Practice Tip: ADD BOLD DYNAMICS!

Many, if not most, of the things we work on in our practicing take a lot of time and work just to get a little  better. Examples of this include relaxation, articulation, embouchure, etc. However,  there are a few things that can be easily added when working on a piece that pay big-time results with just a small amount of extra work.  One of these is:

Add Bold Dynamics. When working on a piece of music, add dynamics and phrasing at the same time as notes and rhythms.

Many think to themselves, “I’ll learn the music first, and then later I’ll add dynamics.” However the problem with this is that we always play at a dynamic level, even if it’s mezzo-whatever. So when a clarinetist learns a work at mezzo-whatever, the  mezzo-whatever dynamic is learned along the with notes. So, under the pressure of performance it is likely that a passage thus learned will be performed with little dynamic contrast.  So, learn the dynamics and phrasing as you go, don’t wait until later!

Further, the legendary Daniel Bonade would at times teach overdoing it on phrasing and dynamics. He felt that if the dynamics were overdone in the practice room, it would be about right on the concert stage. See his 16 Phrasing Studies (his edition of the slow etudes from the Rose 32 Etudes) for examples of this: http://www.conn-selmer.com/files/2013/4073/1516/AVP72_Leblanc_16_Phrasing_Studies_Clarinet.pdf

About ClarinetMike

American Clarinetist Michael Dean “ClarinetMike” performs and teaches internationally and across the USA to consistent praise such as, “world-class clarinetist and pedagogue,” “consummate performer,” “inspirational,” “outstanding teacher,” “super,” “brilliant performer,” and “one of the best clinicians I have ever seen.” Dr. Dean’s career is headlined by appearances at Carnegie Hall, ClarinetFest, NACWPI, Royal Northern College of Music, and Eastman School of Music, with recent recitals and master classes in Italy, Spain, Canada, Michigan, Ohio, Kansas, Iowa, Louisiana, and Texas. He recently returned for a fourth summer to the beautiful Italian Alps of Vipiteno, Italy as Clarinet Artist Faculty in Residence at the international Orfeo Music Festival. He is featured on 6 commercial CD’s including his soon-to-be-released new CD, Postcards from Silver Lake. He is also prominent on New Media, such as YouTube. He was clarinetist with the Paducah Symphony Orchestra for 11 years and he’s also performed with the Southwest Symphony, Nevada Symphony, Abilene Philharmonic, Southeast Chamber Players, Red Mesa Trio, and Duo 35. He has given more than 500 master classes, clinics and performances at universities, conservatories, conferences, festivals, high schools, junior high schools, and a diverse array of venues. As “ClarinetMike,” he writes for his noted and widely-read ClarinetMike Blog – viewed in 150 countries on 6 continents, clarinetmike.wordpress.com. His blog is the #1 clarinet blog on the Internet according to Google Search and a recent ranking on Feedspot. His articles also appear in professional journals such as the Southwestern Musician, The Bandmasters’ Review, WINDPLAYER, and NACWPI Journal. He is a past president and former officer on the National Board of the National Association of College Wind and Percussion Instructors (NACWPI). After a successful 20 years of teaching clarinet at the university level, he relocated to his native Texas due to family concerns. He is currently an active clarinet and woodwind performer, teacher, clinician, blogger, and consultant based in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas. Dr. Michael Dean studied clarinet performance at Texas Tech University, University of Texas at Austin, University of Colorado at Boulder, and University of Texas at Arlington. His teachers include Robert Walzel, Phil Aaholm, Carol Jessup, Bob Ackerman, and Jess Youngblood. He is a BG France Performing Artist and his professional website is clarinetmike.com. Mike and his family live in Hurst, Texas. His family’s new Golden Retriever, Nimbus, is a relative of Andy.
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12 Responses to Practice Tip: ADD BOLD DYNAMICS!

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