When I was a kid, I played little league baseball. While fielding a position, my coaches taught me to keep my right thumb between my first two fingers when the pitcher started to make his pitch. This way, if a ball was hit to me, my fingers would go to the ball in my glove with perfect hand position for throwing a baseball.
I’ve noticed lately that when I’m walking around that my right thumb is often between my first two fingers! I haven’t played baseball in little league for decades, but the finger position habit I developed as a kid is still with me! [I just stopped typing, looked down, and there was my right thumb between my first two fingers!]
The illustration above shows in a small way how we live our lives in habits and routines. In view of this, I believe it is vital that we constantly work to ingrain good habits (physical and mental) in our own clarinet playing and that of our students.
Here’s a poignant example of how this works out in our clarinet world. Here in Texas, high school students are starting to work on the all-state clarinet music (see my recent post HERE). Many of the students will rush into the music, trying to play the music too fast for accurate playing. They will therefore learn (make a habit of) wrong notes and especially, wrong rhythms. Then they will spend lots and lots and lots of time trying to “unlearn” the ingrained wrong notes and rhythms.
ClarinetMike says, “Go SLOW and deeply ingrain good habits!!!”
P.S. Check out John Wooden Tip #3 HERE.