Sunday, December 30, 2012

“The word ‘education’ comes from the Latin word educere, meaning ‘to draw out.’ We are not here to feed information into our students but to bring out the abilities within then.”
From The Art of Practicing by Madeline Bruser

Saturday, December 29, 2012

My hubby and I just made it home from our winter break cross country trip to visit family and friends!  Our bird Robert “the Wonder Chicken” is a seasoned traveler and has been very good about these long drives even though he is pushing 22.  Christmas gigs are over now so we’re enjoying a nice week off and by “a nice week off,” I actually mean practicing a ton for upcoming gigs and auditions.

I’ve also decided to go ahead and go for a full marathon this spring, possibly the Big D marathon.  I’m also participating in my first “virtual race,” the Sandy Hooks Elementary Memorial Half Marathon and 5k.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Christmas Gigs

We had a nice Christmas pops concert last night with the Monroe Symphony.  This is actually the second time that we’ve performed with Ben Utecht, who is a former NFL player and is now pursuing a singing career.  It was a fun, upbeat program and all of the audience members that I talked to afterwards really enjoyed it.  I’m always grateful for pops concerts because they attract so many audience members who don’t usually attend the symphony.  I have another round of Christmas church gigs next week and I went caroling at a nursing home last weekend so it’s been a very musical December so far!

In other news, I’ve decided to run another half marathon this spring and will hopefully attempt my first full marathon next fall.  Wish me luck!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Tonight's program with the Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra:

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Starting the Season with the Monroe Symphony

We had a great time performing in Monroe this week!  My husband also got to come and play principal horn this time and we had some time to see the sights.  This of course includes enjoying the local cuisine:

We feasted on jambalaya and étouffée at Cormier’s and it was delicious!  We also hit Rawz which has a really great sushi menu, I wish we had a Rawz in Denton.  We also had time to check out the Masur Museum of Art and run the trails at Kiroli Park.  Even with a missing ‘l’ this is a perfect trail for a hornist and clarinetist to run on!

The concert went well last night.  Hannah Urdea, who won the Marjorie Stricklin Emerging Artists Competition, was our soloist and performed Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto in D major.  Rossini’s Semiramide Overture and Copland’s Appalachian Spring were also on the program.  We had a lot of very young concertgoers last night who came and visited us backstage afterwards, which is wonderful!  Looking forward to coming back in December! 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Starting the Season with the Monroe Symphony

I am looking forward to starting the season with the Monroe Symphony next week!  On the program: Overture to Semiramide by Rossini, Appalachian Spring by Copland, and Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 35 by Tchaikovsky.  I’m also playing Appalachian Spring next month on another gig.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

My First Half Marathon

The rare non-music post.  I finished my first half marathon last week and it was a pretty big milestone for me.  When I started running, I had a hard time even running 60 seconds at a time.  Hard work, dedication, and training pay off!  That applies to clarinet practice as well of course.

Monday, September 17, 2012

I’m enjoying a cup of coffee before I fly back to Dallas today. I did have a little down time while in Rochester so I was able to visit Susan B. Anthony’s home and fit in a 10 mile run along the beautiful canal path (my half marathon is in less than a week!). Of course, I had some delicious New York pizza. There aren’t any pictures of that since I was pretty famished after the run!

I’m playing the best that I ever have so I’m ready to get back to Dallas and do some more practicing. Looking forward to starting the season, I have some good concerts coming up!

Monday, September 3, 2012

I've Been Just a Little Busy...

School is back in session here in Texas so of course that means scheduling private lessons for the five wonderful schools that I teach at!  Between that and practicing, this is why none of you have heard from me for weeks.

Since I always have students asking about events around the area, one new addition to my website is there is now a “Student Opportunities” tab on the right hand toolbar.  This is going to be an ongoing list of local upcoming events, competitions, workshops, and other resources.  I will update it regularly.
Aside from being busy with back to school activities, I made a trip back to Georgia to visit family.  I was also supposed to go to New Orleans last week but decided to cancel since the weather was less than ideal! 

Next week, New York!

Monday, August 6, 2012


What a fantastic ClarinetFest!  I’m glad to be home though, at least for a few days before I take off to Atlanta.

The last few days at ClarinetFest were eventful.  We had our 44 contra clarinet performance. The group was named “A legal contraband.”  One of the highlights of the performance was seeing the faces of the people in the audience while we played.  Definitely one of the more unique performances of my career this far.

One topic that was more prominent at this conference then I’ve seen in the past was using technology in your clarinet studio.  Adam Ballif focused on using tools such as SmartMusic, Finale, Pro Tools, and iPhone/iPod apps.  Clarinet Cache’s Rachel Yoder and Kelle Lignitz had a very nice presentation complete with a handout full of resources for teachers.  They were able to demonstrate many of the most useful apps such as Tonal Energy.  Check out their blog, they will be posting their presentation at a future date.
Memorable performances were given by Gregory Smith (Première Rhapsodie) and Jessica Phillips Rieske (Mozart Clarinet Concerto).  I’m sorry that I missed Eddy Vanoosthuyse’s performance of Scott McAllister’s X Concerto!  Ricardo Morale and Corrado Giuffredi also gave a joint master class.

It was a great conference and I hope to see everyone at OU Clarinet Symposium next year.  I doubt that I will make it to Italy next year for ClarinetFest 2013…but you never know!

I owe a HUGE thank you to Sigma Alpha Iota International Music Fraternity who awarded me a grant to attend and play at the conference this year.  It’s a great organization to be a part of.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

ClarinetFest: Day 3

Another extremely busy day just flew by!  I didn’t even make it to the booths to try out the rest of the new equipment that I didn’t get to try yesterday but tomorrow I’m going first thing before everyone starts packing it up.

This morning, I got to check out a few lectures focusing on the teaching of Robert Marcellus.  The first lecture that was led by Dennis Nygren and John Weigand focused on teaching technique.  The second was a panel discussion focusing on the summer master classes that Marcellus taught between 1975 until 1991.  Apparently, these master classes were recorded on reel to reel tapes and have now been converted to digital media and will be available to the public through the Northwestern University library.  This is pretty exciting!  I was not able to stay until the end of this discussion so if anyone got the scoop on when they will be available, please share!

Afterwards, I went to the recital hall and checked out some performances by Malena McLaren, Gregory Oakes, and the Ironwood Trio.  After lunch, we also attended Jessica Phillips Rieske’s master class.  The evening concert focused on duos with wind ensemble and afterwards we headed to the Embassy for a UNT reunion and the Vandoren party.  We had a good time!  One more full day left and then on Sunday I’ll be playing with the 44 contra clarinet ensemble.

Friday, August 3, 2012

ClarinetFest: Day 2

We had a very full second day of ClarinetFest. The day began with a recital featuring works with clarinet an percussion. Karem Simon began with a flashy piece “Cadenzas” by Alexina Louie and Jesse Krebs followed with a beautiful piece “Like Gravity” by John Allemier which included violin, cello, and marimba.
Because this conference is focusing on trends in pedagogy and performance (both past and present), there was a huge emphasis on Daniel Bonade’s teachings today. The first lecture that I attended was lead by Larry Guy and included lots of musical examples of Bonade’s playing both as a very nice handout and as audio examples from the CD that he has compiled. Janice Minor also had a wonderful presentation on the Rose 40 studies “Daniel Bonade Style.”

Of course, we made time for the exhibits and I bought lots of new supplies and tried new equipment. I did not get to try the Buffet Divine yet but they will let us try it out tomorrow since they showed it off tonight.
After a wonderful dinner at Misty’s, we caught the evening performance featuring Corrado Giuffredi and Cesare Chiacchiaretta (accordion). Ricardo Morales also joined them for an arrangement of Mendelssohn’s Concertpiece No. 2. The evening concluded with two world premier pieces played by the ClarinetFest Bass Clarinet Ensemble.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

ClarinetFest 2012

I made it to Lincoln this afternoon for ClarinetFest! We kicked off the evening right with a social hour accompanied by clarinet music. It was a great time to catch up with old friends and meet new clarinetists.
The evening concerts were delightful! The Italian clarinetist, Antonio Tinelli really captured the audience with his musicality and his charm. Works included a U.S.A. premiere of a piece by Angelo Inglese, two works by Nino Rota, a work by Ante Grgin, and concluded with a nice arrangement of Rhapsody in Blue.
After a quick dinner, I made it back to catch the last half of Michael Lowenstern’s concert. I watched him perform back in the spring at Texas Clarinet Colloquium (and bought his newest CD). He never disappoints!
Anyways, we start back up bright and early tomorrow so I’m signing off. Can’t wait to try all of the new equipment tomorrow when the exhibits open!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Oh, Recycled Books! I have spent too much money here.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

A Few More Weeks until ICA

And 44 Contra madness!

"The resulting sound should resemble a flock of angry geese" is my favorite instruction. The piece contains a 44-note cluster…not sure I can quite picture this yet.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

I finally replaced my old bass clarinet! Introducing my Selmer Model 37 Low C bass.

Delicious cookies from one of my students today!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Playing (Less) Hurt

I love a practical book, and this one applies to all musicians:

Let’s face it, if you’re a serious musician practicing several hours a day on top of your ensemble and teaching commitments, you’ve probably been injured at some point. This book is an easy to understand guide about different types of injuries related to being a musician, ways to prevent them, or ways to get help if you’re already injured. The stories from other musicians are very easy to relate to. Although some of them are downright scary, it’s a good reality check reminding us that taking care of yourself is important.
I actually finished reading this book a few weeks ago and have been following some of her stretching exercises before and after I play. It makes a big difference in how I feel. The exercises take very little time and the illustrations are easy to understand.

As she states throughout the book, this is not a substitute for consulting a doctor. To educate yourself, she has provided an amazing resource list in the back of the book listing different doctors, equipment, and other products that are helpful to finding the answers.

Be sure and check out Janet Horvath’s website for more information.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Talent is Overrated

Talent is Overrated by Geoff Colvin.  This book was excellent, I checked it out at our local library but I will definitely be buying it to add to my own collection.  It examines what separates some of the most extraordinary people in their fields from those who simply do well: deliberate practice.  If you’ve read The Talent Code or Outliers, you’ll already be familiar with many of the concepts but it does provide a different viewpoint.  His arguments are presented well with evidence to back them up and the stories are inspiring.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Summer Projects

Although I’ve had a great turn out for summer lessons, I am actually finding a little time to relax, regroup, and recharge the batteries.  So what have I been up to besides teaching?

Practicing  Well of course this is always a priority, but it’s different during the summer when you don’t have a concert or audition to constantly prepare for.  I’m definitely not complaining, performing is one of the greatest joys of my life after all, but it does give me a chance to go back to fundamentals and to start new projects.  I’m hoping to have some recordings and possibly video up on the website soon.

Reorganizing  Check out my revamped office:

I think that a beautiful and well organized practice space always helps me to be as productive as possible.  Also, this gives me a chance to put my Pinterest skills to good use. I don’t recommend repainting a file cabinet…take my word for it.

Reading I’ve been really wearing my Kindle and library card out and I promise that they’re not all music books.  I’m about to start, Talent is Overrated so look for a review soon.

Traveling  Planning trips to Oklahoma, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Georgia to visit friends and family.  I’ll be heading to Nebraska for ClarinetFest as well.

Listening to Music  I recently got hooked on Spotify and love it.  It’s given me a chance to check out a lot of albums that I probably would not have discovered otherwise.  I’ve also seen a few live recitals lately which were all fantastic.

Running This half marathon is really going to happen this fall.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Horns A Plenty

Here it is, the rare non-clarinet post.  Last weekend, I dropped by The International Horn Symposium where they were attempting to break the Guinness World Record for the most horns in an ensemble.  The goal was 1000 horns.  They estimated that there were actually closer to 600 people there but they did still break the record.

Horns of all shapes, sizes, and colors were present and spread throughout the three story student union on the campus of The University of North Texas.  It was LOUD! I took video with my phone it’s almost more than my poor phone can handle to play it back.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A Fantastic Surprise

I just found out that I won a grant from Sigma Alpha Iota that will cover the entire cost of my trip to Lincoln, Nebraska this summer for ClarinetFest!  Not only do I really enjoy LOVE going to ClarinetFest, but I’ll also be playing a piece written for 44 contra clarinets.  This is going to be great.

SAI has also asked me to write an article about the experience for their quarterly journal, Pan Pipes.  It looks like I have a lot to look forward to!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

We're playing Babar the Little Elephant with the Monroe Symphony today. I really enjoy playing children’s concerts because their enthusiasm is so refreshing.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Magic Flute at Cowboys Stadium

So my husband and I went out to Cowboys stadium last night to watch The Dallas Opera perform The Magic Flute.  Note the football in her hand on the program rather than a flute.  Nice touch.

Like any good “sporting event” it wouldn’t be complete without tailgating, so we kicked it off with WRR 101.1’s pre-game tailgating party.  Not only were there refreshments, but the karaoke at this event included famous opera arias.  I did not participate, I’m much more suited to playing in the orchestra than showing off my vocal skills!

The simulcast itself was good.  Behind the scene interviews before the show and during intermission kept the crowds entertained.  A few instances of “snow” on screen and a loss of supertitles for a short time at the beginning but aside from the few technical glitches, it was a fantastic production!  The singing and acting was superb and the atmosphere was a lot of fun.  It’s the first opera that I’ve enjoyed while eating a pizza!  There are more shows of this production coming up, you can still catch it at the fabulous Winspear Opera House.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Our concert was a sellout and Beethoven 9 was breathtaking. It was a wonderful finale!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Dress rehearsal this morning. The concert tonight will have Beethoven Symphony No. 9, part of Mahler Symphony No. 5, and a contrabassoon piece. Mixing it up!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

It’s a beautiful day in Texas, and my reeds seem to be recovering from the crazy tornado-filled weather we’ve been having. It’s a good thing because I have an Easter gig tonight and Beethoven 9 rehearsal this weekend. Busy, busy, busy!

Saturday, March 31, 2012

A Small Army of Contras

Ben Stonaker is looking for a few more people to play his piece, Geometric Fragments No. 4 for 44 contra clarinets, which will have it’s world premier at ClarinetFest this August. More information can be found on his website. Sign up if you’re interested, I’ll be playing and it should be a rumbling good time!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Pines and a Premiere

We are onstage and warming up. It is going to be a very nice program tonight!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Symphony of Northwest Arkansas Concert

We made it back home today after a wonderful and very fun concert with the Symphony of Northwest Arkansas. This time, we collaborated with the Fayetteville Jazz Collective to play a concert that combined some of the most popular music from both the Jazz and Classical genres. The crowd was enthusiastic and I’m glad we had another packed house!

Aside from making some great music, we had some free time to check out more sites around the area. This time we went to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. It was absolutely amazing! The art ranged from the Colonial period all the way to modern artists who are currently alive and working. It ended up taking us all afternoon just to cover the main galleries, we’re going to go back another day to cover the grounds and to hopefully see some of the visiting exhibits when they come through.

Now that we’re back in town, we’ll both be enjoying our week off for Spring Break until we get back to teaching and our next gigs! I’m very excited to get to play Pines of Rome with the Monroe Symphony next weekend!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

I am at an Abilene Philharmonic rehearsal this morning. For my students who tell me they don’t need all the major scales because they never play in those keys, here you go! And that’s just a small sampling.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Texas Clarinet Colloquium 2012

It’s been a extremely busy last few days. Today, I traveled out to Commerce, Texas for Texas Clarinet Colloquium. This free event offers lots of master classes, recitals, lectures, and an exhibit hall to try out all of the clarinet toys. There’s no way that I can tell you everything that we talked about or saw but here are the highlights.

I kicked off the morning by going to Michael Webster’s orchestra audition masterclass.

Next, was Michael Lowenstern’s recital. Check out this setup: bass clarinet, computer, wind synthesizers…you know, the works when it comes to new music. This is not normally my type of thing when it comes to music but I thought it was excellent and very entertaining. I bought one of his CDs afterwards.

 After grabbing a quick lunch, we came back for Nathan Beaty’s clarinet mouthpiece design demonstration. Very informative, pretty much everything that you’d ever want to know when it comes to mouthpiece tip openings, facings, and materials.

We also went to Mitchell Estrin’s masterclass which had some wonderful performances! Another great thing about this conference is that it has a lot of lectures and competitions that are aimed specifically at middle and high school students. I went to the clarinet intonation tip class led by Sharon Deuby and since the majority of that audience was made up of middle and high school students, she tailored her talk specifically to them asking the audience for things that they particularly had issues with and having one student volunteer to demonstrate.

And of course, we had time to play with clarinets.

There were lots of events that I did not make it to, I know that Clarinet Cache also tweeted from the event if you would like to see more pictures and events!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Taplin and Weir Visit

So today, I went by and visited my alma mater, The University of North Texas where Taplin and Weir was doing a presentation and letting everyone play with all the clarinet goodies. The presentation was very nice, lots of clarinet repair information, talks about bores, pads, plating, etc.

Following the presentation, there were plenty of barrels, bells, ligatures and clarinets to try.

 Of course, I had to try the gold plated R-13 first.

Also, UNT is going to offer a clarinet workshop for high school clarinetists and it looks good. Check out for more information.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Congress Allows Musical Instruments as Airplane Carry-ons

I’m glad to see this bill pass:

Even with my husband’s horn in a flight case that fits in the overhead compartment, we’ve had trouble with some airlines letting us take it on the plane. Of course we can both tell you horror stories of what has happened to our friends who have unfortunately checked their instruments. It’s always made me thankful that I don’t travel by plane with my bass clarinet very often, but hopefully it shouldn’t be a problem anymore once this goes into effect.

Thursday, February 2, 2012


I wanted to share a link that offers great insight from an orchestra member behind the screen at a recent audition:

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A Premiere at ClarinetFest

For all you contra clarinet enthusiasts out there, Ben Stonaker is looking for people to perform the premiere of his new piece for 44 contra clarinets at the International Clarinet Association’s conference this summer. Check out his page for more details

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Back to teaching today, since I was home sick yesterday! And glad to get back to find out that not only did all of my students get top ratings at the middle school solo festival but some of them got the outstanding solo awards, which means that they were the top contestant in their room. Congrats and great job everyone!
It was also great that some of my students got to go to the Mozart Clarinet Concerto concert last weekend played by Greg Raden and The Dallas Symphony. I went on Sunday and it was fantastic! Especially the second movement, it gave me goosebumps!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

I just finished reading Don Greene’s book, Fight You Fear and Win. Although this book is not targeted towards musicians as specifically as his other books (Audition Success and Performance Success), I actually like this book better than the others because it is much more specific on how to improve and empower yourself. The book focuses on seven main areas to help create a complete and confident person: Determination, Energy, Perspective, Courage, Focus, Poise, and Resilience. Each section includes a three week plan on how to improve in each area. I highly recommend this, it’s very relatable!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Last night’s concert went wonderfully! The pianist who was originally going to play the Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No. 3 had to cancel due to a hand injury, but Sergei Babayan stepped in and did a fantastic job. There’s a nice news article covering us and the concert here. Shostakovich Symphony No. 5 was very exciting to play and we received a very enthusiastic standing ovation at the end. I have to say, playing for the audience in Arkansas is fantastic. I’ve never seen such enthusiasm from a classical audience!
Of course we enjoyed our stay in Fayetteville once again, this city has some great places to eat. We revisited Damgoode Pies and got a marvelous stuffed pizza called “The Hog.”

And then headed over to Bliss Cupcakes for dessert!
For dinner before the concert, we went to Bordino’s.

After the concert, we topped it all off with coffee from The Common Grounds.
I’m still full from this trip! I need to definitely get a run in tomorrow.

Happy Birthday, Mozart!

And what better way to celebrate than by hearing Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto this weekend? Greg Raden is playing it with the Dallas Symphony all weekend. I’m going on Sunday and really looking forward to the performance!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Good Morning from the Mountain!

Jason and I are hanging out at the Mount Sequoyah Retreat Center this morning where they house the musicians from out of town. It’s really beautiful scenery.

We’re getting ready to go to our final dress rehearsal for our SoNA concert tonight. Shostakovich Symphony No. 5 and Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No. 3 are on the program!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Have Clarinet, Will Travel

We’re driving to Fayetteville for Symphony of Northwest Arkansas rehearsal.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Student Achievements

In other words, it’s time to brag about how awesome my students have been lately. Since we’re been back from break here’s what they’ve been up to.

-The middle school students who made All-Region had their concert last weekend. Despite the unexpected power outage, they had a successful concert!

-I had several high school students go to Area and advance to All-State. So proud!!!

-They all came back prepared from their holiday break ready to play their solo contest music. That displays a lot of maturity!

-One student surprised me with brownies and another with a belated Christmas gift! Okay, that’s not an achievement but they both really made my day!

Enough bragging, must go practice some more.
Currently playing on the iPod: Dances of Galanta, Chicago Symphony Orchestra/Neeme Järvi

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Inspiration and the Art of Story Telling

The other day, one of my students reminded me how stories and background can really add an entirely different dimension to music.

The student came in and played a movement from one of the Brahms Sonatas. While it was technically correct (notes and rhythms), it lacked soul. After a few attempts at trying to get him to play more musically, I decided to tell him a little background information. I told him about Richard Mühlfeld, the clarinetist Brahms wrote the piece for. Brahms was so inspired by his playing that he came out of retirement towards the end of his life and wrote two clarinet sonatas, a trio, and a quintet for him. I asked the student if he could imagine the kind of playing that was so beautiful and inspirational that it could have that kind of power. He said, “It gives me chills just thinking about it!” His playing was so musical after that!

Classical music (or any music for that matter) is not just a bunch of notes, it’s the expression of emotion. It should give us chills, make us smile, make us cry! It’s just as relevant today as it was years ago, we just need to make it real.

I can relate, who knows if I would have played clarinet if I had not heard Peter and the Wolf as a child. This is why community outreach is so important. And one of my favorite pieces when I first started listening to classical music in middle school was Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique. I have a great love of E-flat clarinet because it was so thrilling getting to play the part of the witch once I got to high school!

If you have a great love of music, share it and make it come alive. You never know how you might inspire someone.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Savvy Musician

One of the most practical books that I’ve read in a long time, I highly recommend this to all my musician friends! It also has a wonderful companion website. Check it out!