Studio class improvisation

Studio class improvisation


My studio is located at 5745 Horton Street between Stanford and Haruff Streets in Emeryville.

Mondays (3;15-8;00pm)
Tuesday (3:15p-8:00pm)
Thursday (3:15-7:00pm*)
Saturdays (9:00am-1:00pm)
*lessons after 6pm on Thursdays are subject to occasional rescheduling


Lessons can be scheduled by phone or email.  Students sign up for lessons by semester, though individual lessons and trial packages for new students may also be scheduled.  There are 3 semesters per year Fall, Spring and a short Summer semester.  Fall and Spring semesters last between 16-22 weeks depending on the calendar year and include weekly lessons, a group studio class (where student play musical games, perform for each other and rehearse for the recital) Each semester culminates in a studio recital where individual and group pieces are performed.  Summer semesters last approximately 10 weeks and are a great way to continue practice while school is out. 


Semester tuition must be paid in full by the 2nd lesson of the semester or monthly installments-set up through your bank’s bill pay.  Installments range from $160-$250 per month depending on semester and length of lesson.  Individual lessons must be paid by cash or check at the time of the lesson.

Individual lessons | Fall Semester (16 wks) | Spring  (22wks)       

30 minutes:     $47.25 |      $ 756   ($189/mo)       | $1039.50  ($173.25/mo)

45 minutes:    $57.75 |     $ 924   ($231/mo)       | $1270 ($211.75/mo)

60 minutes:    $68.25  |     $ 1092 ($273/mo)      | $1501 ($250.25/mo)

60 minute group  lesson: $25/student (minimum 3 students)

90 minute chamber coaching: $125 each


3-30 min lessons for $135
3-45 minute lessons for $165 or
3- 60 min lessons for $195
*This offer available to new students only. Limit one per student.

For current students- Receive a free lesson if you refer a new student that signs up for a semester. 


I require a minimum of 24 hours notice to cancel lessons without charge.  However, I understand that illnesses do not always give notice, so if a lesson is missed due to illness-  I can schedule a make-up later that week when available or during make up week at the end of the semester.  If you know in advanced that you cannot make a particular lesson in the semester, tell me as soon as possible. Lessons not made up by the end of makeup week or cancelled without 24 hours notice will not be made up, period. 


My teaching philosophy and methods are rooted in the belief that given the tools, knowledge and opportunity, anyone can learn an instrument and express them self with sound.  Furthermore, I believe that every one of us has something to valuable to say.   I am committed to creating a safe and inspiring learning environment that encourages experimentation and self-determination. I have distilled a few rules that serve to support these ideals. They are as follows:

  1. Start from where you are:
    We cannot change the past or predict the future.  Only in the moment do we have the power to influence the outcome.   
  2. Respect:
    Yourself, your instincts, your teacher, your colleagues and the process.  Especially those that most challenge you.
  3. Trust:
    Yourself, your instincts, your teacher, your colleagues and the process.  Trust also where you are, whether that be a place or a state of being.
    There is no such thing as can’t only will not try.
  5. Observe objectively and remember to acknowledge and celebrate progress.  Big victories are nothing more than a series of little victories.


The number one thing I expect from my students is commitment.  Learning music is fun and exciting but whether your goals are small or big, it takes dedication and self-discipline.  One reason for this is that playing the clarinet is a physical activity which requires the use of muscle memory.  Muscles “remember” through repetition, which is why regular practicing is needed to learn any instrument.  Most of what I teach in lessons is how to practice.  Your job as the student is to take this information home and TEST IT OUT. I hope you find practicing fun and wish to play for longer!  Remember, what you put in, is what you get out.  For more specific thoughts about practicing, check out my blog post on Kinstantly!

How to Get Kids to Practice Music (Without Nagging) http://blog.kinstantly.com/list-5-ways-to-get-kids-to-practice-without-nagging/


Learning an instrument is a fantastic way to explore your inner and outer worlds while gaining countless skills that can help you in life, whether you become a professional player, an enthusiastic amateur or a lifelong music appreciator.  There are lots of benefits of working with me as your private teacher.   I specialize in clarinet.  My teaching methods focus on helping students create and reach their own goals.  My teaching style is flexible and is catered to the learning styles and interest of each individual student.  Most importantly, I really care!  I invest a lot in my students because I believe in them.  All of my students learn to express themselves with sound and I take great pride in listening to what each of them have to say. 


I can be contacted at rachel(at)rachelcondry(dot)com or by phone/text at 415-577-7224.

Studio Recital- group improvisation

Studio Recital- group improvisation



       Clarinet:  There is a lot to consider when buying an instrument.  It is a big investment and you want to make sure you get something that will last.  If you are thinking to buy a new or used instrument, let me know!   I am happy to source instruments and mouthpieces for my students and I always include them in the selection process. I will ensure that you get a quality instrument that gives you pleasure for years to come.  Here are the instruments I recommend the most:

        Beginners: Buffet B12 (plastic) or Buffet E11 (wood)

        Intermediate:  Buffet E11

        Advanced: Buffet R13 or Prestige (wood or composite)

        Recorder:  Generally speaking I do not teach clarinet to students under the age of 9.  The reason is simple, clarinets are heavy and require fingers large enough to cover the tone holes.  The recorder is a great preparatory instrument for all wind instruments.  Students learn many valuable skills (finger coordination, reading music) that can be directly transferred to the clarinet when they are big enough.


        Selecting the right mouthpiece is critical because it is the interface between you and the instrument.  Just like instrument buying, I am more than happy to help you pick out the best one for you.  Please read my guide to Mouthpiece Selection.    Here is a list of my preferred mouthpieces:

        Beginners: Fobes Debut or Vandoren M15 Lyre

        Intermediate: Vandoren M15 Lyre

        Advanced: Richard Hawkins R or B

** Do not forget to invest in some Blaymenan Mouthpiece Cushions to protect them from scratches!

Music Stand-

        There are a lot of music stands out there.  Most of them are cheaply made and inevitably break.  A Manhassett stand costs a bit more but they are sturdy and will last a life time.  That said, what you spend your money on here is up to you. 


        The best way to keep track of your music is by keeping it in one place.  I recommend investing in a folder or file pocket that can fit your music materials easily.  Folders made specifically for music can be found at your local music store.

Practice Journal

        Please purchase a notebook that can fit in your music folder and bring it to every lesson.

For more info on how to use your practice journal please read Approaches to Practice.

Reeds and a Reed Case

        Reeds are a critical element to clarinet playing.  While your preferred reed and reed strength will depend on several variables, like the kind of mouthpiece you are using, I  generally recommend: Vandoren V12 strength 3, 3 1/2 or 4.  Make sure you choose reeds for the correct instrument (Bb, Eb or Bass).  I sell individual reeds for cost to my students, please inquire at your next lesson.

A descent and inexpensive reed case that suits all levels is a Vito or Vandoren

The Vito cases should be kept in a small ziplock back with a small strip of new sponge made slightly damp inside. 


        I am picky about swabs because cheap one’s do not work well and can get stuck inside instruments!  (the felt swabs that often come in new or rented are particularly bad)  The best swabs are made from either silk or microfiber

Metronome and Tuner

        Anything you can stand the sound of will do!  Metronomes come in various styles from credit card sized one’s that beep to an old fashioned  mechanical one.  I like the affordability of this tuner/metronome combination.  Have a smart phone?  There is an app for that!

Books and Music     

        I usually ask that each of my students have a method or etude book, a scale book and some music to work on.  I often supplement these items with copies from my own library.  A link to my commonly used method books can be found HERE and ideas about where to find them can be found on the RESOURCES page.


Rachel Condry

Rachel Condry

I started playing clarinet in public schools at the age of 9. I may actually have been the worst in my class at first but I enjoyed it and practiced all the time. I used to drive my older brother crazy! Once I started private lessons though, everything changed. I learned so much is lessons that by age 12 I decided I wanted to be a professional musician. I practiced (a lot!) and worked hard and was blessed with outstanding teachers and now I play, teach and write music for a living. I am so grateful to be able to share music with others by teaching, playing and composing. I believe that approaching music from all these different disciplines creates a positive feedback loop, one that improves my engagement and effectiveness in everything I do. For me, teaching is a process of empowerment, one that flows back and forth between teacher and student. If I am not inspired, how can my students be? My job is to help students tools to set and achieve their goals and to discover their own inspirations. I teach a variety of musical traditions from classical to jazz to klezmer and Balkan traditions as well as free (non-idiomatic) improvisation. I use a unique clarinet pedagogy that utilizes every day activities, like breathing and speaking, as models that can make playing easier and more efficient. This approach has proven very effective for my students of all levels and abilities. In addition to clarinet technique, my students learn to read, write and improvise music. They also learn basic harmonic theory and relevant music history and performance practice. In addition to my private studio in Emeryville, I am the chamber music coordinator and a private clarinet instructor at San Francisco Community Music Center; I teach with Composing Together in Oakland and Berkeley and I have taught Music Improvising Workshop at Mills College. I have an Master of Fine Arts from Mills College in Oakland, a Bachelor of Music from Oberlin Conservatory and a Bachelor of Arts from Oberlin College.   My main clarinet teachers have been Lawrence McDonald, Caroline Hartig, Stan Gaulke, Julie Heikkila and Kenneth Grant. I have also studied improvisation and composition with Pauline Oliveros, Fred Frith, John Raskin, Roscoe Mitchell, Zeena Parkins, James Fei, Andrew Cyrille and Henry Grimes.

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