Cane vs. Synthetic Clarinet Reeds – What’s the Difference?
Let’s talk about one of the most frequently discussed clarinet topics – reeds. Reeds are an essential component to producing a sound on the clarinet, and there are many different brands, cuts, and varieties available in today’s market. Today, synthetic reeds are becoming more and more popular among all levels of players, from beginners to professionals. Here’s my complete guide to everything you need to know: Click here to skip to my opinions on synthetic reeds. What are cane reeds? Cane reeds are made from the Arundo donax cane, which can be found in different regions around the world. Many reed companies get their cane from the Mediterranean basin. (Fun…
Quick Fix Friday: Ear-Training Tuning Tip
Happy Friday! This week, I wanted to share a quick tip I’ve been using to improve both my tuning and ear-training. A tuner is a helpful tool to have while practicing. However, sometimes musicians become too reliant on watching the tuner and reacting to what it says. Instead, use your tuner to help train your ears for good pitch/tuning and become a more active listener. The quick fix: Turn on your tuner and pick a note to tune. Close your eyes and sustain the note until you think you’re in tune. Open your eyes to see how close you were to being in tune. It’s that simple! This ear-training will…
10 Quick Tips to Help Band Directors Improve Your Clarinet Section
Band directors are kind of like musical superheroes – they have to maintain a working knowledge of all common (and sometimes not-so-common) band instruments. Not only this, but they have to share it in an easy-to-understand format with multiple students every day. Let’s hear it for band directors! Although I’ve never been a band director, I’ve worked in hundreds of band classes around North America, specifically with woodwind and clarinet sections. I’d like to share a few quick tips with big payoffs to all the band directors out there to share with your clarinet sections: And here are a few bonus clarinet care tips to help avoid accidents and broken…
Creating and performing the world’s first AI composition for clarinet and piano
I’ve become increasingly interested in the possibilities of artificial intelligence (AI) and the clarinet during the past few months. (ICYMI, you can read my previous blog posts here and here.) AI has taken the world by storm, and it seems like more fields are exploring the growing possibilities and potential this technology has. Don’t get me wrong – I still think machines will never replace the human thoughts, emotions, and intangible elements which combine to create music. However, when the Listasavn Føroya (National Gallery of the Faroe Islands) launched the first AI art exhibit last fall exploring what famous artists’ paintings would look like if they had visited the Faroe…
What do rhythm and baking cookies have in common?
I’m a stickler for good rhythm (ask any of my students!), which is why I use a lot of teaching analogies to discuss rhythm. One of them is baking. As a self-proclaimed novice baker, I know just how important the measurements are to achieve the perfect consistency of cookie (preferably a bit chewy IMHO), or whatever else you’re trying to create. Rhythm is no different – if you mess up the “measurement” or ratio of each beat/measure, your rhythm is off. Let’s take one of the most commonly mistaken rhythms – the dotted eighth/sixteenth combo, as seen below: If we convert the rhythm to a ratio, the dotted eighth note…
Clarinet Duet Tips for Beginners
It’s Solo & Ensemble season, which means many band students are in the process of preparing and performing their first clarinet duet! Whether these duos are for two clarinets or clarinet and other instruments, here are a few tips to help you achieve a Superior rating! Preparation Rehearsing I hope these tips help your prepare and perform your first clarinet duet! Leave a comment below with any other tips or tricks that helped you with duets.
AI Chooses My Clarinet Warm-Up Routine
Artificial intelligence platforms such as Chat GPT are taking the world by storm! It seems like nearly every sector of society is exploring AI’s capabilities. I’ve even tried it out to see what AI has to say about clarinet pedagogy. I’m back at it again today to see what AI suggests for my clarinet warm-up routine. Here are the results: (tl;dr and my thoughts on AI and clarinet at the end of this article – click here to jump down) Prompt: What’s a good clarinet warm-up routine? Response (copied from Chat GPT): A good clarinet warm-up routine should gradually prepare your body and mind for playing the instrument, and help…
All About the Clarinet d’Amore?
Happy Valentine’s Day! What better way to celebrate than by taking a look at this historical clarinet which has been making a recent comeback? Throughout the clarinet’s existence, the clarinet family tree has seen several additions in nearly every key, from the tiny A-flat clarinet to the mighty octo-contrabass clarinet. One peculiar member of the clarinet family is the clarinet d’amore (sometimes spelled clarinet d’amour) – literally the “love” clarinet. The clarinet d’amore was developed around the mid-18th century in Germany, and is most recognizable by its bulbous bell, which is similar to that of an English horn. (Fun fact: this bell is called Liebesfuss in German, which literally translates…
The Best Clarinet Romances to Perform this Valentine’s Day
What better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than with one of these beautiful Romances written for the clarinet? These lyrical pieces were written to evoke tenderness and heartfelt emotion, so whether you perform them on February 14 or year-round, both you and your audience will surely love them. ❤️ Here are some of my favorite Romances for clarinet: Happy Valentine’s Day!
AI Generated Clarinet Pedagogy
If you’ve been reading the news lately, you probably know that artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming much more prevalent. As I learn more about AI, I was curious to see what it had to say about clarinet pedagogy, so I fed it a few prompts to see what responses it has. Disclaimer: The responses below were generated by AI and should not be considered accurate clarinet pedagogy. Always consult trusted and qualified sources for your clarinet information. No matter how sophisticated technology becomes, there is nothing that can ever replace the specialty skills musicians spend their entire lives developing. AI Generated Clarinet Pedagogy Prompt: How do you assemble a clarinet?…