Photo by Michael
Richard Mannoia, clarinetist, performs a wide
variety of orchestral, chamber, folk and new
music in diverse venues such as Alice Tully
Hall, Weill Recital Hall, Joe’s Pub, Galapagos
Arts Space and the Whitney Museum. A veteran
member of the interdisciplinary performance
collaborative, VisionIntoArt, he has been
performing new music with theater, poetry, dance
and film in NYC and abroad. He has been
freelancing in the New York area since
graduating from Manhattan School of Music and,
in addition to local performances, has performed
abroad extensively in countries as far reaching
as South Africa, Nepal, Serbia, and Paraguay.
Mannoia maintains a deep commitment to
educational outreach and teaches and performs
outreach concerts for the New York Philharmonic,
including performances on the Philharmonic’s
Asian tours to Japan and Abu Dhabi. Along with
bassist/composer Jon Deak, Mannoia was invited
by Venezuela’s renowned El Sistema to lead
workshops and introduce composition to the
Venezuelan model. Since 2007, he has been lead
mentor for the Fellows of the Juilliard-Carnegie
Hall Academy. As a consultant, Mannoia has
trained musicians, curated concerts and designed
curriculum for many organizations including the
Philadelphia Orchestra, New York City Opera,
92nd St Y, Carnegie Hall, Symphony Space and the
Guggenheim Museum. Since 2008, he has designed
and hosted the Philadelphia Orchestra’s Saturday
Pre-Concert Adventures in the Kimmel Center. He
has also taught at the Professional Performing
Arts High School, coached chamber music at
Juilliard Pre-College and coached graduate
chamber music at Manhattan School of Music for
educational outreach performances.
What or who inspired you to become a Teaching
Since high school, when I had been a teaching
assistant at a summer music camp, I have always
had an innate interest in teaching and sharing
my knowledge and experience with kids. As far
as Teaching Artistry, it wasn’t until I was
recruited by Tom Cabaniss at the New York
Philharmonic that I really got to see a true
embodiment of Teaching Artistry as opposed to
just traditional teaching. The difference was a
fully experiential approach to learning about
music, infused with fierce creativity and
What has been most helpful to you in your
1. Receiving feedback from experts I respect.
Everyone agrees that being observed in the
classroom is stressful and sometimes
inconvenient. We often feel that we don’t
perform our best while being observed. Despite
these negative feelings, receiving honest
feedback from an expert is invaluable.
2. Once a Teaching Artist knows how to evaluate
quality in the work, watching video footage of
his/her own teaching is extraordinarily
beneficial. Although artists tend to be
particularly self-critical, we are also uniquely
equipped to self-evaluate and assess in similar
ways to our art making training.
3. Observing other Teaching Artists. In
addition to seeking out great Teaching Artists,
I was promoted very early on in my Teaching
Artist career to do field observations of other
Teaching Artists. By seeing dozens of others
work, I was able to survey a wide variety of
styles and see what NOT to do as well as take
away hundreds of successful ideas and
What have you learned are the unique talents
of a Teaching Artist?
Teaching artists are uniquely adept at engaging
learners and audiences. Through creative
activities, inquiry, and engaging facilitation
participants not just learn about music,
but enter into a piece of music. As
teachers who engage in art making themselves,
Teaching Artists can bring an unparalleled level
of first-hand experience to the learners.
What have you learned that a Teaching Artist
needs to know?
Organization – arranging one’s life, teaching
schedules, lesson plans and materials is a lot
to handle and most artists are unprepared in
their training for the organizational demands
necessary to be a consummate Teaching Artist.
Furthermore, the preferences towards “winging
it” in the classroom are significant impediments
to success as a Teaching Artist.
Relationship building and interpersonal skills –
developing strong relationships with schools and
ALL their staff (principals, custodians,
teachers, secretaries, etc.) is crucial to the
work. Not only does this create better teaching
environments for students, it will make a
Teaching Artist’s job much easier when they have
strong partners in the school buildings.
What have you learned is the most important
thing a Teaching Artists needs to be able to do?
Relating to students/participants and finding
relevancy in their lives and experience. Since
artists possess such a high level of talent and
expertise in their art form, this creates a
tremendous divide between them and their
students. Being able to reach your students
means being able to understand them and how they
experience art. The biggest and most common
problem I see in inexperienced Teaching Artists
is the disconnect between their lessons and
relevancy to students’ lives and the way
students hear and understand a piece of music.
What or who has been your best teacher?
Tom Cabaniss – he has modeled virtuosic
teaching, empathy for his students and
audiences, risk taking, and commitment to both
art making and teaching. He also challenged me
in countless ways to improve my own practice and
to think and work in inspiring ways.
What is the most important advice you would
give to a young artist about to enter the field?
Define what you are most passionate about in
reaching students and audiences – teaching art
content is great, but there are deeper goals
that will sustain you for the long haul.
Additionally, find out what your strengths are
and be honest about your shortcomings. Once,
you’ve identified your weakness go the extra
mile to improve them – no one is born a Master
Has there been one experience that
immediately comes into your mind that changed
the way you teach?
My audition training at Lincoln Center Institute
had a weeklong immersion exploring four
different art disciplines. Being a dance
student, theatre student, and art student
brought me the experience of being an “art
outsider” and, in turn, profoundly changed my
relationship to teaching music as a music
Teaching Artist. I cannot recommend more highly
that Teaching Artists seek opportunities to
simulate being an art novice.
What sustained (s) your practice as a
Exploring great repertoire in meaningful ways.
I recommend Teaching Artists find programs and
opportunities to bring complex and challenging
works of art to their students. There are
“easy” pieces and lessons, but everyone involved
gets more out the challenge and it is
artistically nourishing to a Teaching Artist,
which is a crucial aspect to sustenance.