Episode 13: Bass Clarinet, It’s More Different Than B-flat Clarinet Than You Think with Christina Rawady


Playing the bass clarinet is very much different than playing the B-flat clarinet, and as band instructors, it is important to know the difference. We are so thankful to have bass clarinetist Christina Rawady here to share some incredible insight on the bass clarinet so we can better understand the instrument and how to help our students.

As band teachers, we each have our areas of expertise and instruments we feel most comfortable teaching. There is always room to learn more and we are so grateful that Christina is sharing some amazing tips for the bass clarinet with us today. In this episode, we are chatting with Christina about her background as a musician and band director, the differences between the bass clarinet and the clarinet, tips for starting a student on the bass clarinet, when to start students on the bass clarinet, her reed preferences, and some of her favorite pieces.

Christina Rawady is from Alfred, NY where she graduated from Alfred-Almond Central School in 2005. She completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education and Performance Certificate with a Bass Clarinet concentration at the State University of New York at Potsdam’s Crane School of Music. After graduation in 2009, she remained at Crane to complete her first Master’s Degree in Bass Clarinet/Clarinet Performance, which she earned in 2010. She went on to teach middle and high school bands in Hornell, NY for 3 years. In 2014, Ms. Rawady received an international talent grant to move to Europe and complete a Master’s Degree in Bass Clarinet Performance and Pedagogy at the Rotterdam Conservatory (Codarts) in the Netherlands. She studied under the tutelage of world renowned Bass Clarinetist, Henri Bok. Her thesis to fulfill her Artistic Research Domain in Performance Practice was titled: The Role of the Bass Clarinet in the Operas of Richard Wagner

During her studies, she performed in many capacities including:  Principal Bass Clarinetist for Camerata Rotterdam; chamber ensemble, Principal Bass Clarinetist for AKOM ensemble; contemporary music ensemble, Semi Finalist in the International Bass Clarinet Competition in Avila, Spain (2015), Bass Clarinetist in the opera “Suor Angelica” (Puccini) in Breda, Netherlands, Walter Boeykens Clarinet Festival soloist (2015), guest performer at Muziekgebouw Amsterdam Clarinet Festival (2016). 

Her principal teachers include: Henri Bok: Rotterdam Conservatory, Davide Lattuada: Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Romke-Jan Wijmenga: Rotterdam Philharmonic, Fie Schouten: Prince Claus Conservatoire, Dr. Julianne Kirk-Doyle: Crane School of Music: Nancy Braithwaite, Rotterdam Conservatory. She has also performed in masterclasses with the following musicians: Alcides Rodrigues: Atlanta Symphony, Christopher Redgate: Royal Academy of Music, Luís Afonso: São Paulo University, Jelte Althuis: Calefax Reed Quartet, Petra Stump-Linshalm: Vienna Reed Quintet, Stephan Vermeersch: ECA President, Luis Gomez: National Conservatory, Portugal, Sarah Watts: Royal Northern College of Music

Upon graduation in 2016, she returned to the U.S. and accepted a position at Potsdam Central School teaching elementary and middle school band, chorus, and jazz band. While in Potsdam, Ms. Rawady was an active member of the Northern Symphonic Winds and the Orchestra of Northern New York.  In 2019, Christina returned to her hometown and accepted the position of Instrumental Music Director grades 4-12 at Alfred Almond Central School. She is the director for the beginning band, elementary band, junior high marching band, junior high concert band, junior high jazz band, senior high symphonic band, senior high jazz band, and the pit orchestra. She also teaches group instrumental lessons to all students grades 4-12, and AP Music Theory. In 2022, Christina accepted the position of Director of Bands at the State University of New York at Alfred, where she directs the concert and rock bands. Ms. Rawady has been active in county and state music festivals, and has been a guest conductor for numerous ensembles. She lives happily in Hornell, NY with her boyfriend Mike, her dog Smudge, and her cats; Janis and Bobby.

Looking for a fun and easy way to warm up your young bands? The Easy Warm-ups for Beginner Concert Band is just the tool you need! With this warm-up, you’ll have three-note, four-note, five-note, and six-note warm-ups to fit exactly what you need for your students to prepare for a successful rehearsal!

In this episode we cover:

  • Christina’s background as a musician and band director
  • What the differences are between the bass clarinet and the clarinet
  • Tips for starting a student on the bass clarinet
  • The ideal time to switch a student to the bass clarinet and what to look for in terms of readiness
  • Christina’s reed preferences for bass clarinet
  • Christina’s favorite pieces that have a prominent bass clarinet part

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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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