The Clarinet Journey:

The Path to Fulfilling Your Dreams

1: The Beginning

This is where we all start! Whether you started as a kid or picked it up as an adult, something drew you to the clarinet. This is also where the seeds of your clarinet dreams were planted.

"I want to sound like that"
"I'm going to play that song"
"Playing clarinet is so fun!"

It's such a sweet and innocent time, where you are excited just to get your first notes of Hot Cross Buns out. Unfortunately, it can be a bit short lived, as you start developing some bad habits and the squeaking and airy tone starts to bother you...

When I started playing, I declared to my band teach that I was going to be the best clarinetist ever. I definitely didn't know how much I didn't know...

2: Learning

People tend to move to the learning stage either by chance or necessity. The chance players are the ones who find playing comes to them easily, but they are looking for more. The necessity players are those who are starting to feel the frustration of not being able to get the darn instrument to do what they want!

And unfortunately, some players never grow to this stage and stagnate never realizing they could be so much better.

I reached the learning stage when I first heard a recording of Stanley Drucker playing the Weber Concertino...

I remember it vividly. It was my sophomore year of high school and up until then I had it easy. Since I liked band more than most of my classmates, I was one of the best players with very little effort.

In my lesson I was picking out a piece for Solo and Ensemble, and my teacher suggested the Weber Concertino and suggested I find a recording of it.

I had no idea this piece was a part of the standard repertoire, and when I searched for it on YouTube I casually clicked the first video that came up.

That's when it hit me. The playing was so soft and then loud, delicate and beautiful then fun, fast, and furious! 

Before this I had no idea what the clarinet was capable of...

In that moment I knew exactly how much I didn't know.

3: Learning Again

Part one of learning is the first eye opening moment, but it is a cyclical thing that comes up again and again.

Just when you think you have it figured out you will encounter something that opens your eyes to even greater possibilities.

For me that happened in 2012 when I attended the Lamont Pre-College Academy and met musicians my age or younger that were crazy good, 2013 when I heard Martin Frost's Dances to a Black Pipe album, 2016 when I went to the Aspen Summer Music Festival, 2019 when I got my Master's from Northwestern, 2021 when I did the ICA Young Artist Competition, and 2023 when I researched Rayleigh's clarinet and the physics of the instrument, just to name a few.

4: Growing

As those eye opening learning moments come up, you have two options. Get intimidated by what you don't know and give up, or lean into it and grow. If you give up your journey is over, but if you have a growth mindset and keep learning, the sky is the limit.

Every time I was confronted with new discoveries, or pushed into a larger pond, I used it as inspiration. 

It usually goes something like this:

"Wow, I am so good at the clarinet"
*Experiences something new or someone better*
"Shoot, this music is so hard, they are so much better, etc."
"But, if they can do it, so can I"
"Now, I better figure out how"

And that's the magic of growth. Figuring out how to do something you once didn't even know was possible.

5: Mastering

Before we reach this final step, I must emphasize that this isn't the end. Music is awesome because it has an infinite skill ceiling, so the process of learning and growing is really never ending.

However, once you have done enough learning and growing there are some skills that you start to master.

I'm so grateful that I get to refine my mastery through teaching and QuickStart Clarinet. In many ways I have learned more through teaching than I even did studying, and that's the beauty of mastery.

Yes, there are always new skills to be learned and even skills that are mastered still have room to grow, but when you know something well enough that you can show others how to do it and make their lives easier that is really special.

And that's what I am here to do!

Begin Your Journey with Me!

As you can see I have been through every leg of the clarinet journey and am constantly continuing to learn and grow. If you would like my best resources and shortcuts for your clarinet journey, then click the button to Get Started and create a login for my Free Members Area that has a lot of the things that I wish I had known much earlier in my journey.

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