The Successful Clinic

The Successful Clinic by Tony DeAugustine

Any musician who has taught or attended a clinic knows they can be flat and disconnected, or stimulating and inspiring. Below are some suggestions to offer a clinic of the latter kind.

First, have a plan. If there’s no clear perspective being offered, it can feel like a waste of time. When I teach clinics, I like to offer a packet of technical material and exercises to the attendees as a handout, so they can follow along and ask questions directly pertaining to the material. The handout gives the audience something to engage with and gives the clinics a clear direction. I likewise have concrete learning objectives to share, which keeps me on track, but also flexible to go with the crowd I have.

Next, rehearse your plan. I outline my clinic and practice the outline, leaving some room for spontaneity. I like to open a clinic with a performance of some kind, which is a great way to get the audience’s attention and demonstrate what you intend to teach in action. I’ve also brought in other musicians of note to play with me. Then I move into teaching from the handout, and prepare to teach or explain something three different ways. At some point I like to get off the stage and demonstrate in the audience, which helps attendees get up-close with the technique or style we’re highlighting. Then, I like to pick someone from the audience to come up onstage and try the method out. We’ll work together to gain immediate results. And I always leave time for Q & A at the end.

Also: plan your marketing. The first time I gave a clinic it was suggested I include on the flyer everything that I intended to teach, and we got a huge turnout as a result. List any guest appearances by other musicians, and include any raffles or product give-aways being offered. The bigger the turnout, the happier everyone is.

Finally, think about how you want to be perceived. Just as presenters try to get a read on their audience, audiences are trying to get a read on the presenters. I’ve been to clinics with high-profile musicians who clearly just wanted to show up, do their “thing,” and affirm their big-name status. Their clinics felt more like personal showcases. I’ve been to see others who were excited to engage and share with the crowd. One guy offered for people to come up onstage to try out his custom-made drum kit. He gave everyone a great experience, and left everyone with a good impression of him. Positivity is contagious. So is demeanor and appearance. If the presenter looks and acts like he or she is glad to be there, the audience probably will, too.


Hello world!

I am excited to start my new course here on word press. I am a professional musician and teacher. I have a passion for both and look forward to sharing my experiences in a learning format. I will hopefully help others on their journey of playing great music, and expressing them selves and their ideas.