• The Complete Guide to Getting a Superior at Solo & Ensemble

    One of my most popular blog posts ever is my Complete Guide to Making All State, so I thought it’s about time I make a similar guide to help students prepare for Solo & Ensemble. Solo & Ensemble is a great opportunity for young musicians to perform solos and small chamber ensembles in front of judges to receive ratings and valuable feedback on their performances. Here’s my advice to receive a Superior rating this year at Solo & Ensemble: Prepare Practice Perform Repeat Just like learning a new piece of music, performing is a skill that takes time and practice to develop. The more you practice performing, the better musician…

  • The Composer’s Guide to the Clarinet

    If you’re a composer wanting to write for the clarinet, you’ve come to the right place! I’ve been very fortunate to have collaborated with some wonderful composers throughout the years, and I wanted to create this post to help anyone who wants to write for the world’s best instrument. ;) I’ve put together this list to help anyone who wants to learn more about what the clarinet can (and can’t) do. Before we dive in, it’s important to mention that these are general guidelines. Each clarinetist has different skills, specialties, and abilities, so when in doubt, ask them! Please keep in mind that this list is specifically targeted towards soprano…

  • Repertoire Recommendations Based on Standard Repertoire

    You all know I love learning about new-to-me repertoire. I enjoy recommending pieces to students and colleagues, and I especially enjoy discovering lesser-known gems. If you’re looking for some new pieces to work on, check out these repertoire recommendations (#reprecs) based on standard clarinet repertoire. Each item includes a standard piece, paired with a lesser-known work I think you would enjoy. If you like… Then you should check out… Carl Stamitz Concerto No. 3 in B-Flat Major Franz Hoffmeister Concerto in B-Flat Carl Maria von Weber Concerti Julius Rietz Clarinet Concerto, Op. 29 Gioachino Rossini Introduction, Theme and Variations Louis Spohr Fantasy and Variations on a Theme of Danzi, Op. 81…

  • Clarinet Repertoire Requiring Costumes

    Did you know that some pieces of clarinet repertoire instruct the performer to wear specific clothing or costumes? These pieces can include costume, staging, lighting, and other theatrical elements, taking your typical clarinet performance and turning it into a real spectacle! Here are a few pieces of clarinet repertoire requiring costumes: Karlheinz Stockhausen – Harlekin for solo clarinetist/dancer – In performances of this work, clarinetists dance on stage, embodying the character of the Harlequin, a comedic figure. (Fun fact: several of Stockhausen’s compositions feature theatrical and contemporary techniques for clarinet. Since there are several clarinet features in his operas and larger ensemble works, some have been adapted for solo or…

  • What do tuning and mind control have in common?

    No, this isn’t the opening to some bad music theory joke (but it could be if you leave a good punchline in the comments!). Most musicians are probably familiar with “concert pitch,” A=440Hz. This is the tuning standard in many parts of the world (although some countries and ensembles do tune higher). But have you ever wondered how we settled on A=440 as the standard tuning pitch? I did, and my research led me to rumors of Illuminati involvement, mind control, and the vibration of the universe. Pretty deep stuff for something we bemoan at every rehearsal. Before we continue, I want to make it clear that I do not…

  • Jenny Clarinet Halloween 🎃

    I’ve gathered all my Halloween articles in one post to help you celebrate my favorite holiday all year long! Clarinet History & Mystery Unsolved mysteries of clarinet history Secret Societies in Clarinet History This former school is haunted by the ghost of a clarinetist Clarinet cryptograms: Are there hidden messages in our repertoire? The Curse of the Yellow Clarinet The Rumored Lost Masterworks of Clarinet Repertoire The Bizarre Deaths of Historical Clarinetists The musical medium who holds a clue to the missing Mozart clarinet concerto manuscript How this famous composer of clarinet music inspired the Phantom of the Opera Cursed Clarinet Repertoire The Clarinet Curse: Composers Who Died After Writing…

  • Repertoire Recommendations: Autumn-Inspired 🍂

    Happy autumn to all my northern hemisphere friends! You all know this is my favorite season, and if you’re looking for new repertoire recommendations (#reprecs) I’ve got you covered! Here are my favorite autumn-themed clarinet pieces: Thea Musgrave – Autumn Sonata – Concerto for Bass Clarinet and Orchestra Itaru Sakai – Journey of Leaf for clarinet octet Itamar Danziger – Autumn for clarinet and piano (from The Seasons’ Suite) Ayser Vancin – Autumn Song for clarinet and piano Bernice Petkere – Lullaby Of The Leaves for solo clarinet Percy Hall – Falling Leaves for clarinet trio Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky – Autumn Song, arranged by Tōru Takemitsu Joseph Pappas Pappas – Autumn…

  • Tips to create a well-rounded recital program

    Call me nerdy (I think that ship has long sailed, seeing as I run a clarinet blog!), but I genuinely enjoy planning recital programs. I love coming up with themes, brainstorming repertoire, and thinking of ways to increase audience and community engagement for my performances. Here are a few tips to help you create a well-rounded recital program for your next concert: Begin with a good warm-up piece. Save all the pyrotechnics for later in the program – your first piece is a great opportunity to ease into your program, so select a piece that’s not too technically demanding so you can begin with confidence. Choose diverse repertoire. Make sure…

  • Friday Favorites: Clarinet Étude Books

    Happy Friday! The clarinet is lucky to have such an abundance of wonderful music, including countless étude books. Many of these études are so great that they’re even performed as concert pieces and in recitals! Here are a few of my favorite clarinet étude books (listed in no particular order): Cyrille Rose 32 Études Béla Kovács Hommages Ernesto Cavallini 30 Caprices Johann Müller 22 Clarinet Études Paul JeanJean 18 Études for the Clarinet Victor Polatschek 12 Études for Clarinet Eugène Bozza 11 Études Sur Des Modes Karnatiques  Eugène Bozza14 Études de Mecanisme Marco Bordogni Melodious Études for Clarinet Jacques Lancelot 25 Études Faciles et Progressives Aurelio Magnani 10 Études-Caprices de Grande Difficult What are your favorite clarinet études? Leave a comment…

  • Friday Favorites: Clarinet Method Books

    Happy Friday! You can’t beat method books. These all-in-one resources usually contain most everything you need, from technical exercises, lyrical studies, and other fundamental resources. There are a plethora of clarinet methods out there, and here are a few of my favorite. (Note that some of these might currently be out of print.) Hyacinthe Klosé Celebrated Method for the Clarinet Leon Russianoff Clarinet Method Rubank Method for Clarinet (I use this with many of my students!) Henry Lazarus Method for Clarinet Carl Baermann Complete Method for Clarinet Gustave Langenus Complete Method for the Clarinet Alamiro Giampieri Progressive Method for Clarinet Benny Goodman Clarinet Method David Hite Melodious and Progressive Studies for Clarinet Frederick Thurston The Clarinet: A Comprehensive Method What method…