About the Clinician

Michele FernandezMichele Fernández has developed a heart-warming reputation of being able to connect with students and audiences on deeply human level as a nationally recognized, highly engaging educator, guest clinician/conductor, adjudicator, guest speaker, and published instrumental music composer.

Her compositions have been premiered at Midwest, IAJE and Regional Honor/All-State venues and received national acclaim. Most recently she is publishing original works for jazz ensemble through Hal Leonard, Excelcia Publishing, JW Pepper, Print Music Source and also serves as a staff composer for the “Jazz Zone” book/music library series (authored by J. Richard Dunscomb).

Michele is a member of the JEN (Jazz Education Network) Education Committee, and frequently serves as a guest clinician/conductor for Regional and All-state groups and honors Jazz/Symphonic groups. She has appeared as a Midwest Clinic lecturer (’07 & ’16), JEN ’22, as well as being frequent FMEA Conference lecturer, clinician for Clark College Annual Festival (WA), FSU summer camps. Michele is a sponsored Hal Leonard clinician, HAPCO Foundation staff clinician and in the past has also served as guest clinician/conductor/guest lecturer for various universities, including UNT, UNCo, UM Frost, UF and others. She is also a recent co-founder of “Your Jazz Education Connection” consulting, along with J. Richard Dunscomb, providing both in-person and virtual guidance for educators and their students on various topics. She has recently been selected to serve of the Education Committee for JEN (Jazz Education Network).

Michele recently retired from public school teaching after serving Florida’s education system full-time since 1989, where her Miami Senior High ensembles consistently earned top honors and gained international acclaim. Her groups have been selected for appearances at the Midwest Clinic (Chicago ’93 & ’98), IAJE (Boston ’94 & NYC ’97), Montreux Jazz Festival (Switzerland ’96), FMEA Conference (Tampa ’94 & ’97) and have been featured in several national publications. Michele has been the subject of a documentary spot on “CBS Sunday Morning”, was featured as the cover story in Band Director’s Guide and featured as an outstanding educator in Downbeat Magazine. In the past, Michele has also taught Special Ed, English and tutored Chemistry to ESL students. She is also an active oboist and percussionist in the Miami area and spent several years as a pianist and rhythm section member of a busy local Latin ensemble. During non-work hours, she and her husband Chad enjoy all things boating, motorbiking, and traveling.

Clinic Series

Click on the topics below for details.

TIPS TO GET YOUR RHYTHM SECTION GROOVIN' IN VARIOUS STYLES - FROM SWIND TO SALSA: Michele shares decades of nationally-recognized teaching experience as well as a unique ability to explain concepts in a highly engaging, concise manner. This clinic teaches performance concepts utilized in swing, funk, ballads, along with some basic elements of salsa, bossa/samba. She has designed an interactive clinic that gives educators and students an aural, visual and tactile experience. Over the course of the session: directors and students will learn basic concepts related to stylistic interpretation, building bass lines, voicing chords, reading drum charts, as well as learning tips relevant to all rhythm section players for playing various styles with more authenticity. The session will be engaging to all students regardless of instrument and can be implemented immediately with students at any level. Session attendees will have access to handouts to reinforce the concepts presented.
PRACTICAL TIPS TO ACHIEVE THAT ELUSIVE AUTHENTIC SOUND IN COMMON LATIN STYLES - FROM BOSSA TO SALSA: “One Stop Latin Shop” Is a much more in-depth, detailed, and interactive variation of the “One Stop Rhythm” clinic which focuses solely on the most common Latin styles found in school music. Michele brings her own cultural connection, writing/performing skills, and 30 years of successful teaching experience, as well as a unique ability to explain concepts in a highly engaging, concise manner- to create an interesting, interactive clinic which gives educators and students an aural, visual, and tactile experience. This unique clinic has already been successfully presented across the country, as well as the JEN conference. Directors and students, regardless of instrument- will learn ways to identify Latin styles, perform the correct rhythmic patterns, convert patterns to a drum set, write bass lines, construct piano “Montunos”, learn comping patterns, etc.. They will also learn tips relevant to all musicians in salsa, bossa nova, samba, AC 6/8, Chá and Bolero styles with more authenticity. Session attendees will have access to a handout containing examples and techniques in the various styles presented.
FREE 5 MINUTE VIDEO TIPS FROM A SEASONED ADJUDICATOR ON SPECIFIC TOPICS (CONCERT AND JAZZ): “One Stop Quick Clinics” shared through HAPCO in memory of Kenneth Tolbert, a prolific mentor special to both Michele and HAPCO founder Joseph “Hap” McMullen: Michele donates her time to you by sharing her decades of successful high/middle school teaching (and 20 years of adjudicator/clinic experience) in a free video series that covers the adjudicator’s perspective on how to improve targeted aspects of your band’s performance. Michele delivers each topic in an engaging, concise manner in short videos that you can actually play for students during rehearsal to reinforce a particular point. It’s like having an adjudicator/clinician in your band room (but for just 5 minutes so you can go about your lesson plan). New topics will be added regularly and will include (but are not limited to): Horn to Rhythm Section balance, articulation concepts, rhythm section technique for each instrument in various styles from swing to salsa, intonation, ballad and lyrical piece performance, Latin techniques, emotional aspects of interpreting a chart/piece, eliminating improv anxiety, emotional wellness in the band room, building a community of fun/emotional safety, and many more.
An Educationally and Humanly Memorable Experience While Learning Varying Styles Michele Fernández, composer and clinician As a published composer for major publishers, Michele combines 30 years of nationally recognized teaching with a highly engaging and personable rehearsal manner during her “Composer-in-Residence” series clinics. Students will enjoy a highly memorable in-person experience as Michele shares, rehearses and guest conducts 2-3 of her own compositions and/or arrangements in varying styles at a final performance of the director’s choosing (with a pre-determined rehearsal schedule designed by the director). Every student in the room will try (and thus learn)- the concepts when Michele teaches (not only the section to whom she is addressing for a particular concept). By habit, Michele also makes it a point to share important life lessons while she works with the students in a humorous, kind, and supportive manner. Another variation of this clinic would include having Michele help a director prepare one (or more) of her compositions by coming in to guest rehearse (or rehearse virtually with the aid of a good quality band room microphone) and share her experience with the students without herself being at the final performance. Mp3 demos of available Grade 2-4 compositions are on her website: www.Michele-Fernandez.com Here is a quick link to one the pieces you can choose. This one happens to be a grade 2+/3 Mambo/Cha-Cha hybrid playable by 3 of each horn: "https://soundcloud.com/user-385551795-541940183/misteriosa-mambo-suave?utm_source=clipboard&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=social_sharing
A FUNDAMENTAL APPROACH TO BREAKING DOWN THE PSYCHOLOGICAL BARRIERS: “Conquering the Fear of Improvising” Michele is passionate in her belief that having the usual 4-5 students take a solo at a concert is not reaching each child, and that, more often than not- most kids in the room secretly wish to be able to get up and take a solo. She believes (and has personally lived the truth that) music is way to help people heal, overcome personal difficulties, and shed their fears in life to improve their futures. As a result, she has designed an insightful, compassionate, psychologically humanistic session designed to help attendees understand the anxiety and fear of judgment/avoidance. This session will help every student in your room gain more self-confidence to shed that often-paralyzing fear of trying improvisation, help the more confident students compassionately understand and lend support to their peers, and to help directors reach even the most anxious and hesitant student. Using these techniques, Michele has been able to go from the typical 4-5 students wanting to a solo to the entire group volunteering to improvise at concerts and has achieved success in coaxing the most hesitant students (often in just one day) during guest conductor engagements.