ClarinetMike Teaching Tip: “Play Like You Are First Chair”
by Dr. Michael Dean “ClarinetMike”
I have noticed that it is sometimes difficult to get across to a student how to project their sound well when playing a solo for a contest, festival, recital, studio class, jury, etc.* This seems especially true when working with students who have spent most of their clarinet (or saxophone or any instrument) careers as section players in a band. As section players, these students work to blend in with a group and not “stick out” – and “sticking out” is exactly what you want to do on a solo!
A few years ago, while working with a student on this in preparation for a studio class performance and jury, it suddenly occurred to me to say, “Play like you are first chair.” The student (who was a section player in band) immediately played the solo with excellent sound projection! This comment has since proved to be very useful in helping students (especially section players) project their sound. Try it yourself!
ClarinetMike says, “Tell your students to ‘Play Like They Are First Chair.'”
*Click HERE for a ClarinetMike Blog Post on Sound Projection from last March.
NOTE: The above is a slightly revised version of an early ClarinetMike Blog Post.