University of Denver Master Class

I had a privilege of visiting Dr. Jeremy Reynolds' clarinet studio at Lamont School of Music - University of Denver last week. I worked with four talented students and we had a wonderful audience consisting of Lamont students and some community folks. 

Here are some pictures that one of the audience members (former physician who is now a clarinet enthusiast and semi-professional photographer). A good combination of serious, inquisitive, entertaining, and delighted faces! 

with my friend and colleague, Jeremy Reynolds

A Sneak Preview: 2015 TTU Clarinet Day

I've been very busy during past several days putting together various details for the upcoming Clarinet Day at Tech. Scheduled for April 17th and 18th of 2015, this is the fourth and the largest Clarinet Day I am hosting since my arrival at TTU. The line-up of guest artists are truly unique and impressive: Sqwonk, the world's most exciting bass clarinet duo based in San Francisco, and KoMo Quartet, a recently formed projects by renowned clarinetists from South Korea and Montana. Like previous years, the event will provide many opportunities for our students and participants to attend guest artist recitals and master classes, try out the newest line of clarinet products by leading vendors, play in the clarinet choir, and interact with each other (and perhaps make some new friends)!

While the official flyers and schedule are being finalized, I wanted to leak some exciting details here:

2015 Guest Artists


Jeff Anderle (San Fransico Conservatory of Music) 

Jonathan Russell (Princeton University) 

KoMo Clarinet Quartet



Friday, April 17, 2015 at 7:30pm - Sqwonk will present an astounding and genre-defying recital

Devienne Clarinet Sonata on ABC's (Australia) Classical Drive

The final movement, Rondo, from my recording of Devienne's Clarinet Sonata No. 2 will be aired on Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Classical Drive today. This CD has been featured on ABC numerous times in the past and was even featured as CD of the week. They pick some really fantastic selections, and I am honored that they frequently have my work broadcasted.

For a limited time only, I am also sharing the entire sonata available for stream here. If you like them, please consider ordering a copy of the CD from my store.

TTU All-Star Clarinet Symposium

The 2014 TTU All-Star Clarinet Symposium Participants!

I spent all day today with approximately 50 high school clarinet students from all over Tennessee who came to participate in our Annual All-Start Instrumental Symposium. This year's group was particularly outstanding, and I thoroughly enjoyed working with them. I led a clinic on the fundamentals of clarinet playing, warm-up technique (long-tone, scales, arpeggios, thirds, and articulation exercise), and a master class on excerpts from the Mid-State and All-East Tennessee audition music in the morning. The students also worked me to prepare for an afternoon concert as part of the large clarinet choir, which they performed to great satisfaction. 

I went over the importance of daily warm-up and demonstrated systematic (and easy-to-do) warm-up routine that students should try to do on a daily basis.

After lunch, I led the TTU Clarinet Choir to play for woodwind participants. Several of my students came to help a great deal (I am truly fortunately to have such an outstanding studio, and I wouldn't be able to do these activities without them!). A group of Tech clarinet majors also came to demonstrate a reed-making session in front of the high school students. It was an inspiration for me to see so many students interested in studying music or at least continue being involved with music program at college. If you ask me, the future of what we do certainly looks promising!

TTU Clarinet Choir getting ready to play for the high school audience.

MTSU Concert last Monday

After our concert at Middle Tennessee State University last week

It was such a pleasure to play with the Larchmere String Quartet once again last Monday. This time, we were guests at Middle Tennessee State University School of Music. Our work together on Krehl's Clarinet Quintet is making some good progress. Still much work needs to be done, but we now look forward to our next concert in January and recording session in March. Stay tuned for more!

A Little Joy as A Young Teacher

I was one proud teacher listening to my student Sarah's Junior Recital last Sunday. She played a difficult program with great control, finesse, and most of all, understanding of the music. The program included Schumann's Fantasiestüke, Debussy Premiere Rhapsody, Stravinsky Three Pieces, and Malcolm Arnold's Clarinet Concerto No. 2 (with Martin Fröst's highly demanding cadenza which Sarah played from memory). First three belong to my signature repertoire, and I worked on them with her in great details. It was also an adventure exploring Arnold's rather underperformed concerto together and see my student giving it a her own distinct personality. While there were plenty of rooms for improvement, I could see very well that she clearly understood what this (playing the music) is all about. 

Since her arrival at Tech two and a half years ago, Sarah has made an impressive progress. Among other things, she performed Weber's Concertino with Maryville Orchestra as a winner of the Maryville College Concerto Competition, named twice Tennessee winner of MTNA Young Artist Woodwind Competition (1st place in 2013 and 2nd place in 2014), and participated in summer workshops such as ARIA and Oklahoma Clarinet Symposium, playing for renowned clarinetists, including David Shifrin, etc. 

I find the greatest joy as a teacher when others tell me that they hear and see my own playing from my students' performances. Assuming that I am doing something right, this can be a great compliment. As I was listening to the recital, I was quite taken by her control of dynamic, attention to the legato and phrasing, and relevant musical gestures, things that I cherish the most in my own playing.

I am only too happy to help my students to discover their places in this world by sharing with them my knowledge, passion, and beliefs. 


David Shifrin Recital at the Blair School of Music

TTU Clarinet Students with David Shifrin

It is a great pleasure to see my students are becoming increasingly interested in taking advantage of various musical opportunities around them. Last night, they organized and drove themselves to the Blair School of Music in Nashville to attend a recital by Mr. Shifrin while I was in Tech Rehearsal for the upcoming "Halloween" Concert by our faculty quintet. I am very excited that my students got to experience what I was fortunate to do during my student years.  

Jonathan Copeland's Semi-Annual TTU Visit

Jonathan Copeland, the clarinet specialist and repairman at Onks Woodwind Specialist

Keeping one's instrument in optimum condition should be one of the top priorities for both professional musicians and music students. With our diligent practicing and playing schedule (hopefully...), our instruments' mechanism can only withstand so much. Keys will bend, pads will wear out, screws will become loose, and various debris will collect even with regular cleaning and maintenance. For younger students who do not take proper care of their instruments, the problems are often exacerbated. To give a few examples:


  • the instrument's performance will be drastically reduced
  • lead to far serious issues such as crack, etc.
  • difficulties in execution and inconsistent intonation
  • unsanitary and disturbing accumulation of things you don't want to see
  • frustration and much hinderance to expressing one's artistic vision
  • bad habits will form by struggling with instruments that are not finely tuned


We already have enough to worry about aside from the mechanical issues of our instruments. Therefore, It is highly recommended that everyone should take his/her instruments to a professional repairperson (hopefully a specialist) at least once or twice a year. It can be challenging to find a time to send off the instrument for repair or overhaul. The costs associated with repair/adjustment also can be a reason that some people (especially students) put it off. 

Since few years ago, I have partnered with Onks Woodwind Specialist in Smyrna, TN to provide my studio a bit easier access to a skilled repairman. Jonathan Copepland, the company's clarinet specialist visit TTU each semester to work on various adjustment and minor repair works for our students. After signing up for time slots, students can drop off their instruments to Jonathan who works on them throughout the day in our music building. He also gives each students personalized advices and helps them to schedule a full overhaul if necessary. Since we bundle this together, students can enjoy the streamlined repair service and relatively affordable costs (most works are done in around 30 minutes, and their instruments play far better in the end). 

Many thanks to Jonathan for his visit, and we all look forward to seeing him again in April!

Jonathan doing his repair work on our students' instruments

Now I have a lot of sticky notes. Want some? Stop by at my studio for one. First come, first serve!

Now I have a lot of sticky notes. Want some? Stop by at my studio for one. First come, first serve!