ClarinetMike’s 101 Clarinet Tips: #26 “The Fast Way!”
All-Region Auditions in a week? Music Jury coming up? BIG Guest Recital in a couple of months and want to make sure you are ready? Well, ClarinetMike is here to help! Below is a simple practice technique that I call “The Fast Way!” (FYI, this works great in Rhy-No Practice.)
“The Fast Way!” Practice Technique in 4 Easy Steps:
1. Pick out a measure that needs work.
2. Play the first two notes in the measure slowly in half notes without rhythms. Go back and forth slowly in half notes between these first two notes – play 3-5 times. Make sure the finger movement is absolutely “clean,” i.e. relaxed, efficient, accurate, and quick. As in all practice, be sure to do this with GREAT fundamentals such as confidence, relaxation, air, body position, tone, etc.
3. Repeat Step 2 with the second and third notes in the measure. Then play notes one, two, and three in a row slowly – this is sometimes called “Add A Note.” Again, do not play any rhythms, just half notes working on “clean” finger combinations.
3A. “The Faster Way!” Alternate Method: Repeat Step 2 with the second and third notes in the measure. But, instead of the “Add A Note” approach, just continue with the third and fourth notes, then fourth and fifth, fifth and sixth, etc. all in half notes.
4. Keep adding notes as in Step 3 (or 3A) until the measure is complete. Then go back and play the measure normally and see what happens! (As mentioned above, this becomes even more powerful if used in Rhy-No Practice.)
The goal of this technique is to learn (or LOAD) only accurate information. When a clarinetist practices too fast, carelessly, etc., some inaccurate information is almost certainly engrained and this very much slows the learning process. (See the article by Frank R. Wilson on this.)
ClarinetMike says, “Want to learn music in a hurry? Then STOP and practice ‘The Fast Way!'”