This Simple Clarinet Posture Trick Will Put You Head and Shoulders Above The Rest!

Proportions of the Head (c. 1488 – 1489) is a drawing by Leonardo da Vinci.

In a recent post, I considered the importance of not leaning over too much when playing the clarinet. A related issue is that of head position/weight. Leaning over when playing the clarinet can lead to biting down too much on the mouthpiece because of the weight of the head. FYI, the average adult head weighs about 10 pounds (4.5 kilograms). Imagine a 10-pound bowling ball on your neck!

So, if I have a student who is leaning over too much when playing the clarinet, in addition to telling them to not lean over, I also often tell them to have more of the weight of their head resting on the neck. Sometimes I’ll mention this head weight issue by itself if I get the feeling they are biting down too much on the mouthpiece. This posture adjustment almost always benefits the student; it usually produces a better clarinet tone as the reed is allowed to vibrate more freely. (See E-Tip #4: Ex)

Try it out for yourself and with your students.

ClarinetMike says, “Good posture is always good idea!”

NOTE: The above is a very slight revision of a previously published ClarinetMike Blog post with a cool Beatles reference in the title.

NOTE: Image above is in Public Domain and can be found HERE.  This work is in the public domain in its country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author’s life plus 100 years or less.

About ClarinetMike

American clarinetist MICHAEL DEAN 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." His career is headlined by appearances at Carnegie Hall, ClarinetFest, NACWPI, Eastman School of Music, and Royal Northern College of Music with recent recitals and master classes in Italy, Spain, Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, Louisiana, and Texas. In July, he will return to Vipiteno, Italy as Clarinet Artist Faculty in Residence at Orfeo Music Festival 2017. He is featured on 5 commercial CD's and on New Media, such as YouTube. He is currently preparing another new clarinet CD, Postcards from Silver Lake. He's performed with the Southwest Symphony, Nevada Symphony, Abilene Philharmonic, Southeast Chamber Players, Red Mesa Trio, and Duo 35. He performed for 11 years with the Paducah Symphony. His articles appear in journals such as Southwestern Musician, WINDPLAYER, NACWPI Journal and The Bandmasters' Review. As "ClarinetMike," he writes for his widely-read ClarinetMike Blog, clarinetmike.wordpress.com-viewed in 150 countries on 6 continents. He was recently a tenured Associate Professor of Clarinet for 11 years at Southeast Missouri State University. He returned to his native Texas in 2012 due to family concerns. He is a past president and former National Board officer of the National Association of College Wind and Percussion Instructors (NACWPI). Dr. Michael Dean studied clarinet performance at Texas Tech University, University of Colorado at Boulder, University of Texas at Austin and University of Texas at Arlington. His teachers include Robert Walzel, Phil Aaholm, Carol Jessup, Jess Youngblood, Bob Ackerman, and Pam Youngblood. His web page, clarinetmike.com, features video of his teaching and performing as well as information on his CD's and other publications. He is a BG France Performing Artist.
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4 Responses to This Simple Clarinet Posture Trick Will Put You Head and Shoulders Above The Rest!

  1. Thanks for the tip. I never realized this.

  2. Pingback: 7 Ways to Upgrade Your Clarinet Playing This Summer! | ClarinetMike Blog

  3. Pingback: ClarinetMike’s 7 Clarinet Tricks For New Clarinet Teachers! | ClarinetMike Blog

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