Program Overview


Our clarinet program offers a collaborative studio environment for weekly lessons, master classes of solo, chamber, and orchestral excerpt study, and reed making with clarinet reed room access. Students work closely with master teacher Richard Hawkins, who since 1990 has developed some of the most notable performers and teachers in the field of clarinet today.

clarinet professor instructs student in his studio
Richard Hawkins guides Dustin Lin, a third-year clarinet performance major from Nashville, Tennessee, during a private lesson.
Photo credit: Tanya Rosen-Jones ’97

Program Facts

  • Program Type: Major, Performance Diploma, Artist Diploma
    • Bachelor of Music (BM)
    • Performance Diploma (PDip)
    • Artist Diploma (ADip)
  • Division: Winds, Brass, and Percussion


Richard Hawkins, Professor of Clarinet
Clarinetist Anthony McGill playing as student observes
Anthony McGill, principal clarinet of the New York Philharmonic and a former student of Richard Hawkins, leads a master class in Oberlin.
Photo credit: Carina Wu

Master Classes

Weekly studio classes and regular master classes for clarinet students involve mock orchestral auditions, reinforcement of fundamentals, chamber music performances, solo recital performances, guest master classes, and many other types of performance opportunities. We encourage students to support their colleagues with positive and constructive feedback. Oberlin cultivates a learning environment in which students are open to making mistakes without consequence in larger public performances.

Master Classes at Oberlin

Time to Play

We place first-year students among returning students equally and fairly within the sections of all ensembles. We nurture them in a collaborative studio environment to inspire personal growth and development. Through orchestral, chamber music, jazz, improvisational, and historical through contemporary music for the clarinet, we encourage versatility and provide immense breadth of experience.

student musicians standing and holding instruments while on stage
Members of Oberlin Sinfonietta complete a performance in Warner Concert Hall.
Photo credit: Dale Preston ’83

Clarinet Faculty

Conservatory faculty maintain active performance schedules while remaining accessible and committed to their students. Individual instruction is paramount to helping students develop their mechanical, technical, stylistic, psychological, and musical skills.

Preparing students for today’s music field is ever-changing. Oberlin provides an atmosphere of growth and preparation for my undergraduate students to expand their musical knowledge. It is my aim to present traditional and modern teaching methods to prepare each individual to find their career path while promoting a healthy and happy environment to work with their peers.

Richard Hawkins, Professor of Clarinet

Clarinet News

Life After Oberlin

Clarinet and double-degree graduates are prepared to pursue professional music careers as soloists or with a range of ensembles—from major orchestras to contemporary chamber groups; many earn principal appointments. Others work in schools, conservatories, and in all facets of society.

Notable Oberlin Alumni

Principal Clarinet, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra

Principal Clarinet, National Symphony Orchestra (Washington, D.C.)

Principal Clarinet, Los Angeles Philharmonic