Alicia Bennett

About: Alicia Bennett

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  • Role : Winds, Brass, & Percussion
  • Website :
  • Experience :
  • Specialist in : Saturday Music Project Faculty (Clarinet)

Instrument you teach: Clarinet

Do you play any other instrument in your spare time? YES. I play piano and a bit of saxophone, flute, and recorder as needed. And guitar (a very, very little bit. I own about four chords).

Education: 

BA, MUSIC (UNIVERSITY OF NEW MEXICO, ALBUQUERQUE)

MM, CLARINET PERFORMANCE (SUNY STONY BROOK)

DMA, CLARINET PERFORMANCE (SUNY STONY BROOK)

Where are you from? Albuquerque, NM, before moving to NY in 2001. (But I grew up an army brat, so I’ve lived in a few places.)

Favorite age group to teach: ALL! But I particularly like working with young beginners and seeing how excited they get about every bit of progress. I also really enjoy with my advanced high school students who are working on challenging and exciting repertoire – especially if they’ve been my students for a while. Being part of their growth and evolution as musicians, and seeing them mature into adulthood, is pretty special.

Favorite style of music to teach: CLASSICAL. It’s what I know best so it’s my forte. But I love all kinds of music and really enjoy working in musical styles outside of my comfort zone.

Favorite piece of music: Mahler’s Symphony No. 4. Particularly the forth/final movement: The Heavenly Life (Das himmlische Leben), for Soprano and Orchestra

Favorite food: Green Chile Stew (made with New Mexico green chiles) and fresh, homemade tortillas. And Thai food from Sri Pra Phai Restaurant in Queens. And Peruvian food (ceviche, in particular).

Favorite color: Umm…yellow, because it reminds me of warmth and sunshine.

Do you have any pets? No pets. But I love and spend a lot of time with my family’s dog Kido when I go to NM on holidays. I think he’s the best dog I’ve ever known.

What’s your favorite musical memory? My time spent at the Banff Center for the Arts in Banff, Canada. Getting to know and collaborate with the many talented, inspiring, and open-hearted musicians I met there is an experience I will always cherish. In fact, it was a revitalizing and reaffirming break from grad school that helped me regain my musical confidence and spirit, and propelled me across the finish line of my DMA.

What do you like best about teaching music? I love seeing and hearing the accumulation of all of the little breakthroughs that happen for my students. And I especially love that teaching music never feels like a “job.” I always feel like the lucky one teaching music.

Who is your favorite composer or musician? This is a hard one. It often ends up being whatever I’m currently working on (which at the moment just involves me playing long tones and slow scales, occasionally breaking out into old pieces and excerpts, while I get my wrist back into playing condition following a playing injury).

To give a more concrete answer, I absolutely adore the Beethoven and Mahler symphonies. For instrumental music, Stravinsky is a favorite (I think his orchestration is the best there is), as well as some of the work of Penderecki and Arvo Pärt. And non-clarinet related admiration goes out to Monteverdi – he is the bomb.

As much as I love playing the above, I don’t particularly listen to much classical music. I tend to take a break on that front and give my ears some respite with bluegrass/folk music (Gillian Welsh is a favorite), and just about anything else that has a good hook.

What was the first piece of music you ever learned? The first piece of music I ever learned was on piano, and I think it had something to do with bears. For practice, nowadays (when I’m in playing condition), basic maintenance is about an hour a day (in addition to playing in lessons with students throughout the day). But when I’m getting ready for rehearsals or a concert (depending on how much music there is to learn and how much time I have), it can vary between two to three hours a day. It’s all relative.

How many hours a day do you practice? One to two hours.

How long have you been at TBMS? I’ve been at Turtle Bay since September 2013, teaching clarinet for the SMP program.

Any fun facts about yourself that you would like to share? I make pretty killer granola.