• The Prepared Musician’s Pre-Performance Mental Checklist

    Every musician is familiar with the barrage of thoughts that flutter through their mind before beginning a performance. “What if I have a memory slip? Where is my teacher sitting? Why didn’t I choose a less stressful career??” This cacophony of thoughts is normal, and with time you will learn how to control them. In the meantime, there are several productive thoughts to improve your next performance. I’ve created this pre-performance checklist for my own performances, and I remind all of my students to use these steps to maximize their performances and auditions. Here is my pre-performance mental checklist: Don’t be in a hurry to begin playing. Fight the urge…

  • Kroepsch Boot Camp

    After the success of my Baermann Boot Camp from last October, I’ve been getting a lot of requests to do another boot camp. After all, scales and technical studies are much more palatable when you suffer practice together, right? For this boot camp, I’ve chosen the Kroepsch 416 Progressive Daily Studies for the Clarinet, which are one of my ride or dieĀ clarinet studies. And a lot of you agreed – the Facebook poll I created on Jenny Clarinet resulted in an overwhelming majority of Kropesch fans (sorry Jettel, you’ll have to wait your turn!). So, without further ado, I’d like to introduce the Kroepsch Boot Camp, a practice routine designed…

  • Clarinet Crimes You Might Be Unknowingly Committing

    As the self-appointed clarinet police, it’s my job to keep the clarinet community safe from crime. Here are some crimes many clarinetists are unknowingly committing: Infractions Flipping from middle B to C. The “pinky keys” can be confusing, and you should avoid sliding from one key to the other on the same side. But why make extra work for yourself when you can play B with both pinkies and simply lift the left pinky to produce C? Adding the Eb pinky key on high C#. The clarinet is not a perfect instrument. Some notes are atrociously out of tune, C# being one of them. Adding the pinky key just makes…

  • 9 Ways to Become Your Band Director’s Favorite Student

    Happy Teacher Appreciation week! Band directors are some of the most overworked and under-appreciated teachers out there. The ultimate Jack of all trades, band directors must know a bit about every instrument, music theory, and music history (not to mention possessing the skills necessary to teach all of these). They must balance time management, lesson planning, fundraising, after-school rehearsals, and concert preparation. The hardest part? Turning a cacophony of sound into beautiful music. Here are 9 things you can do to make your band director’s job a bit easier: Bring a pencil – and use it! Nobody can remember everything, so write down missed notes, accidentals, and definitions so you…