ClarinetMike’s Texas All-State Low Clarinet Clinic: Lecture Notes 2013-2014
Texas All-State Low Clarinet Clinic
Lecture Notes 2013-2014
- Get quality equipment. My Bass Clarinet Set Up: Buffet Prestige Low C (circa 2005), Selmer C* Mouthpiece, BG Revelation Ligature, Vandoren 2.5/3 Reeds, Oleg Ergonomic Saxophone Strap.
- Find a good private teacher. [Don’t just copy a recording. Learn to count!]
- Genuine Excellence = Talent × Practice Time × Practice Quality.
- Power of Habit. Work on Basics (ARTC) & Scales, along with the All-State Music in a Practice Routine.
- Slow, Careful Practice = Speedy, Confident Performance. The Tortoise and the Hare – Be a Turtle! Loading & Unloading, etc. – See Frank R. Wilson.
- Focus on what you control: Preparation & Effort. Success, John Wooden, etc.
- It’s Always about the MUSIC. Musical Style and Phrasing, esp. Romantic style.
General Prep Tips
- Make sure bass clarinet is in good working order, i.e. does not need repair.
- Practice on and perform with good reeds.
- Use a metronome and tuner.
- Record yourself – check out phone apps!
- Sound Projection & Dynamics.
- Plan and mark breathing carefully
- Understand music terms, notation, ornaments, etc.
- Create a cheat sheet. Write each etude’s scales and arpeggios in the upper corner.
- Clap and sing the music.
- Check out additional Practice Tips.
Etude Prep Template (See Below for Specifics)
- Overview on composer and musical style.
- Key(s) and Tempo(s).
- Scale and Arpeggio Cheat Sheet
- Technical Issues (articulation, rhythms, fingerings, etc.).
- Problem Passages.
- Sections, Phrases, and Musical Issues.
- Breathe Marks.
- Suggested Listening
- See Internet links above.
- Listen to style on youtube.com.
- Check out documents, videos, etc. on www.clarinetmike.com and www.clarinetmike.wordpress.com
- See TMEA Performance Guides.
Etude 1 Allegro moderato, Page 58, Rose 32 Etudes #12. Artistic Studies, Book 1-From the French School, David Hite, Southern Music Tempo: Quarter note = 76 –88; Play: Beginning to end. Errata: Ms. 27 – slur the last two notes (making the entire measure slur-two)
-For Contra-alto (Eb) and Contra-bass (Bb) clarinet: Ms 7, beat 2 and 3 down an octave; Ms. 8, beat 1 down an octave. (7/23)
-Bb and Eb Contra-Bass Clarinets only: Ms. 16, 30, 31, 32, 36 – the altissimo Ds should be taken down one octave (8/22)
- Overview on composer and musical style. These Rose etudes are based on etudes by court oboist Franz Wilhelm Ferling (1796-1874). Ferling was likely influenced by the great violin virtuoso Paganini when he wrote this etude in the style of a Toccata. Cyrille Rose (1830-1902) was a very important clarinet teacher at the Paris Conservatory and 1st clarinetist with the Paris opera orchestra. Rose adapted and enhanced this Ferling etude for clarinet. This original Ferling etude was likely marked Allegretto risoluto. So be resolute and play like a virtuoso with some romantic fire!
- Key(s) and Tempo(s). D minor and Quarter note = 76-88. Learn in 6, perform in 3. [Accuracy over speed!]
- Scale and Arpeggio Cheat Sheet. D minor scale and esp. arpeggio. Chromatic scale. Arpeggios: A, A7, E7, Bb, Bb7, Eb, C# Fully Diminished Seventh (C#, E, G, Bb), B Fully Diminished Seventh (B, D, F, Ab)
- Technical Issues (articulation, rhythms, fingerings, etc.). Tonguing – Use BTE, “Betty” (Basic Tonguing Exercise); Don’t gap between tongue-slur and tongue-slur, i.e. smooth tee-eee, tee-eee, etc. Staccato = Separated, not short. Learn slow and long, perform fast and short. Don’t rush off first sixteenth in four-sixteenth patterns
- Problem Passages. Repeated tongues are tricky, go slow and be patient. The ¾ time turns you around, so know where beat 1 is. High Notes in MM7-8, 16, 30, 31, 32, and 36. Work on “air position.”
- Sections, Phrases, and Musical Issues. Notice dynamics, accents, crescendos etc. carefully. Learn these while preparing notes and rhythms, DO NOT WAIT UNTIL LATER!
- Breath Marks. While learning in 6, breathe wherever needed – NO TENSION. However, plan early in the preparation where you will breathe when you play in 3 (be mindful of this while you learn etude in 6).
- Other. Don’t play too fast! Notice suggested tempo. Play with FIRE, yet ALWAYS with a beautiful tone!
- Suggested Listening: Listen to J.S. Bach’s Violin Works and his Toccatas and Fugues. Also his Partitas.
Etude 2 Allegro, Page 52, Rose 32 Etudes #6.Tempo: Quarter note = 80 – 96; Play: Beginning to end. Errata: Take NO repeats.
- Overview on composer and musical style. See above on Ferling and Rose. Ferling wrote this etude in the style of a polka. Rose made some changes to the rhythm (be happy about this!) and added a number of measures. It’s a polka – so DANCE!
- Key(s) and Tempo(s). G Major and Quarter Note = 80-96. Don’t go too fast. As someone said, “Don’t play anything faster than you can play it.”
- Scale and Arpeggio Cheat Sheet. G major scale and arpeggio. D, D7, D# Fully Diminished Seventh (D#, F#, A, C), E-, A7, Chromatic, F#, B-, G7, C, A-
- Technical Issues (articulation, rhythms, fingerings, etc.). Tonguing Use BTE, “Betty” (Basic Tonguing Exercise); As Above: Staccato = Separated, not short. Learn slow and long, perform fast and short. Don’t rush off first sixteenth in four-sixteenth patterns. Keep sixteenth notes rhythmically even – use “Count Aloud.”
- Problem Passages. MM20-31 Sequence is tricky – don’t rush off first sixteenth in four-sixteenth patterns.
- Sections, Phrases, and Musical Issues. M32 is a recap of the start.
- Breath Marks. A little tricky. Rhythm will have to be interrupted a little to breathe at times NO TENSION!
- Other. Don’t rush off first sixteenth in four-sixteenth patterns (notice I said this 3 times!) Play with beautiful tone.
- Suggested Listening: Listen to the Clarinet Polka.
Etude 3 Andante sostenuto “The Slow Etude” Page 49, Rose 32 Etudes #3.Tempo: Quarter note = 50-56; Play: Beginning to end. Errata: none
- Overview on composer and musical style. See above on Ferling and Rose. Ferling may have been influenced again by Paganini as this etude is similar to the slow movement of a sonata or concerto. MM 9-25 were added by Rose to the original Ferling Etude.
- Key(s) and Tempo(s). A minor. I Suggest Eight Note = 92. Learn in 8 and perform in 8. It is ok to perform in 4, but only if you are super duper secure in everything (FYI, I would play it in 8.) NOTE: The original Ferling etude was likely marked Largo. So, don’t go too fast.
- Scale and Arpeggio Cheat Sheet. A minor scale and arpeggio. Mostly linear movement. Arpeggios: M28 = F# Fully Diminished Seventh (F#, A, C, Eb), M31 = F,
- Technical Issues (articulation, rhythms, fingerings, etc.). Romantic Phrasing. Some counting issues. Ornaments. Slur/Dots Tonguing.
- Problem Passages. M1 & M18 trill to regular A fingering and play grace notes on upbeat of 8. M5 also play grace notes on upbeat of 8. M6 & M42 3 vs. 2 counting if in eight notes. M9 count carefully and not too short on the staccatos. M12 grace notes on upbeat of 8. Carefully count rhythms in MM19-20, 23 and 24. Put grace notes right before beat in M23. MM34-36 wide interval leaps. M37 consider using top right hand trill key on trill and again put grace notes on upbeat of 8. M38 grace notes on upbeat of 8.
- Sections, Phrases, and Musical Issues. Romantic Phrasing. Look up all the words on the page and write them on the music so you can see them and THINK about them. Consult other editions, esp. Bonade. M6 consider a subito p dynamic on beat 5 starting with the pickup (see Bonade). M15 & M21 are open to interpretation on the Slur/Dots – try them lightly tongued with, and then without, separation to see what you like. M16 make the p dynamic subito (“sudden”). M17 & M43 don’t get to pp dynamic until end of note, i.e. delay decrescendo.
- Breath Marks. Relate them to phrasing as much as possible.
- Other. Don’t use too much non-indicated rubato on an audition. Rely on dynamics and tone shading. However, do emphasize and even exaggerate all the written indications, such as calore, sostenuto, large, etc.
- Suggested Listening: Listen to slow movements of romantic era sonatas – e.g. Beethoven Piano Sonatas (Mvt. 2 of “Pathetique” Sonata, etc.)