For students to master clarinet playing, it is essential that they develop all the necessary aspects that result in fine clarinet playing. These include proper breathing and posture, hand and finger position, appropriate embouchure, beautiful tone production, crisp articulation, solid rhythm, virtuosic technique, and an ability to freely express musical ideas on the instrument. When students possess a solid technical foundation in these areas, then some of the most challenging repertoire becomes easily accessible. To this end, I have combined the pedagogical methods that were presented to me by my teachers and mentors. As the result, I have developed my own teaching method that will improve each student’s playing. I wholeheartedly believe that it is my responsibility to identify their strengths and weaknesses and constantly work on improving all the elements of a student’s playing. I also find it important to help students master a number of extended techniques, such as multiple tonguing, circular breathing, a variety of multiphonics, and other extended techniques depending on a student’s level. 

I believe it is crucial for students to acquire all the necessary skills to become successful both as performers and pedagogues. Furthermore, I hold that instrumental music courses and applied studio instructions are a fundamental core in helping students achieve a well-rounded musical foundation. I also find it essential to cover a wide selection of clarinet literature during each semester with my students, including works from the baroque, classical, romantic, and contemporary eras. That way the students develop a clear understanding of different genres, and will properly approach the variety of musical styles when performing a wide range of compositions. Later on, the students will pass the knowledge when teaching their own students in the future. I also believe it is my responsibility to guide students and provide them with all the tools necessary to gain knowledge on artistic development, creative thinking, collaboration with other artists and peers (when working in groups), and musical decision-making. 

Additionally, one of the most important aspects of teaching is to help students to properly select their instrumental equipment. Therefore, it is imperative for students to set aside a significant amount of time to choosing clarinets, mouthpieces, reeds, and other clarinet-related equipment that will help them be the best performers they can. The quality of equipment they choose to play on has a direct impact on their playing – it can either speed up or slow down their musical development. The earlier the students realize the significance of choosing proper equipment, the sooner their playing will improve. Lastly, I encourage all of my students to regularly work on their reeds, which is one of the key components of excellent clarinet playing, and which I believe to be a major part of the teaching process.

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Master class at the University of Missouri-Colombia School of Music.

Colombia, MO.