ClarinetMike’s 7 Clarinet Tricks For New Clarinet Teachers!

Dr. Michael Dean “ClarinetMike” Teaching A Private Lesson

Are you a new clarinet teacher? Well, ClarinetMike is lookin’ out for ya! Below are some tips that well help you produce excellent clarinet students. Be sure to study the information at the suggested links.

ClarinetMike’s 7 Clarinet Tricks For New Clarinet Teachers

  1. Embouchure is Everything.  Your understanding of and ability to teach good embouchure is the most critical part of producing good clarinet students. LINKS: 5-C Clarinet Embouchure,  5 E-Tips For E-Lips
  2. Relaxation and Posture. “If you ain’t relaxed, you ain’t nothin’.” LINKS: Unkink Your HoseHead PositionDon’t Lean OverDon’t Look Down
  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 clarinet teachers are bad clarinet teachers.  Also, discourage students from just copying a recording or YouTube video on region or solo music. These and other such “short cuts” are boorish pedagogically and musically. LINKS:  Rhy-No Practice,  Feed The Rhy-NoThe Fast Way
  5. Ligature and Reed Placement. Coach Wooden said, “Little Things Make Big Things Happen.” LINK: Ligature and Reed 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
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ClarinetMike’s All-State Preparation Outline!

ClarinetMike says, “Prepare Carefully, Perform Carefree!”

Below is an outline I use in preparing my annual ClarinetMike Texas All-State Clarinet Clinic. Be sure to check out my recent post, 10 All-State Practice Tips! Look for more All-State help from ClarinetMike in coming weeks!

ClarinetMike’s All-State Preparation Outline
Dr. Michael Dean “ClarinetMike”
Clarinet Performing, Teaching and Consulting
Hurst, Texas * 682-888-7639
clarinetmiketexas@yahoo.com * clarinetmike.com

Preliminary Concerns

  1. Get quality equipment. My soprano clarinet set up: Buffet R13 clarinet, Vandoren M13 Lyre or D’Addario Reserve XO mouthpiece, Vandoren V12 3.5 or D’Addario Reserve Classic 3.5 reeds, BG Super Revelation or Revelation ligature, metronome/tuner, silk swab, BG Pad Dryer, etc.
  2. Find a good private teacher who teaches solid basics and musical style. Stay away from Rote-Only Teachers and Bad YouTube Videos. [Don’t copy a recording. Learn to count!]

Core Concepts

  1. It’s Always about the MUSIC. So, work on ARTC Basics & ARTSY Musical Style (Phrasing, especially Romantic Style)
  2. Loading & Unloading (See Frank R. Wilson) Slow Careful Practice = Speedy, Confident Performing. The Tortoise and the Hare – Be a Turtle!
  3. Focus on what you control: Preparation & Effort. Success, John Wooden, etc.
  4. Genuine Excellence = Talent × Practice Time × Practice Quality.
  5. Power of Habit. Work on Basics (ARTC) & Scales, along with the All-State Music in a Practice Routine.

General Preparation Tips

  1. Practice and perform only on good reeds.
  2. Use a metronome and tuner.
  3. Record yourself – check out phone apps!
  4. BOLD Dynamics.
  5. Sound Projection
  6. Plan and mark breathing carefully.
  7. Understand music terms, notation, ornaments, etc.
  8. Create a cheat sheet. Write each etude’s scales and arpeggios at top of music.
  9. Clap and sing the music.
  10. Check out additional Practice Tips.

Etude Preparation Tips (Template)

  1. Overview
  2. Composer and Musical Style
  3. Tempo and Key
  4. Sections and Phrases
  5. Special Issues (repeated figure, etc.)
  6. Musical Issues
  7. Technical Issues (articulation, rhythms, fingerings, etc.)
  8. Problem Passages
  9. Scale and Arpeggio Cheat Sheet
  10. Breath Marks
  11. Other
  12. Suggested Listening

Further Study

  1. See Internet links above.
  2. Listen to style on youtube.com.
  3. Check out documents, videos, etc. on www.clarinetmike.com and www.clarinetmike.wordpress.com.
  4. See TMEA Performance Guides.

[NOTE: The above is a slightly revised version of a previous blog post.]

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Skype Clarinet Lessons with ClarinetMike!

Dr. Michael Dean “ClarinetMike”

Skype. I am currently accepting new students in my studio for live lessons over Skype. In addition to clarinet students, I am also currently accepting a limited number of saxophone students. Let me help you strive for genuine excellence as you prepare for all-region auditions, solo contests, university scholarship auditions, concerto competitions, orchestra auditions, jury and recital hearings, concerts, job interviews and more! Band Directors: I’m also available for professional development. Contact me HERE.

Dr. Michael Dean “ClarinetMike” is a former university clarinet and saxophone professor with more than 30 years of successful private lesson teaching experience at all levels, from university graduate students to 4th grade beginners. His students consistently win awards and distinctions at competitions and festivals including solo & ensemble, all-region, all-state, and various concerto and other competitions. His students perform professionally in military bands, orchestras, big bands, traveling broadway shows and more. His students are consistently accepted into prestigious university music schools and hold faculty appointments as successful music educators and administrators. Additional biographical information is available below and HERE. A brochure is available HERE.

Equipment. Skype lesson students need a computer with a good internet connection, webcam with microphone, and free Skype app. (I can help you figure it out – it’s easy!)

Information. For information on Skype Lessons with ClarinetMike, just send me an email or give me a call – CLICK HERE.

Dr. Michael Dean “ClarinetMike” Bio. American clarinetist MICHAEL DEAN 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.” His career is headlined by appearances at Carnegie Hall, ClarinetFest, NACWPI, Eastman School of Music, and Royal Northern College of Music with recent recitals and master classes in Italy, Spain, Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, Louisiana, and Texas. In July, he returned to Vipiteno, Italy as Clarinet Artist Faculty in Residence at Orfeo Music Festival 2017. He is featured on 5 commercial CD’s and on New Media, such as YouTube. He is currently preparing another new CD, Postcards from Silver Lake.

He’s performed with the Southwest Symphony, Nevada Symphony, Abilene Philharmonic, Southeast Chamber Players, Red Mesa Trio, and Duo 35. He performed for 11 years with the Paducah Symphony. His articles appear in journals such as Southwestern Musician, WINDPLAYER, NACWPI Journal and The Bandmasters’​ Review. As “ClarinetMike,”​ he writes for his widely-read ClarinetMike Blog, clarinetmike.wordpress.com-viewed in 150 countries on 6 continents. He is a past president and former National Board officer of the National Association of College Wind and Percussion Instructors (NACWPI).

He was previously Associate Professor of Clarinet and Saxophone (tenured) at Southeast Missouri State University for 11 years. In 2012, due to family concerns, he resigned his secure position at Southeast Missouri State and returned home to Texas as a clarinet performer, teacher and clinician based in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. An active clinician, he has given more than 300 clinics, master classes, and performances at high schools, jr. high schools, colleges, universities, conservatories, conferences, etc.

Dr. Michael Dean studied clarinet performance at Texas Tech University, University of Colorado at Boulder, University of Texas at Austin and University of Texas at Arlington. His major teachers include Robert Walzel, Phil Aaholm, Carol Jessup, Jess Youngblood, Bob Ackerman, and Pam Youngblood. His web page, clarinetmike.com, features video of his teaching and performing as well as information on his CD’s and other publications. He is a BG France Performing Artist.

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10 All-State Practice Tips!

ClarinetMike says, “Practice Smart, Don’t Practice Stupid!”

Here are 10 general practice tips for preparing the All-State audition etudes (or any music). More All-State help coming soon from ClarinetMike!

  1. Go Slow. Load correct information only! Go slow and learn the rhythm and notes correctly the first time and every time.
  2. MORE Go Slow. Generally, begin work on an etude by counting in eighth notes, i.e. twice as slow or three times as slow if in 6/8,  where one eighth note gets one beat, one quarter note gets two counts, dotted quarter note gets three counts, etc.
  3. Ornaments First Time and Every Time! In preparing the etude, YOU MUST learn it the right way slowly every single time. DO NOT skip grace notes, trills, turns, etc. and think you will add those later. BAD IDEA! Your “muscle memory” will be messed up and you’ll be relearning those spots forever.
  4. Performance Tone. Learn etude with a “performance tone,” not a “practice tone.” In fact, never use a “practice tone.” [This idea comes from the Note Grouping video directly below.] A bad tone always sounds BAD!
  5. Note Grouping. Practice Note Grouping Concept for fast passages. It is described in a Note Grouping video HERE.
  6. DYNAMICS! DYNAMICS!, DYNAMICS!!, DYNAMICS!!! every step of the way!  Learn dynamics as you learn the rhythm and notes. Adding dynamics later does NOT work very well. Check out my ADD BOLD DYNAMICS! post.
  7. Practice Routine. Work on basics and scales every day as you work on the all-state music. Use an organized Practice Routine. Put special attention on tonguing every day – check out my “Betty” post.
  8. Sight-Reading. Do some sight-reading (and work on other music) every day to keep your playing fresh.
  9. Metronome. The metronome is a valuable tool and should be used a lot. Do not use it 100% of the time when you practice an etude. Do not get “Metronome Addiction.” This is where a person can play an etude well only with a metronome. Common Sense is also a VERY valuable tool.
  10. Practice Rhy-No. Check out Rhy-No Practice,  Feed The Rhy-NoThe Fast Way, and other practice techniques from this blog – Click Here.

NOTE: The above is a slightly revised version of a previous post.

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TEXAS TMEA All-State Clarinet Audition Etudes 2017-2018 for Soprano and Low Clarinets Now Posted!

ClarinetMike says, “Take Private Lessons With A Good Teacher!”

Yesterday, the official audition materials for the Texas TMEA All-State Band for 2017-2018 were posted at TMEA.org. The materials for all band instruments (including soprano and low clarinets) are available HERE.  BELOW I have posted screenshots from the official TMEA.org website that has the audition information for soprano and low clarinets.

Even though I’m here in Munich, Germany finishing up my big trip to Europe, I’ve already started to break down the audition music for private lessons, all-state clinics and such.

Here’s 5 practice tips to get you started:

1 Have a balanced practice routine as you work on the all-state music that includes spending time on basics and scales. My practice routine is available HERE.

2 Work on tonguing every day. Check out my “Betty” post.

3 Go slowly and learn the rhythm correctly the first time and every time.

4 DYNAMICS!, DYNAMICS!!, DYNAMICS!!! every step of the way! Check out my ADD BOLD DYNAMICS! post.

5 Take private lessons with a good teacher or if one is not available in your area, at least read this blog.  I will post more helps on the all-state etudes on my ClarinetMike Blog in coming weeks. (FYI, I offer Skype lessons.)


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ClarinetMike in Italy 2017!

ClarinetMike in the medieval town of Vipiteno, Italy, home of the Orfeo Music Festival.

Later this week I’m off to Europe! As previously posted, I’m returning this summer as Clarinet Artist in Residence at the international Orfeo Music Festival in the beautiful medieval town of Vipiteno, Italy in the heart of the Italian Alps. AND, this summer, Mrs. ClarinetMike will be going with me as we celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary! In addition to Vipiteno, Italy, we will spend a few days in Munich, Germany and then 4 days in Rome!! Below is the itinerary, the works that I’ll be performing at Orfeo, and a video clip from last year.

ClarinetMike says, “I’ve created a NEW “ClarinetMike In Italy 2017” Facebook Page. Please GO TO THIS PAGE and “Like” and “Follow” it to get all the latest info, pictures, videos, and glib commentary on our big trip! CLICK HERE.”

ClarinetMike’s Trip Itinerary

July 1-3, Munich, Germany

July 3-6, Rome, Italy

July 6-20, Orfeo Music Festival, Vipiteno, Italy

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ClarinetMike’s Repertoire to Perform at Orfeo Music Festival

Chocolates by James Grant with pianist Jeremy Samolesky
Bittersweet
Triple Mocha Indulgence

Oblivion by Astor Piazzolla with pianist Faina Lushtak

Ave Maria by Douglas Townsend with soprano Janet Hock and pianist Sherry Song

Just A Thought by James Grant with pianist Michael Rickman (open rehearsal, etc.)

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ClarinetMike Performing Last Year at Orfeo Music Festival

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I LOVE SUMMER!! ClarinetMike’s 10 Great Clarinet Things To Do On Summer Break!

ClarinetMike relaxing on the balcony of a nice hotel in San Antonio, Texas.

Summertime and the livin’ is easy…. I love summer! When I’m wearing shorts, I’m always in a good mood! Below is a follow-up on my recent post, 7 Ways to Upgrade Your Clarinet Playing This Summer!.

ClarinetMike’s 10 Great Clarinet Things To Do On Summer Break!

  1. Work on the improvements/adjustments in your clarinet technique that your teacher emphasized last semester (embouchure, tonguing, etc.) (See my related recent post.)
  2. Study an orchestra or band work you don’t know (or a solo, chamber work, etc.)
  3. Work on Etudes, Sight Reading and Transposition.
  4. Go to ClarinetFest 2017 or a concert – when was the last time you went to a LIVE concert just to enjoy the music?
  5. Clean out your clarinet case! Take clarinets to the repair shop.
  6. Organize your office and/or practice space!
  7. Contact an older musician – especially a retired private teacher or band director. Go have lunch with him/her.
  8. Watch old movies (check out TCM) and listen to the music. Learn about the composers. Some of them have written solo music for the clarinet!
  9. Work on Jazz or a style that is new to you. If you don’t know anything about jazz, now is the time to learn – yes, right now!
  10. Most importantly, take some time off and NOT think about the clarinet –  attend a religious or philosophical meeting, get some exercise, read a good book, go to a baseball game, become a volunteer in an organization that helps people, etc.

ClarinetMike says, “Have a great summer!”

NOTE: Above is a slightly modified version of a previous post.

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