My Clarinet Journey
Throughout all of the ups and downs, playing clarinet has been a constant. I am so excited to be sharing my story and my passion for playing with you!
I can't wait to see where your clarinet journey will take you!
My Clarinet Dream
My first clarinet dream came in my first year of playing when I declared to my teacher that I was going to be the best clarinet player ever!
Maybe I will get there someday, but along the way I have realized two things: 1) I don't think it's possible to definitively be the best and 2) it is much more enjoyable to just appreciate the process of growth.
My current clarinet dream is to decipher how to play the clarinet and share my knowledge and passion with as many people as I can!
I'm Not Talented...
I have always enjoyed playing clarinet, but I am by no means a child prodigy or someone who won a major audition or competition right out of school. I have, however, studied with many great teachers, conquered tons of problems in my own playing, and helped many students do the same.
My lack of instant success means that I have years of dedicated learning, practicing, and struggling through my problems, so I can help you solve your problems more quickly and easily than I did!
My Journey So Far
I think you will find the first part of my journey quite relatable, as it is a pretty average story. I was quite the band geek and I loved playing ever since my grandparents bought me my first clarinet, but I almost never practiced and was reluctant to take lessons.
Everything changed for me though, when I attended the Lamont School of Music Pre-College Summer Academy after my Junior year of High School...
I was one of the better players at my school, and had been since I started playing. I even made All-State Honor Band the previous year. But that summer academy was a completely different story! The musicians there were really next level, and suddenly I went from a big fish in a little pond to a small fish in a much bigger pond.
After that, I knew I wanted to be like the friends I met there and the musicians I heard there. I also knew that I had a lot of work to get there...
The next year, I started practicing regularly and studying with the teacher I would end up studying with for my undergraduate, and that's when things started to come together!
I discovered the magic of fundamentals, and my playing started to take off. The next year, I was first chair in the All-State Honor Band, and I was accepted to all of the programs I applied to for a Bachelor's of Music in Clarinet Performance.
By discovering the power of fundamentals, I was able to take my playing to the next level!
Then again, I was pushed into a bigger pond as I started college. My first quarter I was dead last in chair placements, but that didn't stop me. I had a good teacher, and I knew the power of fundamentals, so I had a clear path to success.
That first year of college was such an exciting time of growth! I was learning so much new information and practicing more than ever, and I was getting some serious results. The possibilities of the clarinet were wide open and I was loving every minute of it...even practicing!
After my second year of college, I had improved enough to apply to some bigger summer festivals, and that summer I attended the Domaine Forget and Rocky Ridge festivals where I studied with some amazing teachers including Charles Neidich, the clarinet professor at Juilliard.
I learned so much at these festivals and again my abilities grew to the next level, but these festivals were just a stepping stone towards the two main goals of my undergraduate: getting into a great graduate program and attending the Aspen Summer Music Festival.
For those who don't know, Aspen is an 8 week long summer festival that is one of the most prestigious and elite festivals with only 1 out of every 100 applicants being accepted. After a grueling 6 months of working on the audition and about a dozen hours recording to get the perfect take, I was accepted to the program where I studied with Principal Clarinetist of the Pittsburgh Symphony, Michael Rusinek!
My graduate school auditions were my next opportunity to take my playing to the next level!
Thanks to everything I learned at Aspen and the continued support of my teacher, I was ready to spend the next year diligently preparing for the greatest challenge I had yet to face. Another year of audition preparation, but this time it wasn't just a list of excerpts, but a list of excerpts in addition to the entire Mozart Concerto, Nielsen Concerto, and I even had to do the cadenza from the Copland Concerto and a couple Rose Etudes for pre-screens.
All of this preparation led up to a whirlwind of five weeks auditioning for different graduate schools. It was intense, and don't even get me started on the travel expenses!
But, it was also like a mini summer festival because during those 5 weeks I took lessons with each of my prospective teachers who are some of the best teachers in the country and the world. The knowledge that I gained from each of the lessons was fantastic, and after all of them I felt like I was at a whole different level again! If only I had had another month to implement all that knowledge before the auditions!
After it was all done, not only was I a better clarinetist, but I had also made my decision to attend Northwestern University where I got my Master's in Clarinet Performance in 2019, studying with Steve Cohen, a student of the great Robert Marcellus, Lawrie Bloom, bass clarinetist of the Chicago Symphony, and Leslie Grimm, who I didn't know much about going in but discovered she is one of the best teachers out there!
Since then, I have auditioned for a few military bands, the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, and I am more passionate than ever about sharing my knowledge with you! I may be young (at least for now) and clarinet may not have always come easy to me, but I have worked incredibly hard to gather as much knowledge as I can, and I hope that knowledge can help make your clarinet journey even more fun and enjoyable!