• How to stay cool in the practice room this summer

    If you’re living in the northern hemisphere, you might be experiencing a heat wave at the moment. These languid days of summer make finding the motivation to practice extra difficult, so I’m here to help you stay cool in the practice room! Practicing any instrument requires lots of physical and mental energy. Especially for wind players, practicing is very much a cardio activity, so it’s important to make sure you’re beating the heat to operate at your best in the practice room. As the temperature climbs higher and higher, here are some ways you can stay cool in the practice room: Practice early. If your family and neighbors don’t mind,…

  • 10 mistakes you might be making in the practice room

    Which do you want first, the good news or the bad news? The bad news is that even if you’ve mustered up the motivation to practice, you might still be losing out on those practice session gains if you’re not practicing effectively. The good news is that I’m here today to share 10 of the most common mistakes I’ve seen musicians make in the practice room which can hinder their progress. Quality of practice is always more important than quantity, so here are 10 suggestions to improve your practice room progress: Turn off your phone or set it to do not disturb mode. Let’s be honest here – how many…

  • How often should you clean or replace your clarinet swab?

    If I ask you a question, do you promise you’ll give an honest answer? When was the last time you cleaned or replaced your clarinet swab? If you’re like many clarinetists (especially younger students who are learning the ins and outs of the instrument), chances are it’s been a while. Before I share my advice, I would like to offer a huge disclaimer that I am a classically trained clarinetist – not a medical or scientific professional. If you have specific questions about germs and the clarinet, especially concerning the clarinet during the current pandemic, you should look for scientific, peer-reviewed studies for this information. Back to cleaning your swab.…

  • How to use the Pomodoro Technique in the Practice Room

    If you’ve never heard of the Pomodoro Technique, it’s a time management skill used by people around the world. This technique utilizes specifically timed intervals (traditionally 25 minutes) called pomodoros, which is the Italian word for tomato. Why tomato? This is the design of the kitchen timer Pomodoro Technique creator Francesco Cirillo used while in university. During each pomodoro, you focus your attention to work on one task. Once the time is up, you move on to another task. After completing a few pomodoros, you are allowed to take a break. There are many more specific rules which you can discover on the official Pomodoro Technique website. The reason that…

  • Should you take a practice break?

    Do you remember a couple of years ago when the “Should you be practicing right now?” infographic was everywhere online and on the walls of music teachers? It was a lighthearted and humorous way to encourage musicians to practice more, but there can be a negative side to this mentality. Throughout their musical careers, musicians are primed to work diligently and consistently over the course of many years. Eventually, this can take a huge toll on their physical and mental health. I believe that a well-rounded musician leads a fulfilling life both inside and outside the practice room. Their experiences outside the practice room only enhance their work in the…

  • Ways to reduce lower lip pain when playing clarinet

    Sometimes, playing clarinet can be a pain in the….lips. Some clarinetists may experience pain in their lower lip due to extended pressure and contact with the lower teeth. Although this is normal, you don’t have to play with pain. You’ll be happy to know that there are several ways to help alleviate this pain while you play clarinet. Here are a few of my favorite products that can help reduce lower lip pain in clarinetists: (I have personally tried items marked *. I have researched and collected several different products to share with you, and I strongly suggest trying different products until you find the best solution to reduce your…

  • Create a clarinet time capsule

    Maybe it’s just me, but doesn’t it seem like this year has felt like an eternity? I know that time will eventually pass, so I thought it would be a fun idea to create a clarinet time capsule to look back upon in the future. If you’ve never made a time capsule, it’s super simple! All you have to do is collect items or other memorabilia from the present and put it away for a set amount of time. (Just make sure you keep your time capsule somewhere you’re not tempted to peek before you’re supposed to!) You can add whatever you like to your clarinet time capsule, but here…

  • 30 More Famous French Clarinetists

    Bonne fête nationale à tous mes amis français! Last year, I created a list of 30 famous French clarinetists. To celebrate Bastille Day this year, I thought I would expand this list by adding 30 more famous French clarinetists. Disclaimer: This list is not meant to be comprehensive, and I will continue adding to it to celebrate all of the incredible musicians throughout French clarinet history. I have also included some clarinetists on this list who were not French by birth but whose careers were developed or flourished in France. This list is arranged alphabetically. Franck Amet Sidney Bechet Jean-Francois Bescond Jessica Bessac Romy Bischoff Alexandre Chabod Joë Christophe Hugo…

  • The Clarinetist’s Tool Kit

    During my teaching these past few years, I’ve developed an analogy I like to call the clarinetist’s tool kit. I’m not referring to the literal tools a clarinetist might need such as pliers, screwdriver, or alcohol lamp (we’ll save that for another article). Instead, I refer to skills a clarinetist should develop to be ready for any musical situation. If you have an actual tool kit, there are probably a lot of tools you rarely or never use. You probably keep these because one day you might need them. This is true for the clarinetist’s tool kit. A clarinetist must develop a myriad of tools, some of which they might…

  • Random acts of kindness ideas for musicians

    The world can always use more kindness, and musicians can offer a unique type of kindness to others. In addition to using your music as a tool to spread happiness and good cheer, you can also use your platform and community to make someone else’s day a bit brighter. Here are a few random acts of kindness ideas for musicians: Leave a complimentary and encouraging comment on another musician’s video, recording, post or other type of content Send a DM to tell someone what their music means to you Like, share, retweet, or promote the work of another musician or artist Reach out to musicians you haven’t spoken to in…