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.
Milburn, World Premier Fanfare
Buck, Festival Overture on the Star Spangled Banner
Giroux, Hymn for the Innocent
Curnow, Concertpiece featuring René Hernandez, trumpet soloist
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.
“Why? I’ve been playing on it for weeks, and I like the way it sounds.”
“That’s just dirt/marker/pencil.”
“That is not going in your mouth again.”
I cannot recall the exact number of conversations I have had like this with students in the last twenty-one years. What students are willing to shove in their mouths is absolutely astounding, and then their parents cannot figure out why these students are always sick. Hmmmmm.
To prove a point to my students, and any other reed players out there reading this, I have always wanted to do a bacterial test on reeds and mouthpieces. Luckily for my checkbook, Michael Lowenstern did this exact experiment for me. Behold, the reed and mouthpiece bacterial study:
Still think playing on that reed with “just a little bit of black” is okay? Not in my studio!
The Maryland Music Educators Association has released the entire list of All-State requirements on their website, so I thought I would share it here. If you have friends or family trying out for All-State on other instruments, they will like knowing this information, too:
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!
Next Sunday, May 1st, 1-4 pm at George Mason University, Richie Hawley will be giving a clarinet masterclass.
Who is Richie Hawley? If you are not yet familiar with this incredible musician and pedagogue, allow me to introduce you:
Richie Hawley is a versatile and critically acclaimed artist who ranks among the most distinguished clarinetists of his generation. Mr. Hawley was appointed Principal Clarinet of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra in 1994 at the age of 23, only two years after graduating from the Curtis Institute of Music. He has since enjoyed a rewarding and multifaceted career as an orchestral clarinetist, recitalist, chamber musician, teacher and clinician. From 1994-2011, as the Principal Clarinet of the CSO, he impressed audiences around the world with a wide-ranging talent that blended virtuosity and the velvety, sonorous tone that has become his trademark. The Cincinnati Enquirer has praised him for the “seamless flowing tone so many clarinetists long for and few can achieve.” Many of the 60+ recordings by the CSO and Cincinnati Pops during his tenure have featured major solos of the clarinet repertoire. American Record Guide hailed Hawley’s “gorgeous” clarinet solo in the CSO’s Rachmaninoff Symphony No. 2 as “the crowning achievement” of the recording by Maestro Jesus Lopez-Cobos.
In 2011 Mr. Hawley became the Professor of Clarinet at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University in Houston. During the summer season, he serves as the teaching and performing clarinet artist at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, one of the premiere summer festivals for exceptionally talented musicians from around the world
Mr. Hawley is dedicated to performing chamber music, and appears regularly as a chamber musician and recitalist throughout the United States and abroad. In 2014/15 he made frequent appearances with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra as their guest Principal Clarinet. His upcoming chamber music activities include performances at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, the Da Camera of Houston’s chamber music series and an international tour in May 2016 with the Rogue Ensemble. He made his debut at the Marlboro Music Festival in the summers of 1999 and 2000 and performed with the legendary “Musicians from Marlboro” for the Festival’s gala 50th anniversary tour at Carnegie Hall.
Mr. Hawley has garnered awards as both performer and educator. He won the Coleman-Barstow prize at the Coleman Chamber Ensemble Competition in 1988 with Trio con Brio, and that same year was one of five musicians to receive the Gold Medal as a Presidential Scholar in the Arts from Ronald Reagan in a ceremony at the White House. He has received the Léni Fé Bland Foundation Career Grant twice, and he was awarded the 2009 Glover Award for Outstanding Teacher of the Year at UC’s College Conservatory of Music.
Mr. Hawley began his clarinet studies with Yehuda Gilad at the Colburn School of Performing Arts at age 9. He made his orchestral solo debut at 13, performing with the Los Angeles Philharmonic as the winner of its student stars competition. At 14 he performed on one of the New York Philharmonic’s young person’s subscription concerts as a winner of the Philharmonic’s national talent search competition. While a student of Donald Montanaro at the Curtis Institute of Music, Mr. Hawley appeared as a soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra.
A Buffet-Crampon artist, Mr. Hawley performs on the Tosca model of clarinet. He is also a D’Addario Woodwinds Performing Artist and Clinician, and plays exclusively on the Reserve Classic reeds and mouthpieces which he helped to develop.
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.
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.