The exercises in Clarinet Realities come from an holistic approach that can be applied to players across a wide range both in age and in ability. The object of the initial sessions is to know what the body feels like when a supported sound is produced. You can then reproduce that model so that you can create a supported sound whatever the circumstance.
This is not a course where you should skip the early sessions. If you have not looked at sessions 1 & 2, I strongly recommend that you look at them now. In Sessions 1 & 2 we begin by working on supported breathing without playing initially and then move on to applying the supported breath technique to playing for the specially composed Creative Studies by Sarah Rodgers. The Creative Studies are an integral part of the course and are accompanied by detailed playing notes which guide the player each step of the way. The purpose of these creative exercises is for you to discover, through thoughtful preparation in practice, how your body feels in order to produce the best sound. Then, when you are performing your focus can be completely on the music.
You can buy the full version of Part 1, Sessions 1 & 2 with Creative Studies by clicking on the link below:
In exploring the fundamentals of clarinet technique through breathing – feeling – listening, the objective is to find a harmony between the body and producing the sound so that we are able to perform consistently to the best of our ability and sometimes even beyond our greatest expectations.
Have you ever thought, how can I breathe correctly and play the right notes at the same time?
Well, if you do the thinking now through the practice sessions and discover a model of how your body is feeling when it is in tune with producing a good sound, then you will be able to repeat that model, when you play.
In this session we are continuing to develop the breathing technique in relation to playing the instrument and I would like you to think of the process in two parts:
1 The controlled stream of air which is driven from the lungs up to the mouthpiece by the support of the abdominal muscles.
2 The air passing the reed into the mouthpiece where pressure waves are created to make the sound.
Too often players do not know how it feels to support the air up to the mouthpiece. Can you feel it now?
If not it is worth revising the exercises in sessions 1 & 2 before you move on.
Now let’s combine the first part of playing the clarinet, your supported breathing, with playing the instrument itself.
With the clarinet in your mouth
1 Breathe in through the corners of your lips (not through the instrument)
breathe in for 3 counts of approximately one second per count
2 Tense your abdominal muscles and place your tongue against the reed, preventing any air going down the instrument
blow silently for 3 (there is no sound because your tongue is preventing the air passing beyond the reed)
3 Release the tongue and the air flows into the instrument with the continuing support of the abdominal muscles
play a sustained note for 6 counts, a C in the chalumeau (lower) register is a good note to start off with
Did you feel that you were controlling the air as it passed into the mouthpiece?
Be aware and feel
Let me check something with you. Just do stage 1 and 2 – up to blowing silently.
How does that feel – are your shoulders down and relaxed - Is your throat open?
The only tension that you should be aware of is in the abdominal muscles and expanded lower ribs.
If you feel that you have tensed your throat, try yawning to remind yourself of what an open throat feels like.
Being physically in control of the air stream passing into the instrument means that you will begin to hear major improvements in your playing. Have you got the staying power, will you do the regular practice?
If you really want to improve your sound you can but you may have to change the way you are producing it now. Are you prepared to do that?
Projecting the Sound
In this session we will be covering the following areas:
A general look at the physics of wind playing
Projecting the sound
6 steps to a terrific tone
Exercises for improving your tone
The holistic approach to the production of sound
The best way is to download the full text of the Clarinet Realities sessions. They contain the information and exercises you need to understand and unlock the fundamental techniques.
As you work through the exercises in the full text I promise you that there will be a remarkable change in your playing.
You can now also view the text version of Sessions 3 & 4.
Here's a taster of what you can expect in part 1 Sessions 3 & 4 of Creative Studies by Sarah Rodgers (to be available for download soon)
How are you doing? Is it going well? There is a saying which I like
“Success is the realisation of a worthy goal”
The goal at this stage is to produce a supported tone. It takes time and thought but once the goal is reached it will be the building block of your playing and transform everything you do.
The complete version of Clarinet Realities Part 1, Sessions 3 and 4 with Creative Studies and playing notes is now available for download
© 2012 Geraldine Allen