Recently, a fantastic student clarinetist I know cut their finger. So, I started wondering, “How can a student keep making progress on the clarinet when a finger is ‘out of action’ for a little while or possibly longer.” One of the first things I thought of was “Long Tones.” Then, related and other things started popping into my mind.
10 Ways to Practice After a Finger Cut
by Dr. Michael Dean “ClarinetMike”
- Relaxation, Posture and Breathing. Don’t let a hurt finger mess up your relaxation, posture, and breathing when playing Long Tones. In fact, make a new commitment to work on these things!
- Embouchure. Work on it! Uncertain what to do? Ask your teacher or read this blog.
- Voicing/Overtones. Work on your voicing and overtones!
- High C. We often have to come in softly on high notes like second ledger line high C. Work on them!
- Sound Projection. This is a really important basic that we often forget to work on in our mad dash to prepare lots of difficult music.
- Tuning. Do you know what notes are sharp, flat, or in tune on your clarinet? How about on your A clarinet?
- Tonguing. In all registers and dynamics, work on: 1) Basic Tonguing, 2) Advanced Single Tonguing (very legato, legato, regular, mezzo-staccato, staccato, and extra crispy), and 3) Multiple Tonguing (double and triple).
- Reeds. Get a big pile of reeds and work on them!
- Study the Score and Listen! Get out the piano part to your solo and carefully study it. Listen to several great recordings. Read up on the composer and listen to their style.
- Clap and Sing the Music. “If you can’t clap it, you can’t play it!” Working on the slow movement of the Mozart concerto? Sing it in solfege! [ok, sing it on “la”]
ClarinetMike says, “If you have additional thoughts or suggestions, please reply to this post so others can benefit.”