In this first post I'll discuss who I am, where I'm coming from, and what you might be likely to see in this blog.
Why Would You Read This? Who am I all of a sudden?
What I'm really interested in doing is connecting to you. You were looking for something like this and I realized that something I think I'm missing in my life is a way to share what I'm learning everyday not just from practicing, but from my students, from teaching, and from other teachers as well as reflections on things I've been taught as they occur. I'm going to give you my thoughts on a variety of topics in and around clarinet teaching and performance and over time start to present interviews from other teachers as well. After teaching as a classroom teacher, teaching assistant, and in my current jobs now in Texas I've been doing this for about fifteen years and hope that even one person might identify or feel less alone reading some of what I have to write. I am a Texas clarinet teacher working in the Texas system. If this isn't something you're familiar with you will become more familiar with and likely curious about it. Like any preordained system, it has its ups and downs. I teach at a university as well as performing in a few groups in North Texas as well. I'm lucky to have a great network of friends and colleagues all over the world, but my Family Friends are in the Boston area, Portland Maine area, Cincinnati area, and in rural Missouri as well as all over North Texas.
Whats going on now?
Just after the holidays in Texas is a rough time. We don't really have a true "winter" down here. It gets cold, but there aren't a lot of snow-covered decorations to take down, or sweaters to take out, or coats to wash. It gets cold especially in North Texas, but it just never feels like its really, truly winter. In a lot of districts we have to reschedule our students based on their Spring School Placement Auditions and it can make things hairy. Its hard to get in touch with parents often so, since I teach mostly at the high school level, I get in touch with the students and then confirm any important details with families. Some students and unfortunately families, with Region auditions out of the way, start to forget all of the other benefits of taking private lessons so its important to be sure to remind them that what students get in a private lesson is so much more than just clarinet lessons. Whenever a parent inexplicably decides they don't want their student to have lessons anymore and don't explain, even when I try to engage, even though its few and far between, it feels like a bond had been broken. Even though I've been doing this for years, it still smarts when you get "dumped" because that parent had no idea how much time and effort and care you put into helping that student improve at clarinet, but also getting to know them in order to help them learn better.
I'm really excited to share my daily learning with all of you and hope that it inspires you, or makes you feel a little less alone in this world of musicking that can sometimes make me feel like I'm alone in a crowd.