• 9 Educational and Engaging Ideas for Zoom Studio Classes

    Although teaching online will never replace in-person lessons, digital platforms like Zoom can present many opportunities to explore new methods to teach and share information. Here are a few ideas to shake things up at your next Zoom studio class: Organize a listening quiz. Create a playlist and use screen share to see how many students can correctly identify each piece. (Make sure to allow sharing of computer audio so students can actually hear the music, and make sure to hide the names of each piece.) Compete in a trivia challenge. You can use Zoom’s poll features to quiz students on repertoire, history, theory, pedagogy, and other important fundamentals. Host…

  • Ways to maximize your online music education this semester

    Music education certainly looks different this year as students and educators prepare for the start of a new semester. While each program has different rules and guidelines governing music education during this time, there are a few ways you can maximize your online experience as a music student or educator: Organize your work area. Before the semester starts, take a few hours to declutter and clean your work space. Tidy up loose papers at your desk, corral your cables and wires, find a comfortable chair, make sure you have good lighting, hang up photos or artwork, and gather all the supplies you’ll need so everything is in one place. Consider…

  • Let’s talk about reed rotation

    What is reed rotation and why is it important? Reed rotation is just what it sounds like – rotating the reeds you use when you practice or perform so that they all break in evenly. As a reed player, rotating your reeds is one of the simplest things you can do that will yield more consistent reeds and extend the lifespan of your reeds. Reed rotation is important because it provides you with more reed options in any given musical situation. If you rotate your reeds, you will have several good reeds in your case at a time, as opposed to one good reed which might vary from day to…

  • How often should you clean or replace your clarinet swab?

    If I ask you a question, do you promise you’ll give an honest answer? When was the last time you cleaned or replaced your clarinet swab? If you’re like many clarinetists (especially younger students who are learning the ins and outs of the instrument), chances are it’s been a while. Before I share my advice, I would like to offer a huge disclaimer that I am a classically trained clarinetist – not a medical or scientific professional. If you have specific questions about germs and the clarinet, especially concerning the clarinet during the current pandemic, you should look for scientific, peer-reviewed studies for this information. Back to cleaning your swab.…

  • How to use the Pomodoro Technique in the Practice Room

    If you’ve never heard of the Pomodoro Technique, it’s a time management skill used by people around the world. This technique utilizes specifically timed intervals (traditionally 25 minutes) called pomodoros, which is the Italian word for tomato. Why tomato? This is the design of the kitchen timer Pomodoro Technique creator Francesco Cirillo used while in university. During each pomodoro, you focus your attention to work on one task. Once the time is up, you move on to another task. After completing a few pomodoros, you are allowed to take a break. There are many more specific rules which you can discover on the official Pomodoro Technique website. The reason that…

  • Ways to reduce lower lip pain when playing clarinet

    Sometimes, playing clarinet can be a pain in the….lips. Some clarinetists may experience pain in their lower lip due to extended pressure and contact with the lower teeth. Although this is normal, you don’t have to play with pain. You’ll be happy to know that there are several ways to help alleviate this pain while you play clarinet. Here are a few of my favorite products that can help reduce lower lip pain in clarinetists: (I have personally tried items marked *. I have researched and collected several different products to share with you, and I strongly suggest trying different products until you find the best solution to reduce your…

  • The Clarinetist’s Tool Kit

    During my teaching these past few years, I’ve developed an analogy I like to call the clarinetist’s tool kit. I’m not referring to the literal tools a clarinetist might need such as pliers, screwdriver, or alcohol lamp (we’ll save that for another article). Instead, I refer to skills a clarinetist should develop to be ready for any musical situation. If you have an actual tool kit, there are probably a lot of tools you rarely or never use. You probably keep these because one day you might need them. This is true for the clarinetist’s tool kit. A clarinetist must develop a myriad of tools, some of which they might…

  • Random acts of kindness ideas for musicians

    The world can always use more kindness, and musicians can offer a unique type of kindness to others. In addition to using your music as a tool to spread happiness and good cheer, you can also use your platform and community to make someone else’s day a bit brighter. Here are a few random acts of kindness ideas for musicians: Leave a complimentary and encouraging comment on another musician’s video, recording, post or other type of content Send a DM to tell someone what their music means to you Like, share, retweet, or promote the work of another musician or artist Reach out to musicians you haven’t spoken to in…

  • 13 Productive musical activities for summer vacation (that aren’t practicing)

    Even though summer just officially began, it might feel like it’s been forever since your last semester ended. If you want to maximize your time you have until school begins again, here are a few ideas to get you motivated: Update your CV. Take a walk down memory lane and record all of the cool concerts, events, outreach, teaching, and other activities you’ve done this past year (or since you last updated your CV). Make a repertoire list. Repertoire lists are important documents to have for applications and auditions, so it’s important to create or update your list while you have some extra time. Make a musical bucket list. This…

  • How to assemble a clarinet

    The clarinet certainly does have its fair share of pieces, equipment, and accessories. Here’s everything you need to know to properly assemble your clarinet: Parts of a clarinet from top to bottom Mouthpiece (with ligature and reed) Barrel Upper joint Lower joint Bell Steps to assembling a clarinet Lay the case on a stable, flat surface and ensure that the case is not upside down before opening Attach the bell to the lower joint, being careful not to press any keys (silver parts) Attach the upper joint to the lower joint, being careful to not press any keys with excess pressure Make sure the bridge key is aligned (this connects…