• 33 Fun musical challenges to keep you motivated while you’re at home

    For everyone out there who is stuck at home for the unforeseeable future, here are some fun challenges and ideas to keep you occupied and motivated until you can return to your normal schedule: Listen to all Mahler symphonies in a single day Listen/watch Wagner’s entire Ring Cycle (Der Ring des Nibelungen, WWV 86) Have a photo shoot with your instrument (hello, new DIY headshots!) Make a carrot clarinet (or see what other vegetables work well) Write a chronological list of your instrument’s major works (bonus points if you do it from memory) Tour music museums virtually Take advantage of all the free concerts online Make an arrangement of your…

  • 31 Clarinet Compositions Written by Female Composers

    In celebration of Women’s History Month, I’ve created a list of 31 pieces for clarinet written by female composers, one for every day this month. By no means is this list comprehensive, but I hope this serves as nice introduction to the wide variety of wonderful music for clarinet by women composers. I have arranged this list alphabetically by composer’s last name. Please note that many of these composers have written several works featuring the clarinet. Unsuk Chin Concerto Yi Chen Chinese Ancient Dances Yvonne Desportes Trois petits contes Marie Félicie Clémence de Grandval Deux Pièces Sarah Feigin Fantasy for clarinet and piano Keiko Fujiie 3 Pieces, Op. 5 Ida Gotkovsky…

  • 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…

  • 100 More Famous Female Clarinetists Throughout History

    Last year, I wrote a list of 100 famous female clarinetists throughout history (I also wrote a more in-depth article on historical female clarinetists). Obviously, 100 is barely breaking the surface of all the wonderfully talented female clarinetists from around the world (past, present, and future), so here is the much-awaited sequel to this list. As always, this list is not meant to be comprehensive. I intend to make this a multi-part series, so please comment below with other female clarinetists who you would like to see featured on subsequent installments. Juliette Adam Deborah Andrus Anaïde Apelian Arngunnur Árnadóttir Emily Bernstein Joséphine Besançon Marie Billotte Betty Bley Anne Boeykens Carmen…

  • 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…

  • 13 Things That Frighten Even the Bravest Clarinetist

    To paraphrase Bette Davis, “playing clarinet ain’t no place for sissies!” The mental fortitude and nerves of steel required for a career as a musician vanquish many a hopeful clarinetist. However, there are some things that terrify even the bravest of clarinetists: chipped reeds transposition altissimo register on the E-flat clarinet bass clef cracks in your clarinet playing reeds after extreme environmental changes Nielsen, Francaix, and/or Corigliano concertos Peter and the Wolf, Ginastera, Bartered Bride, Daphnis, Scherzo, etc d# minor (or the dreaded key signature of your choice) quick clarinet changes in orchestra unexpected appearances of C clarinet in orchestral music with no advance warning moldy reeds alto clarinet (can…

  • 30 Things Every Clarinetist Should Do Before 30

    By now, faithful readers should know about my love for lists, so I’ve created the clarinetist’s version of 30 before 30. If you’re looking to create a clarinet-inspired bucket list, here are my suggestions for 30 things every clarinetist should do before 30 (in no particular order): Perform a solo recital Teach someone else how to play the clarinet Attend a clarinet event, conference, or festival Have a group of BCF (best clarinet friends) Cultivate a signature skill (such as great rhythm, fast articulation, crazy technique, etc) Choose “your” piece, which you can perform on a moment’s notice Perform in a masterclass Perform in a band or orchestra (or both!)…

  • Historic High Notes in Clarinet Repertoire

    I’ve always loved hitting the high notes on the clarinet, and I consider it one of my musical strengths. I credit this to the friendly competition I had in high school with my best friends to see who could play higher (thanks Patrick and Robby!) and come up with the most fingerings for each note. (This could also be the reason I gravitate towards the E-flat clarinet instead of the bass, but that’s a subject for another day!) I’m currently preparing the Josef Rheinberger Sonata Op. 105a for a recital, and it has some uncharacteristically high notes for the Romantic period. It got me wondering – what are some of…

  • Music for Clarinet and Theremin or Ondes Martenot

    I’ve always been fascinated by unusual instruments (as witnessed by my obsession time spent playing the rare A-flat clarinet). A few months ago, I went down a rabbit hole and began researching the theremin and its not-so-distant relative, the ondes Martenot (sometimes called ondes musicales). These two early electronic instruments emit an eerie sound and immediately sparked my interest. My logical next question: “Are there any pieces for clarinet and theremin/ondes Martenot?” As a matter of fact, yes. But not many! Here’s a list I’ve compiled of every original piece I could find written for both clarinet and theremin or ondes Martenot. (Lists arranged alphabetically by composer’s last name. I’ve…

  • Famous Celebrities Who Played the Clarinet

    We all know that the clarinet is the best instrument around, so it’s no surprise that these celebrities played (or still play!) the clarinet: Woody Allen Gloria Estefan (she also played guitar!) Sara Evans Alan Greenspan Alyson Hannigan Jimmy Kimmel Eva Longoria (she was also a drum major!) Harpo Marx (check out this video of him goofing off with Benny Goodman and Reginald Kell) Nicki Minaj Jenna Mourey aka Jenna Marbles  Julia Roberts (she also played oboe!) Amanda Seyfried Steven Spielberg Kurt Vonnegut Jr. And one more “celebrity” worth mentioning: Jeffrey Dahmer. Although he is more infamous than famous, I thought this is an interesting bit of trivia. Don’t forget…