My name is Erika and playing the clarinet is my great joy.
I remember hearing orchestra music on the radio when I was very young (preschool), and thinking how I would love to make that kind of music. I begged my mother to play the violin, but she kept saying “no” and I didn’t understand. Several years later, at the age of 9, she put me in piano lessons. It was not what I wanted, but I practiced and listened to my teacher and found that I had natural abilities to read and understand music.
At the age of 10, I had the opportunity to join the band at school, and I ended up playing the clarinet. I somehow felt drawn to it. Piano lessons continued for several more months, but it was clear to me that the clarinet was a much better fit for me.
I have created this website to help you deepen your own love for the clarinet and to help you explore the world of clarinet music, as I have done for the past 28 years.
My Education and Experience
I had much success as a budding clarinetist and set high goals for myself and remained very ambitious. During my sophomore year in high school, I started to think that I wanted to play the clarinet for the rest of my life. I absolutely loved every performance I was in, and the more I got to play, the better.
By the time I graduated high school, I had already earned two nice scholarships in the music department at The University of Alabama. I spent one semester marching in the Million Dollar Band (playing tenor saxophone!) and plenty of time in the Alabama Wind Ensemble and several semesters in the student orchestra. Five years later, I had earned my Bachelor of Music Degree in Clarinet Performance and was offered the graduate teaching assistant position at The University of Southern Mississippi, where I had the privilege of teaching students–almost 30 in all over two years–in private lessons as I earned my Master of Music in Clarinet Performance. During that time, I also had countless opportunities to perform with various college ensembles and paying orchestras and other paying music performances. It was clearer to me than ever that performing was my heart.
In the process of my education, I met my husband and my plans to continue on to get my doctoral degree changed. I opted to pursue a Master of the Arts in Teaching at William Carey University and went on to teach middle school band in 2005, which is what I am still doing today.
What I love to do most. . .
…is teach clarinet lessons, perform, and learn new music. I love to help others learn to be their best on the clarinet. Performing gets me excited; I still get a rush every time. Learning new music keeps me actively learning. Sight reading is an absolute joy for me. I hope that I can help you be a better sight reader through my tips and by using materials that I recommend.
My musical talents are not limited to the clarinet, as I am a proficient flute player and a pretty decent saxophone player. Additionally, I love to play clarinets of all sizes; the Eb clarinet is my favorite. I also compose occasionally.
I am active in the Hattiesburg City Band in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, as a section clarinetist, soloist, and guest conductor. In the recent past, I was active with the Gulf Coast Wind Ensemble in coastal Mississippi, and I co-founded and ran a clarinet choir (Salt Marsh Reeds) several years ago, which has been on an extended hiatus due to family obligations.
I hope my page will be of use to you in your search for relevant clarinet music, both old and new.