Performing with a student on a CMS recital.

Performing with a student on a CMS recital.

Developing hand position is essential to success!

Developing hand position is essential to success!

Small changes can have a big impact. Moving the thumb position can have a big impact on technique.

Small changes can have a big impact. Moving the thumb position can have a big impact on technique.


With over 15 years of private teaching experience, I continue to refine and explore my teaching style. I've been teaching at the Community Music School of Webster University (CMS) since 2001, and have also taught clarinet at Maryville University and was faculty with the Composer's Intensive Camp at CMS for eight years. I've done many clinics all over St. Louis with clarinet sections and as a chamber music coach, including the Band Camps and Preparatory Program at CMS.

My approach

Every student is unique and requires a unique approach founded on a systematic base. Teaching students how to practice is fundamental to my teaching because teaching yourself is the key to success as a musician. In consultation with students and their families, we create an individualized practice structure that works for each student and their schedule.

Foundation Teaching beginners is something I truly enjoy. Hearing a student make their first sounds, putting together their first song and playing their first duet with them is a privilege and always fun. Over the years I've developed a solid system to teach fundamentals to young students. I have many tried and true techniques to teach both the physical aspect of playing and the music reading skills necessary to develop young musicians.  Building a good practice habit and encouraging, but never pushing, public performance is fundamental to growth. Taking one semester of lessons in conjunction with starting a school band programs will increase success and enjoyment in school, and sticking with it longer will create the opportunity for years of enjoyment through making music.

Development Students who begin lessons after starting in band asked what it is they want to do on the clarinet. We focus on refining the physical aspects of playing the clarinet as well as building technical skills by memorizing scales, practicing drills and developing musical skills and opportunities by taking auditions and participating in Solo and Ensemble and CMS recitals.

Performance Practice Musicians of all levels experience performance anxiety, but especially those in middle and high-school.  As a very active performer, I too deal with the pressures of performance and have developed methods to work though the anxiety to have rewarding performing experiences. The first step is knowing it's normal to be nervous. Learning how to work through nerves is an excellent life skill that extends far beyond the stage. I work with students to help them succeed in stressful situations.

Special needs/adaptations I have taught many different types of students, and enjoy working with students with special needs who require adaptations. Communicating closely with parents and band directors to help all students enjoy music making is a priority.

Expectations I expect my students to practice regularly. 3-5 times a week, for how long depends on their schedules, but developing a regular practice habit that works for them is essential for growth. I can teach you all about music and playing the clarinet but I can't actually do it for you. You have to do the work. I give students foundation work in addition to solos and etudes.

Student Success My students have successfully auditioned for All-Suburban, Metro, All-State and both of the CMS Orchestras and the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra. Many participate in Solo & Ensemble and other honor ensembles.

Where I teach.

NEW: Home studio in Manchester opening Fall 2018! I'm excited to finally have a good location to teach from my home. Space is very limited at this time. 

I've taught for 17 years at the  Community Music School of Webster University

CMS is one of the few fully accredited Community Music Schools in the country and has a beautiful building on the campus of Webster University. Students can participate in recitals (accompanist is provided by CMS) and enjoy the perks of being a part of a large musical community.

Contact me at dana.hotle at or 31four-401-0450 to learn more.