Maestro Chaffee preparing the SHS Tour Orchestra for performance near Cremona Italy 2008

Maestro Chaffee preparing the SHS Tour Orchestra for performance near Cremona Italy 2008

Clark Chaffee is available for clinics and mentoring in the areas of string pedagogy, performance ensemble curriculum development, percussion pedagogy, beginning composing curriculum development, student leadership development, beginning improvisation for string players of all ages, comprehensive curriculum development for class guitar programs, and developing effective PLC music teams.


Rhythm Workshop - Low tech, high impact methodology to give your students a comprehensive understanding of rhythm notation and performance practice. Establish a common rhythm vocabulary. Dramatically reduce rehearsal time dedicated to fixing rhythm problems. Empower students to sightread faster and practice more effectively.
View Rhythm Workshop Clinic Slides PDF

Key Shapes For Strings - Low tech, high impact methodology to increase knowledge of the hand shapes created on each string, encompassing every key on every instrument. Using surprisingly simple and effective procedures, Key Shapes correlates the half- and whole-step patterns in scales to simple, moveable hand shapes, giving students a thorough understanding of how to navigate their instruments. Dramatically reduce rehearsal time needed to "fix wrong notes." Empower students to sightread faster and practice more effectively.

Blues Basics for Strings: Introduction to Improvisation and Combo Performing - A fun and enlightening introduction to improvisation for students and teachers on bowed strings or guitar. This is a hands-on clinic, and all participants are highly encouraged to bring their instrument to the "jam session." Students will become familiar with and improvise on the blues scale, learn basic blues progressions, and create rhythmic chord backgrounds for use in ensembles. The final activity of the session will be a group performance of a blues song that incorporates all of their new knowledge.

Curriculum Development for Large Ensembles - Effective methods for quantifying and maximizing students' musical progress. Do you feel like it's hard enough just getting your students to play the right notes, and keeping track of their skill levels and knowledge acquisition would be beneficial but downright overwhelming? This clinic will help you:

  • Research national and state standards to establish educational priorities;
  • Form a clear outline of the key components you need to teach your students; 
  • Research what materials and classroom procedures will help you teach them;
  • Collect quantifiable data from knowledge- and skill-based developmental activities; and
  • Analyze the data to see how you're measuring up to your original goals and what adjustments you may need to make in your materials and procedures.

We will also discuss the role of the Professional Learning Community and how a strong music department team can help your classroom attain your goals.

Making the PLC Process Work for Music Teachers - Working within a productive team in a Professional Learning Community is the most efficient way to improve teaching effectiveness. This clinic will review the key components for building PLC teams as defined by Rick DuFour, a nationally recognized advocate of the PLC movement. Discussion will include defining core curriculum topics, designing effective tools to assess student learning and growth, reviewing and analyzing student progress data, and revising materials and classroom activities based on that data analysis.

          This process can be intimidating if attempted individually, but it is quite manageable with a high-functioning team. As a member of the music department at A. E. Stevenson High School, Clark was part of the creation of a PLC team that became a model for thousands of schools worldwide.

Clinics vary from one-hour introductory sessions to multiple day teacher in-service or student intensive training sessions. Contact Mr. Chaffee to discuss your specific needs. Eastman String Instrument Company can often help with clinician expenses. Special rates are available for public school programs in Arizona, Clark County Nevada, and Southern California.

Clark Chaffee is a well-respected clinician with extensive knowledge of many aspects of music performance and education. For a comprehensive list of his previous clinics, click here.