Teachers of beginning clarinet students should not teach “Going Over The Break” using the right hand down short cut. The only exception to this is when a student is having real trouble and “freaking out.” Then, for a very, very limited time the student should be allowed to put it down. Even though it is difficult, it is absolutely critical that students learn to move all the fingers together “Going Over The Break” as this is how they will really play the clarinet.
QUESTION: Should clarinetists put down fingers in the right hand on throat tones ever? Stay tuned! I’ll be posting a ClarinetMike Blog post about this in coming weeks! Here’s a peek at what’s coming:
[Make absolutely sure that students ONLY put down fingers (right hand down or resonance fingerings) in slow passages and NOT in technical passages or scale work. Otherwise, good technique will be hindered.
In my more than 3 decades of teaching clarinet at all levels from 4th graders to graduate students, I’ve seen lots and lots of students who had very dirty technique due to various pedagogical errors like this above. It is simply unacceptable for teachers to hamstring their students with having to go through a mountain of mind-bendingly slow practice to fix these sort of issues later.]