Maryland Winds


I will be performing on Sunday with a new professional wind band called the Maryland Winds. This group is made up of freelance musicians like myself and retired musicians from the elite military bands in the DC area (“The President’s Own” Marine Band, “Pershing’s Own” Army Band, the Army Field Band, the Navy Band, and the Air Force Band). If you would like to come out to support us, the concert is at 7:00 pm on Sunday evening at Atholton High School. Tickets are free, but you will still need to order them to make sure we have an accurate account of how many people are in attendance.

The concert will consist of:

Milburn, World Premier Fanfare
Buck, Festival Overture on the Star Spangled Banner
Giroux, Hymn for the Innocent
Curnow, Concertpiece featuring René Hernandez, trumpet soloist
Salfelder, Cathedrals
Bernstein, Suite for Mass
McKenzie, Iron Mahors March
Copland, Variations on a Shaker Melody
Murtha, Scarborough Fair
Nelson, Rocky Point Holiday

Please come out to support Maryland’s newest professional wind band in its inaugural performance.



This is the time of year when I see turnover, and it is always a wonderful reminder of how lucky I am to spend my evenings teaching so many amazing, talented, kind young people. I am humbled some days by the thoughtfulness and kindness expressed by a middle schooler or the focus and determination of a fourth-grader or the wit and maturity of a high schooler. 
A vital component of my teaching style is ensuring that I am reinforcing these positive qualities and encouraging my students to take these lessons about music and to apply them in other parts of their lives. Music truly transcends all aspects of life.

In particular, I was blown away by the grace and acceptance shared by one of my students that is struggling with a friend at school. When she said (sic), “I’m hoping it’s just something [my friend] is going through temporarily, because I don’t want to stop being friends because of band stuff. Maybe we can just choose to not talk about band stuff so we can stay friends.” This was after her friend had said some pretty hurtful comments about my student’s playing, even though my student got a much higher score on a playing assessment. How many adults could offer that kind of grace or have the emotional intelligence to recognize the situation beyond pettiness? Incredible!! 

Yesterday, I got a phone call that one of my most promising students is switching to oboe. While I will miss seeing her sweet, happy smile every Saturday morning, I just know she is going to make a fabulous oboist. This talented young lady was third chair in GT Band this year as a fourth-grader on clarinet, so I am fully expecting to see her there again next school year as the top oboist. Her inner beauty and light shines through everything she does, and she will be a blessing to everyone around her. Best of luck, sweet Lydia!! I will miss you and your family, and I thank you for one of the best teaching experiences I have had in my twenty-one years of teaching clarinet. 

These two young ladies are only two examples from this last week of how impressive my students are as people in addition to incredibly talented musicians. I could write a post every week on the character and accomplishments of my students, which is a constant reminder that I am beyond blessed to have this job and these opportunities to work with some of tomorrow’s leaders. Thank you, parents, for sharing your children with me. Thank you for choosing me to guide them. 

Kitty Lessons? 

What is the number one reason my students give for not moving lessons from my home? The cat.

Kevin is the sweetest, most gentle, and loving cat any person could meet, and he loves my students so very much. Looks like the feelings are mutual, at least today:


That crazy cat could probably play clarinet like a pro after nearly twelve years of sitting in on lessons. Love my Kevin!!

Fall Lessons!

Fall lessons have been scheduled successfully for another year! I know I have a few outstanding emails from new students to return, so please expect replies from me today. I had to solidify my schedule with the current studio before adding in new students, which I am sure parents understand and appreciate. Thank you for all the support and your continued wish to see your child achieve their playing goals at a high level!

Fall Lessons


Howard County Solo & Ensemble

I had such a wonderful time adjudicating woodwind solos and ensembles all day Saturday, April 9th at Ellicott Mills Middle School. What an honor to be included in quite an astonishingly accomplished group of judges for the day!

The level of accomplishment, dedication, and musicianship I heard on Saturday was outstanding, particularly for such young musicians. The music educators and private instructors in Howard County do such an incredible job of preparing students for these performances, which makes my job of adjudicating so much easier.

The true beauty in Saturday, for me, was the incredible dedication shown by all students from a wide variety of schools. There were schools represented from one end of the economic spectrum to the other, and all of the students performed very well. Bravo, Howard County Music, Howard County school administrators, Howard County Public School System, and Howard County parents for supporting your teachers and programs so passionately. It shows!

New Clarinet Today

Thank you, Music & Arts of Ellicott City and Stephen Byrd, for a wonderful experience today. One of my middle school students is the lucky, new owner of a Buffet E11 intermediate clarinet today, and both she and her mother were so pleased by the experience we had.

I was able to visit the store thirty minutes before my student in order to try the clarinets I had in mind for her. I played through the Yamaha 450N, Buffet E11, and Buffet E12F clarinets in a lesson room with plenty of privacy and pleasant assistance from the manager and his staff. Once my student and her mother arrived, I had Grace play through all the models and tell me which she felt played the best. Luckily, we agreed on which clarinet played the easiest and had the warmest tone: the Buffet E11.

Everyone walked away from today’s experience happy, and now Grace sounds even better than she already did. Thank you, again, Music & Arts of Ellicott City.

Updated Études for Junior and Senior All-State

The Maryland Music Educators Association has released the updated lists for both junior and senior All-State this week. In years past, there was a four-year rotation of the same études, so this presents nearly a complete departure from said rotation. I am on board with this, being fairly new to Maryland’s system for All-State.

After looking over the lists for clarinet, I can already see that judging All-State again this year will be challenging. The octave jumps on page 23 at 120 bpm will be a true test of the students’ abilities and our patience as judges. That said, I remember mastering the same étude when I was a sophomore clarinetist, auditioning for West Virginia All-State. Ah, memories.

MBDA List 2015-16