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Author Topic: Summertime...  (Read 310 times)

Offline LarryS

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Summertime...
« on: June 25, 2018, 05:05:46 AM »
I feel like I'm getting somewhere, especially since discovering the benefit of using the mirror in the bathroom  to check embouchure. And of course the acoustic in there is fantastic!
https://youtu.be/sdfLJK4hdwg
« Last Edit: June 25, 2018, 05:08:29 AM by LarryS »
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Offline windydankoff

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Re: Summertime...
« Reply #1 on: June 26, 2018, 09:42:19 AM »
Larry! You're coming a long way melodically BUT you are playing a consistent half-step flat. You need to put more pressure on the reed. Close your jaw more and engage the muscles in your lower lip, like you are going to suck from a drinking straw.

Try it and listen to the pitch rise! The tone will also sound more steady and beautiful.

I know this by playing along with you. To emulate your pitch and sound, I let my mouth and jaw go flabby. Tense my lower lip and bite just a wee bit, and it corrects immediately.

The flat is consistent through your whole range. That confirms that it is just an embouchure issue, not the horn or barrel.

At first you will squeeze tight around the whole mouthpiece, and get tired very quickly. The trick I use is to practice (without the horn) tensing your lower lip with (almost) no tension in the upper lip. Once you get that, you can put the tension where it belongs without wasting energy.

Practice playing along with a recording on Youtube, or somewhere. You can go to Settings on the Youtube frame and choose to slow down the tempo. That will help your sense of rhythm along with pitch. Take it slow. It's Summertime!

Let's hear it again soon ... up to pitch! Thanks for sharing your progress with The Clarinet Pages!
Windy at BLACK • HOLE Clarinets
"User-Friendly" clarinets in Bb and C
http://www.windydankoff.com/black-hole-clarinets.html

Offline windydankoff

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Re: Summertime...
« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2018, 09:49:30 AM »
One more thing, drop the angle of the horn. That will increase lip pressure on the reed with no added effort.

Your angle isn't wrong, it's quite typical, but some player, myself included, prefer a down position. Up goes the pitch!

If this isn't working for you, experiment with how much you tuck in your lower lip over the teeth. Just keep the teeth on the firm part of your inner lip.

As I see it, we are constantly teaching ourselves by listening and responding. Learn the variables that you have to work with, so you can experiment until you dial it in. Use a tuner or some pitch reference, knowing that when you finger the D on your horn, it should show C on the tuner or whatever your reference may be.
Windy at BLACK • HOLE Clarinets
"User-Friendly" clarinets in Bb and C
http://www.windydankoff.com/black-hole-clarinets.html

Offline zigzigy7

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Re: Summertime...
« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2018, 10:15:57 AM »
i like windy's visualization of embouchure with the straw. i like to imagine myself trying to drink a very thick milkshake.

one think to consider is hand position. i notice when you're not using your left pinkie you curl it away fro the keys. try not to do that as it will slow your speed and accuracy can suffer as well. similarly when you lift your fingers try to only lift them high enough to open the tone hole. this is something i also struggle with, especially as you play harder sections of a piece and have to think more about your playing. lastly is thumb position, i cannot tell for sure the way youre positioning it but ill touch on it just in case. originally when i learned clarinet i placed my thumb on the rest near the knuckle and held it rather stiffly. the proper way to hold the clarinet is closer to the nail of the thumb, line up the thumb rest to where the nail begins. this also causes you to need to curl your fingers more to cover the holes with the tips rather than the pads of your fingers, which is the way one is meant to. if youve ever seen a trumpeter or pianist play their fingers are similarly curled to play with the tips. again its to grant more efficiency and yada yada yada. Hand position is one of the less pleasant things to learn about instruments and even less pleasant to re learn after having conditioned youself to doing it another way, but it definitely helps in the long run to improve speed, accuracy, and tone quality

Offline LarryS

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Re: Summertime...
« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2018, 12:18:43 PM »
Thanks guys. Seems I'm not doing as well as I thought I was. Trouble is I tend to run before I can walk.
You don't stop playing when you get old, you get old when you stop playing.
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Offline LarryS

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Re: Summertime...
« Reply #5 on: June 26, 2018, 12:30:47 PM »
Oh Windy, you say I'm playing consistently flat, and I should practice with just the mpc. Now, can you tell me what note I should hear when just using the mp?
You don't stop playing when you get old, you get old when you stop playing.
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Offline windydankoff

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Re: Summertime...
« Reply #6 on: June 26, 2018, 02:25:29 PM »
Larry! You ARE progressing VERY well! Critique is to nudge you to the next step.

You do not need to practice with just the MP. Just angle the horn downward more. It will cause more pressure against the reed without additional effort. Thicken your lower lip so it isn't like a soft pillow. Now the pitch will rise still more. Play one note and work to hear it rise UP just like that!

The ability to drop your pitch is essential to musical expression for blues and jazz, but you need to focus on the correct pitch, same as a classical player must do. You'll get it!

Regarding the flying fingers, all beginners do that. Watch in the mirror and you'll be able to correct it so you minimize the motion. But take one problem at a time or you'll get overloaded. I'd get the pitch right as your first priority. Then watch the fingers. Before Summer's over, you'll be playing Summertime right!
Windy at BLACK • HOLE Clarinets
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http://www.windydankoff.com/black-hole-clarinets.html

Offline LarryS

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Re: Summertime...
« Reply #7 on: June 26, 2018, 02:43:20 PM »
Ah now its funny you should say that because I experimented with changing embouchure, and the difference in tone was quite noticeable as you can see here:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BkNdBq3H_OV/?utm_source=ig_share_sheet&igshid=1weouopy5x3q6

You don't stop playing when you get old, you get old when you stop playing.
My music blog:
The Music Tree


Clarinet Pages are go!

Offline windydankoff

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Re: Summertime...
« Reply #8 on: June 27, 2018, 07:54:22 AM »
That's a good demo of must what I'm talking about. But, don't look DOWN! Look out at the horizon as you play. That will make your MP angle more ideal for correct pitch.

If you must look down, tilt from the waist so your MP angle stays constant in your mouth.
Windy at BLACK • HOLE Clarinets
"User-Friendly" clarinets in Bb and C
http://www.windydankoff.com/black-hole-clarinets.html

Offline LarryS

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Re: Summertime...
« Reply #9 on: June 27, 2018, 08:01:08 AM »
Well I had another play today, much improved, trying to keep my head up. But I just need to lower the horn a little

https://www.instagram.com/p/BkhrxByHAbB/?utm_source=ig_share_sheet&igshid=1sx641tqp8436
You don't stop playing when you get old, you get old when you stop playing.
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The Music Tree


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Offline windydankoff

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Re: Summertime...
« Reply #10 on: June 27, 2018, 08:34:13 AM »
You're half-way there! But you are still looking a little downward. Gaze at the distance out a window. Next bring the horn down much more, or until pitch comes up to normal.

You will need to adjust your embouchure as you go. Accept that and experiment. Don't let your beginner embouchure drive your posture. Let correct posture drive your emb. adjustment. The tone will become more steady. Everything will improve. And, you'll be able to go higher! In fact, play up into the 2nd register and see if you can go all the way up. It will only happen after you make these corrections.

Then, your low register will also improve.

Windy at BLACK • HOLE Clarinets
"User-Friendly" clarinets in Bb and C
http://www.windydankoff.com/black-hole-clarinets.html