• The Complete Guide to Making All State

    All State band is the big leagues for young musicians. It’s an incredible opportunity to meet talented musicians from around the state, work with guest conductors, and perform challenging music. Since musical talent cannot be measured through statistics (as in sports), All State allows young musicians to strive for and achieve tangible goals in an otherwise subjective field. But you probably already know all of this. When I ask my students what their musical goals are each year, the number one goal is always to make All State band. I was first chair clarinet in the Alabama All State band all four years in high school, so I understand the rigorous…

  • The Complete Guide to Clarinet Tuning

    As if playing clarinet wasn’t already difficult enough (reeds, breathing, coordinating both hands) we also have to worry about tuning.  Tuning (also known as intonation) is more than just aiming for the green light on the tuner.  Tuning is a complex science with different variables specific to each instrument.  The most frustrating part? You must constantly listen and make adjustments – tuning isn’t something you can do on auto-pilot. Let’s start with the basics. What is tuning? Tuning is the adjustment of musical pitches to match a reference. The reference can be a variety of things, including frequency level (A=440 Hz in the United States), or other musicians with whom…