• Clarinet method and étude books written by women

    This article was inspired by Dr. Victor Chavez, clarinet professor at the University of Tennessee Knoxville, who is having a Women Composers Festival for his studio this semester. Here is a list of clarinet method and étude books written by women (listed alphabetically by last name). I hope this will be a valuable resource for anyone who is trying to curate a more diverse repertoire collection. This is not meant to be comprehensive, so please let me know of any books I have omitted and I will add this to the list. Note: The following list is just clarinet method and étude books. If you’re looking for solo repertoire, check out my…

  • Common Clarinet Tuning Mistakes

    How do you tune a clarinet? No, this isn’t the start of a band joke (although I’d love to hear your punchlines if it were). Learning how to properly tune any instrument takes time – time to train your ears, time to learn how equipment responds to adjustments, time to listen and adjust to others, and many other variables. If you’re new to clarinet tuning, you should start by reading my complete guide on clarinet tuning to learn more about how the instrument works and factors which can affect tuning. Once you’ve got the basics, make sure you aren’t making any of these common clarinet tuning mistakes: Tuning before you…

  • 9 Educational and Engaging Ideas for Zoom Studio Classes

    Although teaching online will never replace in-person lessons, digital platforms like Zoom can present many opportunities to explore new methods to teach and share information. Here are a few ideas to shake things up at your next Zoom studio class: Organize a listening quiz. Create a playlist and use screen share to see how many students can correctly identify each piece. (Make sure to allow sharing of computer audio so students can actually hear the music, and make sure to hide the names of each piece.) Compete in a trivia challenge. You can use Zoom’s poll features to quiz students on repertoire, history, theory, pedagogy, and other important fundamentals. Host…

  • 9 Benefits of Online Music Education

    Let me go ahead and get this out of the way. There is no substitution for in-person music education. These past several months have had their share of trials and tribulations. However, I have also seen a large number of unexpected benefits and positive effects among music students due to online music education. For example: Students are learning more about audio and video technology. This is an important skill for students to develop in order for them to make recordings to use for auditions, festivals, and other events. Students are gaining virtual performance experience. Many students have organized livestreamed recitals, lectures, and events using social media and other platforms. This…

  • Ways to maximize your online music education this semester

    Music education certainly looks different this year as students and educators prepare for the start of a new semester. While each program has different rules and guidelines governing music education during this time, there are a few ways you can maximize your online experience as a music student or educator: Organize your work area. Before the semester starts, take a few hours to declutter and clean your work space. Tidy up loose papers at your desk, corral your cables and wires, find a comfortable chair, make sure you have good lighting, hang up photos or artwork, and gather all the supplies you’ll need so everything is in one place. Consider…

  • Let’s talk about reed rotation

    What is reed rotation and why is it important? Reed rotation is just what it sounds like – rotating the reeds you use when you practice or perform so that they all break in evenly. As a reed player, rotating your reeds is one of the simplest things you can do that will yield more consistent reeds and extend the lifespan of your reeds. Reed rotation is important because it provides you with more reed options in any given musical situation. If you rotate your reeds, you will have several good reeds in your case at a time, as opposed to one good reed which might vary from day to…

  • Level up your long tones

    In my opinion, the most important part of every practice routine is long tones. I realize that’s a pretty bold statement, so let me explain. Long tones are like a musical multivitamin. Depending on what you choose to focus on each day, you can fix a multitude of problems through effective long tone practice. If practiced effectively, long tones can help you improve tone (duh), tuning, lung capacity, posture, finger position, and basically anything else you can imagine. If you’re already practicing long tones, here are a few tips to help take them to the next level: Don’t go on autopilot. Have you ever finished practicing something but have zero…

  • 9 Questions to ask yourself for more effective practicing

    Have you ever had one of those days in the practice room that feels like whatever you do, nothing seems to help you improve? If so, you might be asking yourself the wrong questions (or using ineffective internal talk). One of my biggest goals as a teacher is to help teach my students how to practice effectively. After all, I only get to see my students for 30-60 minutes each week, and the rest of the time they’re on their own in the practice room. Here are some targeted questions which will help create a more effective and productive practice session: What am I trying to improve? This sounds super…

  • Searching for universal clarinet truths

    Since I’ve committed to writing and publishing a daily blog this month, I thought this would also be a nice opportunity to explore some different topics and formats than I’ve done in the past. Instead of a pedagogical post, I thought I’d get a bit philosophical today. A few months ago, I was giving a lecture on musicpreneurship in Manitoba, Canada. (Little did I know that this would be one of my last live performances and lectures for the foreseeable future!). During this lecture, I made an innocuous remark about how there is no universal clarinet truth. I used this as a quick example to show how there are many…

  • How and why musicians should leave their comfort zones

    Musicians’ lives are built around repetition. Repetition of scales, passages, auditions, performances, and years of constant hard work and dedication to their craft. It’s understandable that musicians can become comfortable and complacent after a while. However, it is important for musicians to regularly explore beyond the boundaries of their comfort zones so they can continue growing as people and as artists. Leaving your comfort zone can be simple, like working on a new style, or more pronounced, like moving to another country. (I’ve lived in three different countries, and this has definitely influenced me as a musician!) Leaving our comfort zones is actually good for us because it causes the…