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Teacher Feature - Andrew Braden

andy braden clarinet teacher

Andrew Braden (he/him/his) has been 2nd clarinetist in the Tucson Symphony since 1987. Braden’s position in the symphony has included hundreds of concerts as principal and E-flat clarinetist and in the TSO woodwind quintet. Andy has also performed with many orchestras including the Kansas City Symphony, the Phoenix Symphony, True Concord, and the Tucson Pops.

He is one of the few clarinetists in America to play principal clarinet in Richard Wagner’s massive Ring of the Nibelung when the four operas were presented by Arizona Opera. Another career highlight was performing Rhapsody in Blue with the Southern Arizona Symphony on their Chinese tour.

Braden has played chamber music in Tucson and southern Arizona for over 25 years. This includes dozens of recitals with the TSO quintet, the Ocotillo Trio and the Paloma Winds quintet. With the woodwind group Ocotillo Trio, Braden toured Mexico which included recitals in Monterey and Vera Cruz. Teaching has been central to Andy’s life since he was a music education major at Kansas University. As an undergrad he was named clarinet teacher at the Midwest Music Camp, a position he held for 18 years. This appointment included teaching lessons, playing on faculty recitals, coaching ensembles, giving master classes and conducting sectionals for thousands of students. Andy taught elementary school music in Tucson Unified for 10 years and currently has a large number of clarinet and saxophone students.

We asked Andrew six questions about his life as a music teacher:

How long have you been teaching for?

I’ve been teaching for 40 years! Mostly private clarinet lessons but I also spent 10 years teaching kinders for TUSD.

What instruments do you teach?

I teach clarinet and beginning saxophone.

What's your favorite snack between students?

I love me some cashews between students!

What do you like most about teaching private lessons?

I deeply enjoy teaching beginners and listening to them progress while pulling music out of thin air! All analog / all the time!

Did you take lessons growing up?

I had private lessons growing up with my band director. Later with a member of the Detroit Symphony.

What's the best advice you've ever received?

The best advice I got is to play with a big confident sound! Even if you make a mistake, make it a big one!


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