ClarinetMeet Our Musicians

Jamie Auberg Wants to Make the Clarinet Cool Again

In the Meet Our Musicians series, Jellynote introduces you to the Creators behind the sheet music on our platform. Discover their musical style and get to know them!

Jamie Auberg is a professional musician currently residing in Newport News, Virginia, who started sharing his arrangements on Jellynote the sheet music platform in October 2019.

Speaking with Jamie is like looking at a life that could have been. Sort of. Just like Jamie, I used to play the clarinet, many years ago. As a result, when he first mentions the instrument, I shudder as I recall my reluctance to practise as a child. I was convinced that the clarinet was a boring and, frankly, unsexy instrument, which had no relevance outside of an orchestra setting. Of course, it hasn’t always been like this. Jamie recalls a time when the clarinet was considered hot stuff.

“There was a time in America when clarinet was a big deal. Clarinets were regular instruments in the pop music of the day”

Jamie Auberg, professional clarinet player and teacher

It is Jamie’s personal mission to return the clarinet to its former glory and to show that it is much more versatile than you might think. He’s doing this, one transcription at a time, focusing on Disney songs and traditional folk music. Check out his sheet music for Into The Unknown the theme from Frozen II and his arrangement of Christmas carol God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen for the clarinet.

In the mood for some more Disney? Check out Jamie’s arrangement of Part Of Your World from The Little Mermaid and his sheet music for Alan Menken’s Beauty and Beast 

“I do try to show that the clarinet can be a lot more than people think it is”, he tells me.

It was fairly obvious that Jamie was going to be a creative individual. Prior to discovering his love of music, he considered himself quite the young writer. He wrote stories as soon as he learned how to hold a pen.

Unsurprisingly, his passion for music didn’t foster itself! His family had a significant impact on his musical education. His grandmother was a professional violinist, who used to play in a quartet. It was his mother, though, who cemented his musical destiny. Like all 5th graders in America, Jamie was set to learn the recorder at his school. However, the year he was to start, the programme was cancelled. Unwilling for her son to go without this experience, Jamie’s mother took it upon herself to teach herself recorder, in order to then teach her son.

Clarinet vs Recorder
For those of you who are not quite sure what the difference between a clarinet and a recorder is…

Although his memories of the recorder are fond, true love came in the form of the clarinet, which he was first introduced to by a clarinet soloist at church.

“I don’t actually remember what the song was”, he admits, “but it was very beautiful. A beautiful piece, beautifully played.”

After a year of the recorder, he switched instruments and the rest is history.

Check out Jamie’s brilliant arrangement of Frosty the Snowman for the clarinet

Often students find it difficult to motivate themselves, but this wasn’t the case for Jamie. He loved practising and set aside a time every night to devote himself to his instrument. He also played in the high school band, local orchestra…anything he could find. He even played in the pit in one or two musicals…

His first love was the clarinet, his second was composing, a passion he discovered at the age of 12 at the Summer Institute of the Arts  – a summer school for music he attended, where he was equipped with the necessary knowledge of music theory that allowed him to seriously pursue composition. He also took classes in clarinet, band and music history.

Jamie playing the clarinet

Though, and I do hate to be cheesy, perhaps, the real musical education were the friends he made along the way… In all seriousness, he speaks fondly of the “long-lasting friendships” he made and the joy of being surrounded by like-minded people who shared his passion for music.

Fortunately, Jamie’s parents were not too worried about music not being a “real job”. He laughs as he says this, clearly used to this phrase being used as a weapon against him…

Check out Jamie’s arrangement of Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen

That said, they were keen for him to pursue music education, rather than composition, since it was more practical for making a living. As a result, Jamie attended Christopher Newport University and was taught by his current clarinet teacher, who was the professor there as well. Though (and you might be sensing a bit of a trend here…), he almost took his life in a completely different direction as, at the time, he was flirting with a career in engineering. Although he did not choose to pursue this degree in the end, his grounding in engineering has aided the technical aspect of his relationship with music. Nowadays he finds himself drawing on that knowledge as he creates multi-track recordings.

After completing his degree, he found a job playing at Bush Gardens – a local amusement park. He did this for a season, as well as teaching students, before exploring another avenue.

Jamie teaching a student the piano

He was later hired as the assistant manager of a music store…before it went out of business. Fortunately, he was then hired again as an assistant manager of another store…before this one too went out of business.

Third time lucky? Alas not. It was when his third store, a store he himself had started, went out of business that he knew his time was up.

“Rough business”, he says with a look of resignation in his eyes.

As he outlines the reasons for the crashes (which range from the rise of the Internet to 9/11), I see a look of sadness manifest in his expression.

After a sting in teaching in a few private schools, he now offers music lessons at Centerstage Academy, as well as through his own business – Auberg Instructional Innovations, where he teaches classes in cooperation with the Newport News City Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Instructional Programs.

Jamie at school teaching 4 kids

Looking to get into teaching yourself? Check out our article on how to find private music students in your local area.

Has he been successful in his mission to redeem the clarinet’s reputation? His almost 3000 (and counting) YouTube subscribers seem to think so!

He’s even convinced me to have another go…

Speed round!

If you could have a dinner party with three musicians, dead or alive, who would they be?

Aaron Copland comes to mind initially. That’s one of my favourite composers.

Probably Bach.

And Mozart. I think he’s crazy enough for me to want to talk to!

What would you talk about?

The way he composes music, the way he can remember music and just his overall genius of it.

What song do you listen to when you’re happy?

Making Love Out of Nothing at All by Air Supply

And when you’re sad?

Held by Nathalie Grant

What is your favourite “music memory”?

Probably playing in the pit orchestra for the musicals at college, particularly the first one, which was “Guys and Dolls”

You can stay up to date with Jamie’s stuff by subscribing to his music and animation channels on YouTube!

30 posts

About author
William Ridd is a writer based in London. After a messy divorce from the clarinet, William decided that playing music wasn’t for him, but he continues to appreciate it and likes writing about it.
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