We believe the tools we use and skills we have must constantly be diversified, developed and updated to allow us to be agile in an ever-shifting industry. We are here to help you navigate your career in music from scales to resumes to everything in between. 


This platform is built on YOUR possibilities!  

Hi there!


We are Ixi and Tiffany!

Ixi is a clarinetist in the Cincinnati Symphony and professor at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. Tiffany is the assistant professor of clarinet at Virginia Commonwealth University.

We are performers, educators and coaches who have studied the "gap" in the traditional path of classical music training, and together we run the Digital Clarinet Academy and Thrive programs!

Ideas often start with a problem...

Ours was simple: in-studio lessons aren't enough. Time in the practice room and with the clarinet on your face is great, but it isn't everything.

A career it won't make. 

Teaching and preparing hundreds of conservatory (and high-school) students over our collective 30 years of teaching, it's clear that high level musical training isn't enough. 

Our *360* philosophy and approach to creativity and music performance expands the study to include insights from other disciplines, mental resilience training, lifestyle considerations from exercise to nutrition to sleep,  time management skills and emotional well-being.

The 3 pillars of our philosophy

Dylan Smith


Camera Settings

Learn all about shutter speed, aperture, and ISO.

Flash Photography

Learn how to use flash to get trendy high-contrast photos.

35mm Film

Learn how to get crisp images using cameras from the 60s.

In this way, we develop musicians into performers who engage completely with their art, and for whom success is redefined.

This purpose-centered work also incorporates business and entrepreneurial know-how. To be skillful in this area doesn't require you to go out and get a degree, just basic working knowledge that will help you actively create the career you've been training all these years for!

From resume-creating, copywriting, speaking with poise, interviewing, to website design and personal branding, we KNOW skill-building is crucial to your success. 

Aligning all aspects of clarinet playing can be transformational for the work you're doing to achieve success in your musical and creative pursuits.


If you're intrigued -  

the mini course linked below will introduce you to many of our philosophies, and get you on your way to becoming a more powerful you!

Mini Course: 6 ways to Thrive as a Modern Musician

Get 6 workshops on how to stack your skills to achieve career success, motivate yourself in the practice room, build your artistic identity, and stay physically and mentally well (as a musician and human)!

I want the mini course!

It is through this lens that we are passionate about helping you find confidence in playing the clarinet, and realize the dreams you never thought possible!

We are so lucky to call these people our supporters, friends, and students.


Lawrie Bloom

"You were fantastic!  I so enjoyed and resonated to your wonderful discussion today.  So many times I was “yep, that’s what I went through”, “yep, those are doubts I have had, and all my students too”.  You 2 are a gift.  
I’m so proud of what you are doing for the clarinet world, and bigger.  This is a difficult time for everyone, but maybe particularly for young artists trying to get along in the world.  You’re offering such great help."

Emily T.


"I feel like every day my brain is exploding with so many ideas for my studio and my business... taking your course is seriously the best thing I've ever dontefor my professional development! I'm realizing that I have so much more potential than I once thought - and so much more I can create for my students."

Lauren E. 


"I learned so much and appreciate this outlet you have given me and so many other clarinetists to improve in all areas of clarinet and our musicianship! I've come away from this experience very inspired and motivated to use all the new techniques I've been taught these past two sessions. It was a pleasure having this opportunity during a difficult time in this profession and I am grateful for the people I have made connections with and look forward to incorporating their ideas into my own personal style of playing."

Tell me... what is it your plan to do with your one wild and precious life?


- Mary Oliver

It all starts with an initial conversation so we can learn more about YOU. Please look around and if interested, reach out and we'll schedule a chat.  We look forward to hearing from you!

If you really wanted our long bios, here ya go!




Born in Taiwan and raised in California, Ixi Chen enjoys an active career as an orchestral player, chamber musician, artistic director, and educator.  Ms. Chen holds the position of Second Clarinet in the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and enjoys a versatile and active career as an orchestral player, chamber musician, artistic director, educator and coach. Ms. Chen's commitment to diverse experiences has taken her around the globe. She has performed in music festivals such as the Munich ARD, Aspen, Tanglewood, Evian, Schleswig-Holstein, Rheingau, Jerusalem, Thessoloniki, Saint Petersburg, Mexico City UNAM and the Beijing International Clarinet Festival. 

Assistant Professor of Clarinet at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Ms. Chen is a beloved teacher of students of all ages, running a private home studio of students from age 15-70. As a teacher and coach, Ms. Chen is deeply dedicated to empowering musicians to create the artistic career of their dreams, and develop the personal and business skills to transform their lives.  This holistic approach is delivered through lessons, coaching and Music360, a music performance, career counseling, and entrepreneurial training platform that has created programs like the Digital Clarinet Academy, Thrive and more. 

With her love of chamber music, she founded the chamber ensemble concert:nova whose fusion of traditional and contemporary elements seeks to cultivate a new audience for music, create vibrant community connections and deeper dialogue and understanding. During the ensemble’s 14 seasons, the ensemble has commissioned more than 30 new works, produced 15 regional premieres, and received grants including awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, ArtsWave and the Greater Cincinnati Foundation.

Ms.Chen trained with Rosario Mazzeo, Gary Gray at the University of California Los Angeles, David Krakauer and Ricardo Morales at the Manhattan School of Music, Wolfgang Meyer at the Hochschule fur Musik Karlsruhe, Joaquin Valdepenas at the Aspen Festival and Yehuda Gilad at the University of Southern California. An active presenter and clinician, she presents masterclasses, workshops and talks at universities across the US and abroad. As a Buffet Crampon and D’Addario Artist, Ms. Chen performs exclusively on Buffet Crampon Clarinets and D'Addario Reeds.




A charismatic performer and teacher, Dr. Tiffany Valvo is currently the Assistant Professor of Clarinet at Virginia Commonwealth University. Tiffany has been a lecturer of music at both Nazareth College and Syracuse University, and has performed at the Sante Fe Chamber Music Festival, the Kennedy Center, as a soloist with the Richmond Symphony, and with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra. She has performed all over the US and in Belgium, England, Italy, and Germany, in addition to being a participant in the Brevard Music Festival, Boston University Tanglewood Institute, the Eastern Music Festival, and the CCM Spoleto festival.

Fueled by teaching and learning, Tiffany has taught applied clarinet, methods courses, chamber music, aural skills and music theory. Her varied teaching experiences have served as a catalyst for examining the ways in which we can build connections between the applied studio and other disciplines in music, accessing the core of student musicianship. Tiffany has presented on this topic at the College Music Society International Conference (Belgium, 2019), the International Clarinet Association Conference (Orlando, 2017), the Single Reed Summit (Kirksville, 2018), and the Pedagogy of Theory Conference (Tennessee, 2017). While living in Germany in 2013-14, she held a position at Der Bläserjugend der Stadtmusik Bonndorf, teaching a private studio of students ages 8-16 in the German language and on the German system of clarinet. Previously, she held a position at the Eastman Community Music School in Rochester, NY and has taught applied lessons at the Eastman School of Music. 

One of the most pressing projects in her life right now is answering this question: what if we taught students (and everyone else) how to live empowered lives and redefined the skills that really matter? In Spring 2019, she taught the first semester of her proposed course "The Creative Habit" that teaches college students the "soft" skills they need to succeed in college and in life such as goal setting, mindfulness, coping with stress and dealing with the anxieties of every day life. Her blog explores how to develop these skills. 

Tiffany has become a sought after performer of contemporary repertoire, and she is passionate about performing and teaching this music. She serves as clarinetist and bass clarinetist of the Alla Balena Ensemble, dedicated to performing the music of Mexican composer Carlos Sánchez-Gutierrez and other music of our time. In 2012, she was chosen to participate in the Creative Dialogue workshop at the Sante Fe Music Festival where she was coached by Magnus Lindberg, Chen Halevi and Anssi Karttunen, and has performed chamber works by living composers at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. A graduate of the Arts Leadership Program at the Eastman School of Music, Tiffany extended her knowledge in contemporary music administration with an internship as Administrative Assistant with Ensemble Signal, one of the country's leading contemporary music ensembles. Tiffany continued work for the ensemble as an Artstic Administrator through 2018, administoring projects at Lincoln Center and CalArts. ‚Äč

Tiffany holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree and Masters Degree in Performance and Literature from the Eastman School of Music and a Bachelors Degree in Clarinet Performance from Florida State University. At Eastman, she served as the teaching assistant of both Jon Manasse and Kenneth Grant. In 2012, Tiffany won a private grant, took a year off of her doctoral studies and moved across the Atlantic to study at the Trossingen Hochschule für Musik, Germany with Israeli clarinetist Chen Halevi. Her other teachers include Frank Kowalsky and Deborah Bish.

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