• Repertoire Research Checklist for Students

    As much fun as it is to perform well-loved (and well-practiced) pieces, there’s something extra exciting about beginning to work on a new piece of repertoire. New piece, new possibilities, new performances… But as you begin learning a new piece, here are a few questions I encourage my students to research to better understand a new piece of music: Who is the composer? When did the composer live? Was this piece written for a specific clarinetist? Who performed the premiere? Are there recordings available of this piece? What era/genre/style of music is the composer known for? Did the composer write anything else for clarinet? How would you describe the style…

  • 13 Clarinet Works Perfect for Valentine’s Day

    Happy Valentine’s Day! To celebrate, I’m sharing 14 beautiful pieces of music which feature the clarinet. Listen to these to fall even more in love with the clarinet! Rachmaninoff Symphony No. 2, movement 3. Words can’t express the beauty of this solo, so go have a listen and be prepared to swoon. Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 6, movement 1. Another heart-wrenchingly beautiful display of the clarinet’s ability to tug at our heartstrings! Berlioz Symphonie fantastique, March to the Scaffold. This is a literal love theme, sung by the clarinet right before the guillotine strikes. Tchaikovsky Francesca da Rimini. Tchaikovsky tugs at heartstrings like no other, and he certainly chose the best…

  • The Clarinetist’s Dictionary

    Congratulations on beginning your clarinet journey! Even though the clarinet is obviously the best instrument, it can sometimes feel overwhelming with so many different parts, pieces, and accessories! I’ve created the following dictionary to help you understand common clarinet lingo as you navigate the wonderful world of clarinetistry! *Please note that I’ve simplified several definitions to make them more accessible to beginners and younger students. As in many areas of music, there are additional details and nuances you will learn, but these are the most basic definitions of common clarinet terms. I’ve also linked to other articles I’ve written with more in-depth explanations on certain subjects. articulation (sometimes called tonguing)…

  • Throat Tone Tips for Clarinetists

    Do your throat tones tend to sound fuzzy, muffled, pinched, nasal, or less than ideal? If so, you’re not alone! The clarinet is not a perfect instrument (shocking, I know!), and some notes need a little extra help to sound beautiful. Let’s talk about throat tones. Why do clarinet throat tones sound so different than lower or higher notes? Simply put, it’s the length of the tube. When you blow air into the mouthpiece, that air doesn’t have a lot of time/length of tube to develop if you’re playing an open G. Compare that to playing low E, where the air must travel the entire length of the clarinet to…

  • My Winter Clarinet Essentials

    Winter weather can wreak havoc on clarinets (and reeds) if you’re not careful, so here are a few of my winter essentials for clarinetists: protective case cover – Make sure your clarinet case is warm and well-insulated with a padded case cover. (You can even wrap a scarf or towel around the case inside for an added layer of protection.) humidifiers – These are important to have in both your clarinet and reed case to maintain a consistent humidity level. There are many different humidifiers available, and a few of my favorites are Oasis, Dampit (I use the violin one), Boveda, and sponges cut to fit inside a toothbrush holder.…

  • Music for clarinet and toy piano

    Longtime readers of Jenny Clarinet know that I have a fascination with lesser-known instruments (this blog post I wrote a few years ago even led to me learning how to play the theremin!). Even though I had heard of the toy piano, it wasn’t until I attended a Yann Tiersen concert in Paris a few years ago and heard Tiersen perform on the toy piano that I began to wonder if any music had ever been written for clarinet and toy piano. Spoiler alert: yes it has! (but as you might imagine, it’s not a long list) Here are some pieces I’ve stumbled upon which feature clarinet and toy piano:…

  • The Art of the Mock Audition

    New year, new auditions on the horizon! Even though 2022 just started, audition season is in full swing as musicians prepare for conservatory, university, orchestra, and other auditions. An essential component of any successful audition is the mock audition, which will help you build physical endurance and mental resilience to prepare for the real deal. Here’s everything you need to know: What is a mock audition? Auditioning is an art form, just like music. Just like you practice to prepare the required music and excerpts in hopes of playing your best, you should also practice taking auditions to develop the mental fortitude necessary to play well despite (completely normal) audition…

  • Joy to the World Holiday Scale Challenge

    Bring joy to the world, one scale at a time! Did you know that the opening melody to Joy to the World is just a descending major scale? Why not add some holiday cheer to your practice routine by practicing this tune in all major key signatures? Better yet, why not challenge yourself to playing this melody in all key signatures in under one minute? I’ve written out this melody in all 12 major key signatures, and you can download this for free here. If you’re up for the challenge, feel free to share your videos with me or tag me on social media! P.S. If you’re looking for other…

  • How to become better at clarinet transposition

    Clarinet is a pretty cool instrument, if I do say so myself. However, it would be nice if we didn’t have to transpose all the time! Making matters worse, the abundance of auxiliary clarinets also means an abundance of…transposition! First things first: What is transposition? If you asked every member of a band, orchestra, or other ensemble to play a C – their C on each individual instrument, also known as written pitch – the resulting cacophony would make you cover your ears. That’s because different instruments are pitched in different keys. The most common clarinet is pitched in Bb, pianos are pitched in C, and there are a variety…

  • Which historical clarinetist shares your astrological sign?

    Want to feel more connected to historical clarinetists? Look below and see which historical clarinetists share your astrological sign! Note: This is not a comprehensive list of historical clarinetists. We are #blessed to have so many incredible musicians throughout history, and this is just a small sample of historical clarinetists and their birthdays. Want to learn more about clarinet history? Check out my Clarinet History 101! Aquarius (January 21-February 18) Heinrich Baermann – February 14, 1784 Jack Brymer – January 27, 1915 (January 27 is also Mozart’s birthday!) Pisces (February 19-March 20) Jean-Xavier Lefèvre – March 6, 1763 Richard Mühlfeld – February 28, 1856 Aries (March 21-April 19) Frédéric Berr –…