it could make a loud and embarrassing racket, “BANG, BANG, BANG, BANG, BANG, BANG……………..BANG!!!!”
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Program Notes for Upper Midwest Tour 2020: ClarinetMike to Give Two World Premieres!

Upper Midwest Tour 2020 poster for the recital and master class at the University of Michigan.

As previously posted, I’ll be giving clarinet recitals and master classes on a solo tour of Michigan and Ohio in a couple weeks. On the tour, I’ll be giving the World Premieres of two super cool new works! Below are the Tour Itinerary, Recital Program, and Program Notes plus other tour information. ClarinetMike says, “If you are in the area, come by and say, ‘Hey ClarinetMike!'”

Upper Midwest Tour 2020
Michael Dean, clarinet

Tour Itinerary
International Baptist Church of Arlington, Arlington, Texas
Tour Preview Concert 7:30 p.m., Friday, February 7

Oakland University, Rochester, Michigan
Recital and Master Class 4 p.m., Wednesday, February 19

University of Toledo, Toledo, Ohio
Recital and Master Class 1:30 p.m., Thursday, February 20

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Recital, Sunday, February 23, 7 p.m. Info
Master Class, Monday, February 24, 4:40 p.m

Recital Program
Summer Sunrise on the Mississippi (2009) by Robert Fruehwald (b. 1957)
(clarinet & media)

Distant Voices (2011) by Robert Fruehwald
(clarinet & media)

Burn: re-mixed (2020) by Peter Meechan (b. 1980)
(clarinet & media) (World Premiere)

Intermission

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

Andy and Me (2006) by Robert Fruehwald
(clarinet & media)

Program Notes

Summer Sunrise on the Mississippi (2009) by Robert Fruehwald, b. 1957
(clarinet and media)

Composer and teacher, Robert Fruehwald, grew up in Louisville, Kentucky where he played flute in the Louisville Youth Orchestra. He attended the University of Louisville receiving a Bachelor of Music in Composition (with honors). While in Louisville, he studied composition with Nelson Keyes, Claude Baker, and Dan Welcher, and flute with Francis Fuge. He earned his Master of Fine Arts degree at the California Institute of the Arts studying with Mel Powell, Morton Subotnick, and Leonard Rosenman. He returned to the Midwest to work on a Ph.D. at Washington University in St. Louis. There, he studied under Robert Wykes and finished his doctorate in 1985. Before accepting a teaching position in the late 1980s, Dr. Fruehwald developed a series of programs to print musical examples for scholarly journals and books. In 1989 he took a teaching position at Southeast Missouri State University. Dr. Fruehwald has taught numerous subjects at Southeast Missouri including applied composition, music theory, applied flute, electronic-computer music, and the history of modernism. He served as chair of the department of music from 1995-2000.

There is an eloquence of silence…
There is a haunting sense of loneliness…
The tranquility is profound, infinitely satisfying.
That is all beautiful, soft and rich and beautiful,
A pink flush, a powder of gold, a purple haze.
from Life on the Mississippi (1883) by Mark Twain

Summer Sunrise on the Mississippi for clarinet and media was commissioned by Michael Dean. He premiered it at Florida State University and other venues on his 2009 tour of Florida. Summer Sunrise is on the CD, Woodwind Music of Robert Fruehwald, Vol. 1.

Robert Fruehwald said, “I teach music composition and theory at Southeast Missouri State University. Every day, when walking home, I would see a glint of blue through the trees on the horizon. For many months, I thought I was seeing the sky. Then, one day, I saw a stern-wheel steamboat squarely in the middle of that patch of blue – what I had been seeing was the Mississippi River. Every day after that, I would watch the river and observe its moods. It’s been my daily companion ever since. Recently, our music department at Southeast Missouri moved from the main university campus to a new one on the banks of the Mississippi. Now I observe the river up close. I see different things every day. I decided to write a piece about the river, a piece that expresses its mood on a warm day, early in the morning, just as my own day would begin. I looked to Mark Twain for some lyrics and found a suitable passage in his Life on the Mississippi (published the year before The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn).  I thought Twain’s words would make a great basis for a song, and I think that someday they will; however, instead of a vocal work they inspired me to write this instrumental solo. When I recorded the river sounds on the media accompaniment, I put the microphone right down on the Mississippi River (at Cape Girardeau, Missouri). I also recorded some other nearby sounds: birds, cicadas, a passing train, etc.”

Distant Voices (clarinet & media) (2011) by Robert Fruehwald

Distant Voices was originally composed for flute, oboe, clarinet, and media. This version for clarinet and media was commissioned by Michael Dean. He premiered it at Arizona State University and other venues on his 2011 tour of Arizona, California and Nevada. He recorded it on the CD, Woodwind Music of Robert Fruehwald, Vol. 2.

Robert Fruehwald said, “Years ago I became fascinated by the idea that sounds from long ago could be preserved. I read an article about Richard Woodbridge III, who was supposed to have extracted sound from 6,500-year-old Mesopotamian pottery. The recording was supposed to be scratchy and indistinct, but it was supposed to contain the sound of a potter’s wheel in addition to vocal sounds. I have never been able to track the recording down, I’m not even sure whether the recording is real or a hoax.

“Still, the idea of the thing is evocative and it gave me the idea for a piece—Distant Voices. Most of the piece is based on recordings made more than a hundred years ago. These include the sound of a choir of thousands singing Handel in London’s Crystal Palace on June 29, 1888, a bit of Brahms, a concert band circa 1900, an advertisement for an Edison phonograph, and the voice of Edison himself. The end of Distant Voices was inspired by the Mesopotamian recording. It contains noise, with faint vocal sounds. The very end of the piece includes the most distant sound of all, the sound of the Huygens space probe flying through the atmosphere of Saturn’s moon, Titan.” [Check out this image from the surface of Titan!]

Burn: re-mixed (clarinet & media) (2020) by Peter Meechan, b. 1980
WORLD PREMIERE

The music of Canadian-based British composer Peter Meechan is performed throughout the world. His music has been commissioned, recorded, broadcast and performed by some of the world’s leading wind orchestras, brass bands, conductors and soloists, including: “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Dallas Winds, Bramwell Tovey, Black Dyke Brass Band, Dunshan Symphonic Wind Orchestra, The Band of the Coldstream Guards, RNCM Wind Orchestra, UT Wind Ensemble, Jerry Junkin, Ryan Anthony, Jens Lindemann, Steven Mead, Les Neish, Linda Merrick, the BBC Concert Orchestra, Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, Rex Richardson, Jacques Mauger, and many more.

Meechan’s music is featured on over 100 commercial recordings and has been featured at festivals and clinics globally, including the Midwest Clinic, the International Trumpet Guild, the International Tuba and Euphonium Association, BASBWE conferences, and in 2014 his work “The Legend of King Arthur” was used as the set test piece at the British National Brass Band Championships, held in the Royal Albert Hall, London. Peter was the first ever “Young Composer in Association” with the prestigious Black Dyke Brass band, where he went on to serve as their “Composer in Residence”, a position he also held between 2012 – 2015 with The Band of the Coldstream Guards. He holds an undergraduate degree from the Royal Northern College of Music, a Master of Arts degree and a PhD (composition), both from the University of Salford. Peter Meechan’s music is principally published by his own publishing house, Meechan Music.

Burn was originally composed for solo clarinet and wind orchestra/band in 2012 for British clarinetist Linda Merrick. Burn was premiered by her in March of 2012 accompanied by the Sheffield University Wind Orchestra (SUWO) conducted by Tony Houghton. This version, Burn: re-mixed, for clarinet and media was commissioned by Michael Dean. This tour features the World Premiere of the work.

Peter Meechan said, “The initial unaccompanied passage that opens the work was written during 2011’s “Arab Spring”, which dominated news reports of the time. The haunting soundtrack to these newscasts (which were a strange cocktail of devastating, uplifting, angry, mournful, rallying and peaceful) was the calls to prayer. There was no attempt whilst writing Burn (a title inspired by region’s climate) to directly imitate these calls to prayer, but certainly they had an impact on the opening passage of the work, and therefore the whole piece.”

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

Austin Ali is an international award-winning composer, trumpet player, and conductor based in Austin, Texas. Musicians from Dallas, Texas, to Washington, DC, to Valencia, Spain have performed Austin’s music, including the Austin Symphony Orchestra, Spanish Brass, and Christopher Bill. Austin currently studies Music Composition and Plan II Honors at the University of Texas at Austin. His composition mentors include Russell Podgorsek, Donald Grantham, Yevgeniy Sharlat, John Mills, and Christopher Trapani. 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.

Transposing A Feeling: For Bailey Sikorski for solo clarinet was commissioned by Michael Dean. This tour features the World Premiere of the work.

Austin Ali said, “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.”

Andy and Me (clarinet & media) (2006) by Robert Fruehwald 

Andy and Me was commissioned by Michael Dean. He premiered the work at Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau, Missouri in December of 2006. Andy and Me is on Michael Dean’s CD, Desertscape: New Music for Clarinet.

Robert Fruehwald said, “Andy and Me is a whimsical look at the relationship between Mike and the newest addition to his family, Andy. The sounds on the media accompaniment represent (and feature) Andy in a kind of conversation with the clarinet music played by Mike.”

Michael Dean Bio
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, Canada, Spain, Michigan, Ohio, Kansas, Iowa, Louisiana, and Texas. He recently returned to 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 Southwestern Musician, WINDPLAYER, The Bandmasters’ Review 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.

Michael Dean’s CD’s, including the new Postcards from Silver Lake, are available
for online download and purchase at iTunes, Apple Music, Amazon, Spotify,
Napster, CDBaby, vcisinc.com, and other vendors.

Special thanks to ISI, IBCA, John Sun, Charlie Kim, Clarity Thoreson,
Eric Wright, Lezlie Langford, George Stoffan, Lesli McCage, Chad Burrow,
Daniel Gilbert, Robert Fruehwald, Peter Meechan, Austin Ali,
Jeffrey Hoover, and Anne-Leslie Dean.

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NACWPI 2020 National Conference in Miami, Florida!

The ocean and beaches are beautiful in Miami, Florida!

NACWPI Rolls On! As a NACWPI past president and former officer on the NACWPI National Board, I’m very proud to pass along the announcement below from the National Association of College Wind and Percussion Instructors [NACWPI].

NACWPI National Conference 2020
October 22-24, 2020
Hilton Miami Downtown
Miami, Florida, USA

Call For Performance and Presentation Proposals
DEADLINE: March 1, 2020, 11:59PM (CST)

The National Association of College Wind and Percussion Instructors’ 2020 National Conference will be held October 22-24, 2020, at the Hilton Miami Downtown in Miami, Florida, in conjunction with the 2020 National Conferences of the College Music Society (CMS) and the Association for Technology in Music Instruction (ATMI).

NACWPI 2020 Information CLICK HERE

Performance Proposal Submission Directions: CLICK HERE.

Presentation Proposal Submission Directions: CLICK HERE.

ClarinetMike says, “Apply to perform and present at NACWPI 2020! Use this hashtag on Twitter and elsewhere: #NACWPI2020.”

NOTE: Image by Chief22880 from Pixabay  and is available at https://pixabay.com/photos/beach-miami-florida-sea-color-2271402/

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7 Sight-Reading Tips

Dr. Michael Dean “ClarinetMike” after a concert.

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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Improve Clarinet Articulation: ClarinetMike’s Basic Tonguing Exercise

Dr. Michael Dean “ClarinetMike”

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 something extra: a new ClarinetMike Illustration [aka “Storytime with ClarinetMike!”].

ClarinetMike’s Basic Tonguing Exercise [aka 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: A few years ago I gave a masterclass at a well-known university in the USA. 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, “Don’t neglect the basics, they are always essential!”

************

*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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ClarinetMike Blog is #1: The 2019 Annual Report

ClarinetMike says, “THANK YOU for reading the blog and Happy New Year!”

ClarinetMike Blog 2019 Annual Report

Hey! Hope you are enjoying some time off during the holidays. Below is a brief summary of 2019 for the ClarinetMike Blog:

  • The ClarinetMike Blog is one of the top clarinet blogs on the Internet.  Google Search lists it as the #1 clarinet blog on a search of “clarinet blog.” Also, the ClarinetMike Blog is listed as the #1 clarinet blog on the website, Top 20 Clarinet Blogs And Websites To Follow in 2020 (updated December 26, 2019).
  • 46 blog posts in 2019
  • Top Post of 2019 is 10 Performance Anxiety Tips from November 18.
  • Average post length is 485 words.
  • 48,000+ views (15,000+, or 31.25%, of all views are outside the USA)
  • Viewed in 120+ countries on 6 continents with top viewership from USA, United Kingdom, Canada, Hong Kong SAR China, Australia, France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Netherlands, Russia, Belgium, Brazil, Ireland, Israel, India, South Africa, Sweden, Mexico, Norway, Bulgaria, Philippines, Singapore, Finland, Portugal, Greece, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea, Poland, Switzerland, Taiwan, Argentina, Denmark, Austria, New Zealand, Ukraine and Turkey. (The blog did not get a view in 2019 from Vatican City as it did a few years ago!)
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Extra Time Management Tip!

ClarinetMike in the studio recording a new CD.

I recently posted 10 Time Management Tips on my ClarinetMike Blog. The third tip is:

  1. Learn how to quickly (and courteously) get rid of unexpected visitors when they drop by your practice room or office to just “chat.”

A few years ago, I posted these tips in a ClarinetMike Blog post on various social media outlets and an astute person on LinkedIn asked how this could be done, i.e. “nicely get rid of people.” Below is my response to him.

________

Years ago, I heard a recording of a time management/motivation speaker and former minister named Coy Quisenberry.  He explained how he quickly and courteously “moved along” overly-chatty visitors to his office when he was a minister at a church.  The following is similar to what he said.

After a few minutes of letting the visitor speak, I would get up from my chair and walk out of my office at the same time continuing the conversation. The visitor would always follow me through the doorway into the hall outside. I would then walk the visitor down the hall toward the elevator (to put him/her on it!). I would gently say, “It’s great to see you and have a chance to catch up on things, but I really need to get back to my office. Please give me a call some time. Thanks!” And then I would head back to my office. Most of the time this worked and the visitor was gone.

If the guest was a woman, I sometimes would head toward the Men’s restroom. This also worked well. On a few occasions, when a guest just wouldn’t stop talking, I would tell them with more firmness, but nicely, that I had work to do and just couldn’t keep speaking to them. They would invariably realize they were being a pest and would apologize. And, importantly, leave without offense being taken.

ClarinetMike says, “Be like old pastor Coy Quisenberry.”

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