• How to avoid popped attacks on clarinet

    Imagine this – you’re standing on stage, the lights are dimmed, and you’re ready to play your first entrance when… A sharp spike in the sound ruins the moment you’ve been practicing! Popped attacks are unfortunately very common on the clarinet. These can be frustrating, but these can be avoided with these tips. First up, what causes popped attacks? These are the most common causes of popped attacks, but keep in mind that there might be other factors which can contribute to popped attacks on the clarinet. Now that we know some causes of popped attacks, here are some tips to avoid popped attacks on clarinet: You might also like…

  • Quick Fix Friday: Lean into lower notes

    Happy Friday! Have you ever seen a passage like the one below with large intervallic leaps? Passages like this can be difficult both technically and on a musical level. The tendency is for the higher notes to pop out, and there is often an imbalance in dynamics. The quick fix? Lean into the lower notes! When you have large intervallic leaps, many clarinetists focus on the higher notes. This makes sense, since they’re more likely to pop or squeak. Instead of focusing on the higher notes, lean into the lower notes. These should serve as a musical springboard to catapult you to the higher notes. This will also help equalize…

  • 10 More Ways to Become a Better Clarinetist In Under 10 Seconds

    Let me preface this post by saying that the clarinet is a lot of fun, but it’s also a lot of work. True progress comes from consistent practice efforts throughout many months, years, and decades. That being said, there are a few quick and easy improvements you can make in under 10 seconds (yes, really!) I’m excited to share even more ways you can become a better clarinetist in under 10 seconds. (If you haven’t already, be sure to check out the first blog post in this series – it was one of my first blog posts ever!) Here are 10 more ways you can become a better clarinetist in…

  • Quick Fix Friday: Say Cheers to Good Hand Position

    Happy Friday! This week, we’re saying cheers to the weekend, but also to good hand position! ? So, raise a glass (mugs, coffee cups, and others work best) and notice your hand position as your fingers wrap around the cup. (Don’t hold the cup by the handle.) Do you see how your fingers are slightly curved? The fingers should be relaxed, and there should be no unnatural positions or tensions. Another way to check your hand position is to bring your arms to your side and let your fingers relax. This is also great hand position to use when playing clarinet! Happy Friday, and happy practicing!

  • Quick Fix Friday: Tongue the Ties

    Happy Friday! This week’s quick fix is one of my favorites, since it’s helped me improve my rhythmic precision. Are ties messing up your rhythm? If so, you’re not alone – ties are great to create musical tension and suspension, but they can also obscure the rhythm. The quick fix? Practice the passage a few times, tonguing the tied note so you can better feel the rhythm and subdivision. After this feels comfortable, add the tie back in for more solid and stable rhythm. A lot of times, like in the musical example below, the tie connects to a downbeat. If the rhythm isn’t precise, it can also interfere with…

  • 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…