• What clarinet music should you practice next based on your birthday?

    Are you looking for new musical inspiration? Perhaps you have the end-of-year blahs and just need some new repertoire suggestions? I’m here to help! Find your birthday below for a warm-up book and repertoire suggestion! Note: As much as I enjoy Kroepsch, Kell, Rose, Mozart, Brahms, Weber, and other clarinet classics, I tried to include a wide variety of pieces to help you discover new music. What’s your birth month? Choose your birth month for a new book to add to your warm-up routine! January – Preliminary Exercises & Etudes in Contemporary Techniques by Ronald Caravan February – 26 Cadenzas in the Form of Preludes (Vingt-Six Cadences en forme de…

  • Baermann Scale Showdown – A Competitive Way to Gamify Scales

    It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of Carl Baermann’s iconic clarinet scale book. In 2017, I created the Baermann Boot Camp (revised in 2019), which served as the catalyst for dozens of my other Boot Camps and digital clarinet products. I created a semi-fictitious holiday to celebrate our buddy Carl’s birthday. Although not directly scale-related, I even shared the true story of how Carl’s dumplings and strudel inspired Mendelssohn to write a famous piece of clarinet literature! I think it’s safe to say that I’m a big fan of Baermann and his contributions to the clarinet (particularly his scale exercises). Now, I’d like to introduce you to my…

  • Clarinet cryptograms: Are there hidden messages in our repertoire?

    Last week, I began exploring the history of musical espionage (as one does) and found myself delving into the world of musical cryptography. Musical cryptography is using the musical alphabet, notation, solfège, and other elements to encrypt messages into music. Bach, Shostakovich, and many other composers throughout history have used musical cryptography to spell their names. Bach used B-flat-A-C-B natural (the German H) to spell his name, and Shostakovich used D-E-flat-C-B natural to spell DSCH (again, using German H) for Dmitri Schostakowitsch. However, some composers used musical cryptography to notate the names of their beloved or short messages and quotations to share with those who were able to crack the…

  • This former school is haunted by the ghost of a clarinetist

    The quaintly named Valentine, Nebraska is a small town near the South Dakota border with a population of only a few thousand people. It holds the honors of housing Centennial Hall, Nebraska’s oldest standing school, built in 1897. According to local legend, a student at the school was murdered in Centennial Hall in 1944. The young unnamed girl was a clarinetist, and her friend poisoned her clarinet reed. When the girl put the clarinet in her mouth to play, she died from the poisonous reed. Before the school was converted into a museum, teachers would report seeing a ghostly apparition and feeling a feeling of dread or unease. Now, you…

  • Horror films which feature the clarinet

    If this is your first Jenny Clarinet Halloween, you’re in for a real (trick or) treat! If there’s one thing I love nearly as much as clarinet, it’s Halloween. During October each year, I share the spooky side of the clarinet world, from unusual history, haunted pieces, and even mysteries of the clarinet. First up, you can’t properly celebrate Halloween with some scary movies! Get ready for some horror films with a heavy dose of clarinet! (By the way, I’m always looking for new horror films to watch, so if you know of any clarinet-infused scary movies you’d like me to add to this list, please let me know!) Grab…

  • Crypto-musicology books to read this Halloween

    It’s no secret that I enjoy exploring the dark and spooky corners of clarinet and music history, such as the bizarre deaths of historical clarinetists, final resting places of famous clarinetists, or the curse of the yellow clarinet. If you’re looking to discover more strange tales from music history (which I’ve officially dubbed crypto-musicology), here are a few of my favorite books to get you started: Beethoven’s Skull by Tim Rayborn. This book explores the “Dark, Strange, and Fascinating Tales from the World of Classical Music and Beyond.” These are the tales you probably never learned in music history! Cranioklepty: Grave Robbing and the Search for Genius by Colin Dickey.…

  • The musical medium who holds a clue to the missing Mozart clarinet concerto manuscript

    One of clarinet history’s greatest mysteries is the whereabouts of the manuscript to Mozart’s beloved Concerto for Clarinet in A Major, K. 622, written in 1791 for Anton Stadler. We know that Mozart gave his fellow freemason friend Anton Stadler the manuscript of his new concerto on October 10, 1791 (only two days after he finished orchestrating the piece), along with 200 florins for “travel money” before Stadler embarked on what would become a five-year tour of Eastern Europe. (By the way, 200 florins might not sound like much, but it was the equivalent to a quarter of Mozart’s salary as a Viennese court composer.) Stadler began his tour with…

  • Books written by Artie Shaw

    If you’re a clarinetist, you’re probably familiar with the great Artie Shaw. (Even if you’re not a clarinetist, you’re probably familiar with the artistic talents of this incredible musician!) While you probably know about his hits like “Begin the Beguine” and “Frenesi,” you might not know that he was also an accomplished author. Besides clarinet, Shaw was interested in writing, math, and other intellectual hobbies (he was also apparently an expert marksman and fly fisher – who knew?). Here are the published books Artie Shaw wrote during his life: The Trouble with Cinderella: An Outline of Identity (1952) – an autobiographical account of his life, music, and other endeavors I…

  • 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…