Episode 10: Playing Clarinet with Tom Heimer

playing clarinet

Are you wondering how to best teach your beginner clarinet players or just looking for more information about playing clarinet in general? Our guest today, Tom Heimer, has a wealth of knowledge about all things playing clarinet and teaching beginner clarinet players. He is sharing some of his insights with us today!

We all want to support all of our students as best as possible. Knowing the ins and outs of how to play every instrument can be tricky. That is why we are so grateful that Tom is here to help us better understand how to teach our beginner clarinets. We are chatting about his background and experience, tips for beginner clarinet players, reeds, what notes to teach first, his book, and more!

Tom Heimer is a native of Yonkers, N.Y. and was a student of Jerome Sala. He received his Bachelor of Music in performance at Queens College of the City University of New York where he studied with Leon Russianoff. He received his Master of Music in performance from the University of Regina (Saskatchewan, Canada) as a Teacher Assistant and Assistant Conductor

Mr. Heimer, was a Band Director for many years in Thompson, Manitoba, where his bands won national and international awards, and was often a clarinet clinician and soloist at the Northern Manitoba Band Festivals. He has been a faculty member at the Saskatchewan School of the Arts summer band camp at Fort San, Saskatchewan and has been a soloist throughout Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Mr. Heimer was Co-Principal Clarinet of the Saint John and Area Orchestra (New Brunswick, Canada).

In New York, Mr. Heimer has played with such groups as the Yonkers Philharmonic, Westchester Pops Band, first clarinet with the White Plains Pops Band, Solo E-flat Clarinet with the Yonkers Concert Band, and with the Port City Concert Band in Halifax. He is currently Principal Clarinet with the Westchester Band in New York since 1998 and has been a guest conductor and often featured soloist with the band. He and his wife Elizabeth reside in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.

Intonation can be a challenge for beginner band students so we created a double sided Intonation Cheat Sheet to support your students! This cheat sheet covers tuner instructions, adjustment instructions, flat and sharp adjustments, common note tendencies, common intonation problems, and more for 10 different instruments so your students can reference the information they need with ease!

In this episode we cover:

  • Tom’s experience playing clarinet and as a band director
  • His tips for beginner clarinet players including posture, instrument maintenance, and making their first sounds
  • What reeds he recommends and prefers
  • Which notes he typically taught his clarinet players first
  • How to teach crossing the break
  • Tom’s insights on intonation
  • Suggestions for improving lyrical and technical playing
  • Advice on what to do everyday to improve
  • Information about Tom’s book, The Most Advanced Clarinet Book

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More about The First Six Notes with Classroom Composers

The First Six Notes Podcast with Classroom Composers is for band teachers and string teachers looking for great information from experienced teachers. 

Every other week, we’ll dive into everything about teaching band and string music students. We’re covering everything from pedagogy to fundraising and interviewing successful music teachers, composers, admin, professional private studio teachers, and more to uncover and share their strategies for musical success. 

Classroom Composers is a married team of two music teachers, Kevin Hoff and Jessica Frank. Between the two of us, we have experience teaching K-6 general music, elementary 4/5 band/strings, and middle school band/strings/guitar who want to share our knowledge and experience with other teachers.

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