Back in September, I posted my ClarinetMike’s 5 Powerful Little Secrets! – CLICK HERE. Below is a follow up with some additional little tricks. ClarinetMike says, “Remember the words of John Wooden, ‘Little Things Make Big Things Happen.’”
7 MORE Powerful Little Secrets From ClarinetMike! by Dr. Michael Dean “ClarinetMike”
- Black Swab and Case. At the rehearsal and gig, it is best if your swab, case cover, wheeled tote, etc. are black. This will keep from drawing unwanted attention to yourself when you swab. And, it increases the chances of you keeping your case and other items with you on stage, pit orchestra, etc. I always want all my stuff with me, if possible! (FYI, I carry an extra swab or 2 in wild colors for less formal occasions!)
- Little Screwdriver. I always keep a little screwdriver in my clarinet case as a small screw will sometimes work itself out a little when playing the clarinet. I’ve got a couple of screws on my 1976 Buffet R13 Bb clarinet that work themselves out all the time! You can get a set of small screwdrivers at “Tool World” at a local home improvement store or in a sewing kit set at a Mega Mart.
- Number Measures at Left Margin. Instead of numbering every single measure, I find it more useful to just number down the left side of the music at each line in the margin.
- Small Watch. I don’t wear a watch as I don’t like the constriction on my wrist. So, I have a little black watch (black as above) I carry around. It is a little digital watch that clearly shows the time and such. I have taken off the wristband part and can position it on my music stand or near my clarinet peg. This allows me to easily keep tabs on the time and, importantly, be less obvious about checking the time during lessons or at a gig.
- Two Clarinet Pegs. I always carry 2 portable clarinet stands with me at all times. This way I can have one on stage and one backstage at a concert. Also, I have one ready, if one breaks. However, if I play a heavy-duty orchestra gig, I bring my heavy steel-based stand. There are many portable clarinet stands to choose from. I like the simple plastic stands that are light and fit easily in my case cover.
- Plastic Mouthpiece Cap. A metal cap may be more secure, but if it falls off at the rehearsal or gig, it could make a loud and embarrassing racket, “BANG, BANG, BANG, BANG, BANG, BANG……………..BANG!!!!”
- Do Not Get Cork Grease on Swab. I do not use my clarinet swab to wipe water out the sockets. This will get cork grease on the swab. And thus you will be putting cork grease down your clarinet when you swab. I use a paper towel or handkerchief to remove the water from the socket. – NOTE: Eventually, I will be writing a series of “I DO NOT RECOMMEND” posts on questionable clarinet teaching and performing practices.