• How to prevent your clarinet from cracking

    Having lived in super cold environments these last few years (Québec, Iowa, and Manitoba), I’ve done a lot of research into ways clarinetists can protect their clarinet from extreme conditions and potential cracks. The good news is that there are some precautions you can take to prevent your clarinet from cracking. The bad news is that sometimes, no matter how…

  • What do clarinet and coffee have in common?

    Longtime readers of this blog probably know by now that I love coffee (and all other forms of caffeine). It dawned on me recently that a lot of the words we use to describe clarinet tone are also coffee buzzwords (pun intended): rich smooth dark velvety robust smooth and many more! While this is just a funny coincidence, there is…

  • The Science of Squeaking – What Your Squeaks are Trying to Tell You

    If you’re a clarinetist, you probably learned very quickly that squeaks are just a fact of life. Hopefully, as you improve and begin to develop your skills on the clarinet, your squeaks will become fewer and less frequent. But in the meantime, let’s talk about ways you can stop the squeaking. First of all, what is a squeak? (besides embarrassing,…

  • 101 Clarinet Compositions Written by Women Composers

    Happy Women’s History Month! To celebrate, here are 101 clarinet compositions written by female composers. I know there are many more wonderful works than the ones I’ve included here, so I am planning on making this a multi-part series. Leave a comment below with your favorite piece(s) for me to include on the next part! By the way, if you…

  • Clarinet Articulation Troubleshooting Guide

    Let’s talk about tonguing, shall we? For something so simple in theory, there are certainly quite a few variables which might impede your progress. Articulation on string instruments or the piano can clearly be seen, but it is much more difficult to identify potential articulation issues on wind instrument since we must rely only on what we hear. (Unless you…

  • Metronome Mistakes You Might Be Making

    Just like most people know they should be staying hydrated, sleeping more than 6 hours every night, and not subsisting on an abundance of caffeinated beverages, most musicians know that they should probably be using a metronome when they practice. My students already know that I’m a bit of a metronome fanatic. Not only does regular metronome use help you…

  • The Evolution of the Clarinet Choir

    The clarinet is #blessed to have so many members of its family, and amazing things happen when these instruments are combined together to create a clarinet choir. Despite the wide variety of clarinets in different keys throughout its history, the clarinet choir as we know it is a relatively new concept. Let’s start from the beginning. The clarinet was developed…

  • Band directors: Should your clarinetists be double tonguing?

    Throughout the years, I’ve taught quite a few sectionals and have worked with many school clarinet programs, and a common question band directors ask is if their clarinetists should be double tonguing. There are no definitive answers because it depends on the ability level and repertoire of your band program, but here are my thoughts: (Disclaimer: These are my opinions…

  • How to rock your virtual audition

    Another audition season is upon us, and this one will probably look a lot different than many of the previous auditions you’ve taken! Even if you know your way around Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, and the multitude of other essential platforms this past year, a virtual audition is a lot more pressure than your average class or meeting, which is why…

  • How practicing is a lot like building a gingerbread house

    If you’ve ever built and decorated a gingerbread house, you know that there’s a process to achieving a festive, Instagram-worthy result. When you’re building a gingerbread house, you can’t expect all the pieces to come together at once – you have to start with a solid foundation, measure and create patterns for the walls, make sure the icing is the…