Author Topic: arm/finger/core exercises?  (Read 109 times)

Offline Bethany

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arm/finger/core exercises?
« on: March 31, 2020, 04:53:51 PM »
Hi folks,

Brand new here! I'm an adult learned who started clarinet just last summer. Am LOVING it, things are coming along nicely :)

Are there physical exercises recommended -for before we even pick up the clarinet- for the fingers, arms, core (to support better breathing during the session)? I'd especially love a video walk-through of a good process, if one exists.

A physical warm-up really helps me with singing, for example; I wonder if the same would be true with clarinet. I also find I develop some pain when I'm "levelling up", and think such exercises might prevent some or all of that.

Offline TMHeimer

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Re: arm/finger/core exercises?
« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2020, 02:11:33 PM »
I've never heard of anything like that. Not sure what "levelling up" means. Only physical problem I've heard of was right thumb pain, for which a neck strap may help.
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Offline Bethany

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Re: arm/finger/core exercises?
« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2020, 03:57:29 PM »

Offline windydankoff

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Re: arm/finger/core exercises?
« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2020, 06:19:07 PM »
I had a personal session with an Alexander Technique practitioner who focuses especially on the problems of performing artists. He helped me to address some issues of muscular tension and old injuries, and to stay relaxed and flowing. He has this document especially for clarinetists:
https://ethankind.com/product/an-alexander-technique-approach-to-clarinet-technique/

I also have taken Pilates instruction for years, to strengthen my core, balance, and breath. I'm sure it helps me to be in control of my body in ways that apply to wind performance.

If you have any specific weakness to overcome, I think you can get good advice from body workers of various disciplines.
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Offline Bethany

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Re: arm/finger/core exercises?
« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2020, 11:48:49 PM »
Wow, windydankoff, thank you!! (I'm a big fan of the Alexander Technique.) Much appreciated.

Offline modernicus

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Re: arm/finger/core exercises?
« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2020, 08:40:48 AM »
I definitely agree Windy, I've found strength and cardiovascular training improve my playing in a noticeable manner concerning  breath support, comfort and endurance.  A few years ago, I was commuting to work often by ebike (still pedaling the whole way on a 40 mi round trip) and my cardiovascular condition was awesome and I noticed it in my playing- it really helped advance my concept of how to support airflow while playing. More recently, I've been doing exercises to rehab some elbow issues from weight training and noticed my thumb doesn't hurt as much during/after playing.  The rehab exercises and the strength training make the clarinet feel like nothing in terms of weight now and I feel like there isn't as much tension in my neck or shoulders because the proper playing posture can be held with less strain.  I'm surprised to see some top players look kinda out of shape when I think good overall conditioning could really benefit them.
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Offline Bethany

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Re: arm/finger/core exercises?
« Reply #6 on: April 04, 2020, 10:12:16 AM »
Thanks, modernicus :)  I definitely find the breathing difference after I've been swimming for some weeks... Now trying to narrow down strengthening/flexibility stuff in joints. I don't have any injuries, etc, to speak of -more for optimizing playing and preventing injury. Older clarinet players I know are having to put a few support pieces in place -neck thing, wrist wrap, etc- before playing a session now.

Offline LarryS

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Re: arm/finger/core exercises?
« Reply #7 on: April 09, 2020, 03:38:09 PM »
I like this one for strengthening the embouchure muscles. You look silly so I wouldn't recommend doing it in public but it works those muscles.
https://youtu.be/B4d2gpRysZY
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