Dr. Tod Kerstetter, Professor
110 McCain Auditorium
About the K-State Clarinet Studio
The philosophy of the K-State Clarinet studio is to strike a balance between creating a competitive environment with high standards of performance and maintaining a friendly and supportive atmosphere between all students. The clarinet studio produced three consecutive winners in the K-State Orchestra Concerto and Aria Competition (2007, 2008, and 2009), and five winners overall during my career at K-State. In 2008, Chris Johnson was named the first prize winner at the annual Music Department Honors Recital competition. In 2013, Amy Kraus was named the K-State Presser Scholar, perhaps the highest award that an undergraduate music major can receive. Alumni of the studio have gone on to do graduate work at prestigious institutions such as the University of Kansas, Arizona State University, the University of New Mexico, the University of Southern Mississippi, and the University of Minnesota. We also have a very active Clarinet Ensemble that performs fun music at many different venues. Please come visit (email me!) if you would like to consider studying here! K-State is a great place to be a student, and Manhattan is a beautiful place to live!
About K-State and our Music Program
I believe with all sincerity that our music program offers an incredible value for the money. The average class size for music major courses is quite small—typically around 20 to 30, and often smaller. There are 28 full-time faculty members, giving us a very small student-to-faculty ratio—similar to that of private institutions, which are significantly more expensive to attend. Our faculty members are full-time teachers, and are readily available and accessible to our students. Regular faculty members teach almost all of our classes—we do not have very many graduate assistants teaching courses for our music majors.
K-State is certainly a relatively large school with around 22,000 students. This gives us many of the advantages of a larger institution—world-class guests presenting lectures, an incredible performing arts series at McCain Auditorium, and strong athletic programs. Yet many of our music students comment on how small and personable the music program feels. This is indeed our strength, and we feel it makes our music education degree second to none. When you graduate with a music education degree from K-State, you will likely have no problem securing a job. Very few majors can make this claim as strongly as we can.
Prominent guest clarinetists frequently visit K-State to perform recitals and to give master classes. Recent artists include Mariam Adam (The Imani Winds), Diane Barger (University of Nebraska), Michael Chesher (Luther College), Elizabeth Crawford (Ball State University), Joseph Eller (University of South Carolina), Wesley Ferreira (Colorado State University), Denise Gainey (University of Alabama-Birmingham), Julia Heinen (Cal State Northridge), Keith Lemmons (University of New Mexico), Jon Manasse (internationally renowned solo artist), Phillip Paglialonga (Virginia Tech), Robert Spring (Arizona State University), Stephan Vermeersch (Belgium), and Stephanie Zelnick (University of Kansas). K-State clarinet students experience the highest levels of clarinet pedagogy and performance on a regular basis, while enjoying a low-stress and friendly environment in which to learn and to grow as a musician.
An Everyday Virtuoso?
I believe that all clarinetists with a good work ethic (and the willingness to spend some serious time with the metronome!) can develop truly outstanding technique—regardless of their social, economic, or musical background. If you are willing to put in some hours practicing correctly, you will certainly succeed!
My undergraduate clarinet professor from Furman University, Dr. Robert Chesebro, and I share this philosophy; and we recently co-authored a textbook that describes our practice strategies in great detail! The book, titled The Everyday Virtuoso: Virtuoso-level Technique for Every Clarinetist, is available from Woodwindiana of Bloomington, Indiana. This philosophy supports all of my teaching—I have had success working with clarinetists of all ability levels in taking them to the highest level possible! Whether your aspiration is to become a professional performing clarinetist, a high school band director, or simply to play the clarinet throughout your life for fun, I can help you achieve your goal!