• Self-care tips for music educators teaching online

      This post also appeared on the Music Under Quarantine blog. Each person around the world is facing their own unique challenges in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the challenges many educators are facing is maintaining motivation and positivity, which is essential to help students stay engaged as we finish the school year. One of the unofficial job descriptions for music educators is to embrace your role as a cheerleader and motivator. A good teacher must be knowledgeable and skilled at their craft, but they must also inspire creativity and enthusiasm from their students. But it can be challenging to motivate others when you’re feeling anxious or uninspired…

  • Top tips to maximize remote clarinet education (for teachers and students)

    As music educators around the world make the switch to online lesson and course content, I would like to share several of my top tips for teaching clarinet virtually. Although it can be hard to replace face-to-face lessons, there are several cool features and ideas you can utilize during the next few weeks. I have been teaching Skype clarinet lessons for several years now, and here are my top tips to help your clarinet students with online lessons: Logistics Choose your platform. There are so many different options to choose from for online lessons. I like Skype and Zoom, but you can also try Google Duo, Facebook Messenger, or any…

  • Playing Clarinet with Asthma

    Clarinetists know that one of the most important elements of clarinet-playing is, well….air. So, what can asthmatic clarinetists do to overcome respiratory difficulties when playing the clarinet? Asthma doesn’t have to stand in the way of your clarinet goals! The good news is that many studies have shown that playing a wind instrument “has the potential of being a long-term therapeutic agent for asthmatics” (you can read a few studies here and here). Here is some advice for clarinetists suffering from asthma to maximize their respiratory potential: DISCLAIMER: I am a clarinetist – not a qualified medical expert. Please consult your doctor before incorporating any of these into your practice routine.…

  • 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…

  • An End of Term Note of Encouragement for Musicians

    Whether you are currently a music student, teacher, freelancer, or any other type of musician, you are probably feeling the stress as another year comes to a close. Compounding that anxiety is the realization that we are about to enter another decade! I’m here to reassure you that you are so close to finishing this hurdle in your musical journey. I know that many of you reading this right now are probably burnt out and feeling uninspired. There never seem to be enough hours in the day to finish what you have to do, let alone what you want to do. It’s easy to become overwhelmed by everything, and you…

  • How to Identify Counterfeit Clarinet Equipment

    In recent years, there has been a noticeable increase in the amount of counterfeit musical instruments and accessories on the market. With the ease of online shopping, musicians can research a variety of options, compare prices, and read reviews. The downside to this is that many consumers unintentionally fall victim to purchasing counterfeit products. I spoke with François Kloc, President & CEO of Buffet Crampon USA about the rise of counterfeit clarinet products and red flags to avoid. Here are a few warning signs he mentioned which could indicate a counterfeit product: Be cautious of suspiciously low prices. This is the number one red flag for counterfeit products. Fakes will…

  • How to Focus on Your Own Musical Progress and Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

    One of my favorite aspects of being a musician is all the wonderful friendships that have developed throughout my musical journey. I’m so #blessed to have met and performed with people from around the globe, and it’s so awe-inspiring to think that music is what brought us all together. Thanks to the powers of social media, it’s easy to stay in touch with my music friends. The downside of this is that it can be all too easy to get caught up in comparing your musical progress with the progress of your friends. Musicians embark on a multitude of different paths, and there is no universal journey – so why…

  • The Musician’s Guide to Studying Abroad: How to Turn Your Dreams Into Reality

    Many musicians dream of one day studying abroad – to study with a certain teacher, experience different pedagogy, become fluent in another language, learn more about another culture, or just broaden their musical perspectives. But dreaming about studying abroad is where it ends for most people. I’m here to tell you how to turn your study abroad dreams into a reality. I’m an American clarinetist, and I’ve lived in 3 different countries and visited 30 countries (and counting!). I moved to Paris in August 2015 to study with Philippe Cuper at the Versailles Conservatory, where I received my master’s degree in Musique, interprétation et patrimoine (musical interpretation and cultural heritage).…

  • 7 Ways to Continue Improving Musically During Summer Vacation

    Hurrah! You’re nearly done with another year of school, and the freedom of summer is so tantalizingly close! Summer vacation is a time for rest, relaxation, and recharging – but not relearning everything you worked so hard to achieve during the school year! The freedom summer presents is a double-edged sword – it’s great for impromptu decisions, but the lack of a structured schedule can derail event the most valiant motivational efforts. Here are a few ways you can keep your chops up (in proper band director lexicon) and stay musically motivated during the summer: Practice. Sounds obvious, but I’m always surprised to hear how many students want to improve…

  • Graduation Gift Ideas for the Clarinetist in Your Life

    Congratulations! A special clarinetist in your life is graduating high school, college, or beyond, and you would like to celebrate all their accomplishments and hard work! Here are some graduation presents any clarinetist would be happy to receive: Clarinet care package. Get creative and put together a care package. You can include anything you think they’ll like, such as a cute practice journal, comfy practice socks, travel toothbrush (oral hygiene is important for clarinetists!), lip balm, small toiletry/makeup bag to corral accessories, water bottle, and whatever else you find. A quality music stand. Confession time: I used a portable metal music stand for way too long, and one of the…