• Quick Fix Friday: No squishy lower lip

    Happy Friday! Do you ever feel like your tone is lackluster, unfocused, or just a bit blah? If so, your lower lip could be the culprit. Away from the clarinet, hold your mouth in a relaxed position, as if you were sleeping. Now gently touch your lower lip. It should feel squishy. This is fine most of the time, but…

  • Quick Fix Friday: Follow the beam

    Happy Friday! You might be a bit confused about the title (no, I’m not referring to the beams in Stephen King’s Dark Tower series, although this is a great series). I’m referring to beams in regard to rhythm. A beam is the horizontal line which groups certain notes together, such as two eighth notes or four sixteenth notes. Now, on…

  • Quick Fix Friday: Breathe from the corners

    Happy Friday, and welcome to another installment of my Quick Fix Friday! This week, I have a simple fix to allow you to take fast breaths without disrupting your embouchure. When you take a breath, make sure you breathe from the corners of your mouth and avoid moving your jaws. I commonly see students remove their jaws from the mouthpiece…

  • What piece should you practice next based on your coffee order?

    It’s no secret by now that I’m a big fan of coffee and other caffeinated beverages. One day recently, I was waiting in line at a café trying to decide what drink I was going to order when I began to assign clarinet repertoire to coffee orders. (You can take the clarinet away from the clarinetist, but you can’t take…

  • Trill and Tremolo Tips for Clarinetists

    Confession time: I’m not a big fan of trills and tremolos. Something about seeing them brings me right back to middle school, when it was often a competition to see who could fit the most notes into the designated amount of time. Thankfully, my technique today is much better than it was in middle school, and I’ve also developed a…

  • 21-Day Clarinet Discovery Challenge

    If you’re like many clarinetists this past year, your motivation to practice probably experienced its fair share of ups and downs. While this is certainly understandable, it can be difficult to become motivated and inspired to begin practicing and trying to achieve your musical goals. This is why I’ve decided to create a 21-day clarinet discovery challenge – to help…

  • How to make your own clarinet thumb cushion

    Sometimes clarinet can be a pain in the…thumb! If your right thumb is sore from playing clarinet, you can use a thumb cushion on the thumb rest to alleviate some of the pain. (Note: If the weight of the instrument is causing pain or discomfort, you should consider using a neck strap). Although clarinet thumb rests are inexpensive and can…

  • Quick Fix Friday: Set Your Embouchure Before Playing

    Happy (almost) weekend! It’s been a while since I’ve written a Quick Fix Friday, and I thought I’d refresh this series with a small change that can make a big difference in your clarinet playing! Today’s quick fix deals with embouchure and helps you create a more even sound. If you suffer from popped, delayed, or otherwise imperfect attacks when…

  • 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…