ClarinetMike’s 101 Clarinet Tips: #23 “Don’t lean over too much.”
Over the years, I’ve noticed that many students (and pros!) lean over too much when playing the clarinet (and saxophone!). Of course, it is very true that each person has their own unique way of relating to the clarinet based on their own particular body shape, embouchure, etc. Nevertheless, it seems obvious to me that many lean over too much while performing and this certainly must, at least, somewhat hinder effective technique and good music making generally.
So, I make a point in the my clarinet teaching to be sure that my students don’t lean over too much. I say to them, “Have the clarinet come to you – don’t go to the clarinet.” This is often said in the very first lesson, whether beginner or professional looking for a few pointers. It almost always helps to fix problems: embouchure, head position, hand/arm position, etc. (I discussed this in Tip #8. Go HERE and watch the video where I worked on this with a student in a master class at Florida State University.)
The related topic of “head weight” will be discussed in an upcoming tip. Watch for this tip as it is an extension of this topic.
ClarinetMike says, “Don’t lean over and have the clarinet come to you!”
NOTE: The above photo is attributed to W. Lloyd MacKenzie, via Flickr @ http://www.flickr.com/photos/saffron_blaze/ and was found at Wikimedia Commons at http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_Leaning_Tower_of_Pisa_SB.jpeg.