• Clarinet Care 101

    Another school year is right around the corner! Whether you’re just beginning your clarinet journey or would like to review common clarinet care tips, I’ve got you covered! Welcome to Clarinet Care 101! Below, I’m covering basic clarinet care and maintenance, as well as answering some common questions. How often should I swab? I try to swab my clarinet about every 15-20 minutes. If your clarinet starts sounding spitty or you hear water in your keys (that annoying gurgling sound that always seems to interrupt a beautiful phrase), it’s time to swab. If you are breaking in a new clarinet, you should swab much more frequently. How often should I…

  • How to achieve delicate attacks on clarinet

    At first glance, the words “delicate attacks” might seem like an oxymoron (who decided to call them attacks in the first place?!). Despite the seeming contradiction, it is possible to play beautiful, delicate attacks on the clarinet across all registers. First things first – what is an attack? Simply put, attacks are the beginning of each note you play. Depending on the articulation you are using and the style of music you are playing, some attacks will be more emphatic (such as accented or marcato notes), while others should be more subtle (legato notes and lyrical passages). It’s important to develop a wide variety of styles for your attacks so…

  • Your Clarinet Summer Glow Up Guide

    Happy summer! (If we’re being pedantic, it doesn’t officially start until next week, but these high temperatures could have fooled me!) If you want to use your summer break for a major musical glow up, you’ve come to the right place! If you’re unfamiliar, a glow up is a positive transformation, whether it’s physical, mental, spiritual, and now…musical! There are tons of ways you can improve this summer to complete your clarinet glow up, and here are a few of my recommendations: Set goals. A glow up is all about feeling more confident with yourself, so in order to do that, you should make a list of goals or skills…

  • The Musician’s Guide to Artist Residencies

    Hello from Austria! If you’re subscribed to my newsletter, you know all about my Austrian adventures, including my recent and upcoming projects and performances. I’m currently in Krems an der Donau as an Artist-in-Residence Nieder√∂sterreich, where I am researching and performing the clarinet compositions of Ernst Krenek in collaboration with the Ernst Krenek Institut. I’m very thankful to have done artist residencies around the world, and I wanted to share my advice to help other musicians learn more about artist residencies. What is an artist residency? Simply put, an artist residency is an opportunity for artists (from a multitude of disciplines) to live, work, and collaborate in a designated space.…

  • Band Directors: Quick Fixes to Help Improve Your Clarinet Section

    Hats off to all the band directors out there! I truly respect what you do for music and music education. I think one instrument is challenging enough, and it’s amazing that you make all of them sound great together! Throughout the years, I’ve had the opportunity to work with several band programs at the middle school, high school, and university levels. During these clinics, I’ve created the following list of quick fixes to help your clarinet section sound even more awesome than they do now: Ligature before reed. (This one is especially important for beginning band) From day one, train your clarinetists to always put on the ligature before placing…

  • 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.…