• The Clarinetist’s Companion to Daphnis et Chloé

    If you’re on the orchestral clarinet audition circuit, chances are you’ve encountered the second orchestral suite from Daphnis et Chloé. This suite is from the one-act ballet (or choreographic symphony, as Ravel himself described it) premiered at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris in 1912, and it has haunted challenged clarinetists ever since. The original ballet is about an hour long, but Ravel created two orchestral suites which can be performed with our without a chorus. The second suite, our topic of discussion today, is more commonly performed and features the recognizable “Danse générale.” Without further ado, let’s dive into some tips and tricks to help you prepare this challenging excerpt!…

  • How Musicians Can Avoid Becoming A Grinch This Holiday Season

    December is a busy time of year, but it’s especially hectic if you are a musician. It’s easy to become a bit Grinch-like if you’re running from gig to gig, consisting of caffeine and adrenaline, and trying to enjoy your family and friends at the same time. Here are a few ways musicians can avoid turning into a Grinch and regain some holiday cheer: Be selective about which gigs you commit to. Gigs are great, but being so overcommitted that you barely have any time to enjoy your family or friends defeats the purpose of the holidays. Try to be selective and prioritize the most important gigs this season so…

  • How to Spend the 24 Hours Before Your Next Audition

    The 24 hours before an audition or a performance are a unique kind of hell for musicians. Do you cram in some final practice? Do you sleep late and stay away from your instrument? There’s no single formula for everyone, but here’s the advice I use before any important performance or audition: Avoid social media. To get in a good mental place, I avoid using social media for at least a day before my performance. I believe that you have to be a little selfish before auditions, and that includes not wasting any mental or emotional energy on social media. Pamper yourself. Self-care plays a huge role in my pre-audition…

  • Jettel Boot Camp

    By now, dedicated readers of Jenny Clarinet should know about my love for scales. I could practice them all day, every day without ever getting bored, and my scale book of choice was Baermann…until I discovered the Jettel scale exercises! Don’t get me wrong – there will always be a special place in my heart for Baermann, but the Jettel scales offer a wider variety of patterns (including both melodic and harmonic minors) and are devilishly difficult. I’ve worked on a few isolated scale patterns and exercises, but it’s much more fun when we all suffer work through the Jettel together! I’ve created the Jettel Boot Camp for September 2019,…

  • How to create a great recital program (and how it’s similar to planning a dinner party)

    Potentially unpopular opinion: I love creating recital programs. I have lists with ideas for future recital themes and programs, and it continues to grow with each new piece I discover. There is an art to choosing a great recital program – it should be well-balanced but also interesting for both audience and performer. Once you choose the program, you have to decide on a guest list of friends, family, and colleagues to invite. Then choose the date, find a venue, plan your outfit, etc, etc. If you think about it, planning a recital is oddly similar to hosting a dinner party. Selecting repertoire for a program is a lot like…

  • Common Clarinet Emergencies and How to Fix Them

    Picture this: you’re having a productive practice session. Things are going smoothly, you’re feeling great, you’re even having a good reed day, and then… Emergency strikes! Clarinet players are bound to cross certain inevitable problems. Don’t panic! Here are a few common clarinet emergencies and how you can fix them: My swab got stuck inside my clarinet! This is usually caused by the material wadding up inside the tube. Twist the pull several times to decrease the size of the material and carefully try to pull out. If it won’t budge, don’t go all Hulk on it – take it to a certified clarinet technician. Avoid this happening again by…

  • 2019 March Madness Orchestral Excerpts Tournament

    Let’s face it – orchestral excerpts are a necessary part of our clarinet existence. Whether you love them or hate them, they’re required of most serious clarinetists. They teach us valuable fundamentals, ensemble playing skills, and loads of patience throughout the years. Which is why I’ve created the 2019 Jenny Clarinet March Madness – Orchestral Excerpts tournament! This is a combination March Madness bracket (for all you sports fans) and orchestral excerpts boot camp. I’ve created a bracket with 32 standard orchestral excerpts for clarinet, and this bracket will serve as the boot camp and practice guideline for excerpts in March. Here’s how it works: I used a random online…

  • Alabama All State Audition Boot Camp for Clarinetists

    Happy November! The air’s getting colder as marching band comes to a close for another season, which can only mean one thing… All State auditions are just around the corner! That’s right, it’s time to dust off those scales and polish those etudes, because auditions will be here before you know it! Lucky for you, I’ve created a free 8-week boot camp for clarinetists of all ages to prepare for their All State audition, whether it’s your first time or you have a few auditions under your belt. I’m a veteran of the Alabama All State Band system, having made 1st chair in the Red Band multiple times, and I…

  • The Beginner’s Guide to Orchestral Excerpts

    If you’re a musician, you’ve probably crossed paths with a few orchestral excerpts throughout the years. For such short snippets of symphonic literature, you’d think excerpts would be more manageable and less stressful…but unfortunately, that’s not the case. For the uninitiated, what are orchestral excerpts and what’s the big deal? I remember my first experience with an orchestral excerpt. I was asked to record an excerpt from the Brahms 3rd Symphony for an audition in early high school. Having been raised as your typical band geek, I was well-versed in the ways of marching band tunes, patriotic pep songs, and other school band toe-tappers, but I had had little knowledge…

  • The Musician’s Guide to Overcoming Burnout and Amotivation

    Being a musician is pretty awesome most of the time. You get to work with talented colleagues, play amazing repertoire, and share your art with audiences. But then there are those times when being a musician is stressful, invalidating, and downright lonely. Musicians can experience crippling anxiety, self-doubt, and constant pressure from listeners. But usually, this pressure comes from within. I’ve gotten quite a few private messages on social media the last few weeks from people who are lacking motivation and feeling burnt out: “The fire is gone.” “I’m struggling to find the same drive I had when I first started getting serious about music.” If this sounds all too…