• How practicing is a lot like building a gingerbread house

    If you’ve ever built and decorated a gingerbread house, you know that there’s a process to achieving a festive, Instagram-worthy result. When you’re building a gingerbread house, you can’t expect all the pieces to come together at once – you have to start with a solid foundation, measure and create patterns for the walls, make sure the icing is the right consistency to hold all the pieces together, collect an assortment of candy decorations, and a plethora of other methodical steps to ensure a beautiful (and delicious) final result. When you’re building a gingerbread house, you might encounter bumps and bruises along the way – that’s just how the cookie…

  • Online Gift Ideas for the Musicians in Your Life

    The holiday season undoubtedly looks a lot different this year than most of us had planned. Even though many traditions and festivities have changed, that’s no excuse not to find the perfect gift for the musicians in your life! You can buy all items on this gift guide online, so you can stay socially distanced and musically connected with loved ones this holiday season. The best part? These gifts are procrastination-proof! Since all of these gifts are entirely online, you don’t have to wait for shipping! There are hundreds of amazing online retailers which offer valuable goods and services tailored to musicians, and this list is just a starting point…

  • Horror films which feature the clarinet

    If this is your first Jenny Clarinet Halloween, you’re in for a real (trick or) treat! If there’s one thing I love nearly as much as clarinet, it’s Halloween. During October each year, I share the spooky side of the clarinet world, from unusual history, haunted pieces, and even mysteries of the clarinet. First up, you can’t properly celebrate Halloween with some scary movies! Get ready for some horror films with a heavy dose of clarinet! (By the way, I’m always looking for new horror films to watch, so if you know of any clarinet-infused scary movies you’d like me to add to this list, please let me know!) Grab…

  • Crypto-musicology books to read this Halloween

    It’s no secret that I enjoy exploring the dark and spooky corners of clarinet and music history, such as the bizarre deaths of historical clarinetists, final resting places of famous clarinetists, or the curse of the yellow clarinet. If you’re looking to discover more strange tales from music history (which I’ve officially dubbed crypto-musicology), here are a few of my favorite books to get you started: Beethoven’s Skull by Tim Rayborn. This book explores the “Dark, Strange, and Fascinating Tales from the World of Classical Music and Beyond.” These are the tales you probably never learned in music history! Cranioklepty: Grave Robbing and the Search for Genius by Colin Dickey.…

  • The musical medium who holds a clue to the missing Mozart clarinet concerto manuscript

    One of clarinet history’s greatest mysteries is the whereabouts of the manuscript to Mozart’s beloved Concerto for Clarinet in A Major, K. 622, written in 1791 for Anton Stadler. We know that Mozart gave his fellow freemason friend Anton Stadler the manuscript of his new concerto on October 10, 1791 (only two days after he finished orchestrating the piece), along with 200 florins for “travel money” before Stadler embarked on what would become a five-year tour of Eastern Europe. (By the way, 200 florins might not sound like much, but it was the equivalent to a quarter of Mozart’s salary as a Viennese court composer.) Stadler began his tour with…

  • The Curse of the Yellow Clarinet

    Longtime Jenny Clarinet readers know that nothing fascinates me more than the dark, strange, or creepy history of the clarinet (like the clarinet curse or the bizarre deaths of historical clarinetists.) While researching an entirely unrelated subject, I stumbled upon an old book which mentions a superstition involving a yellow clarinet. This book, written in 1899 by Leon Mead, is titled The Bow-legged Ghost, and Other Stories: A Book of Humorous Sketches, Verses, Dialogues, and Facetious Paragraphs. According to this book, “There is a peculiar superstition among certain theatrical people that an old-fashioned yellow clarinet in the orchestra is a sure omen of bad luck or misfortune to them.” This…

  • 2020 March Madness Clarinet Concerti Tournament

    Back by popular demand – March Madness, Jenny Clarinet style! Last year was the battle of the orchestral excerpts, and this year it’s time to see which one of our beloved clarinet concerti is the champion! The Jenny Clarinet March Madness tournament is a fun and interactive way to discover new clarinet concerti and revisit timeless favorites. Here’s how it works: I’ve modeled this March Madness bracket after the famous basketball brackets (for all you sports fans). I’ve created a bracket with 32 of the most famous concerti for clarinet, and I used a random online generator to randomly pair each clarinet concerto for the first round. Before the tournament…

  • 10 Lists to Get You Organized and Inspired for the New Decade

    Happy New Year! There has always been something magical about the feeling of new years and new beginnings – a chance for newly invigorated ideas and goals. It should come as no surprise to longtime readers of Jenny Clarinet that I’m a huge fan of lists, so I thought I’d share a few of my favourite lists to get you motivated to make this decade your best yet! For each list, make sure you are thorough and detailed to reap the maximum benefits. (Note: the primary focus of each list is the last ten years, but feel free to expand to any timeline you want.) So, grab a pen and…

  • How to Maintain Your Practice Schedule During the Holidays

    There’s no doubt about it, December is a hectic time of year. Combine the holidays with the general end of year craziness, and it can wreak havoc on your practice schedule. This is especially dangerous for musicians, as many college and festival auditions are at the beginning of the year. While it might feel nice now to take some time off, you probably wouldn’t feel so great as your auditions approach. Here are a few ways you can maintain an effective practice schedule during the end of year crunch time: Practice first thing in the morning. For me, there is nothing worse than the nagging feeling of having to practice…

  • Stocking Stuffer Gift Ideas for Clarinetists

    Looking for stocking stuffer ideas for the clarinetist in your life this holiday season? Here are a few ideas for some inexpensive gifts any clarinetist will surely appreciate: Reeds Cork grease Lip balm (not to be confused with cork grease!) A new swab Mouthpiece Ligature Mouthpiece pouch Mouthpiece patches Thumb cushion Reed case Small toiletry case (to corral all these cool accessories) Water bottle/coffee mug Music bag Stand accessories (stand light, cupholder, tray, etc) Note: Keep in mind that clarinet equipment is a personal choice, so consider asking them which equipment they want. Better yet, give them a voucher so they can try a few items and choose their favorite.…