7 Ways to Improve Your Clarinet Playing This Summer!
by Dr. Michael Dean “ClarinetMike”
- Take Clarinet Lessons. Make sure you have a good teacher who spends time improving your clarinet basics and teaching you how to practice. Rote-only clarinet teachers are BAD clarinet teachers.
- Upgrade Embouchure. Check out my 5-C clarinet embouchure here and related embouchure tips here.
- Improve Tonguing. Spend quality time with your new best friend, Betty: click here.
- Enhance Posture. Check out these posture links: Head Position, Don’t Lean Over, Don’t Look Down, and Unkink Your Hose.
- Get Better Reeds. I strongly recommend checking out the ReedGeek – I find the ReedGeek easy to use and it really helps! Also, make sure your reed strength matches your mouthpiece. For example, if you are playing on a 2.5 reed on a more “closed” mouthpiece such as a Vandoren M13 Lyre (what I play on), you simply cannot play well or at all in the high register without biting the mouthpiece hard since the reed is not strong enough. [Biting is BAD, folks!] FYI, on my Bb clarinet, I play Vandoren v12 and D’Addario 3.5 reeds on a Vandoren M13 Lyre mouthpiece using 5-C Clarinet Embouchure (LISTEN here and here.)
- Learn New Practice Techniques. Try these out: Rhy-No Practice, Feed The Rhy-No!, The Fast Way!, Note Grouping, and others.
- Play Duets.Get together with your buddies and have FUN playing chamber music – duets, trios, quartets, etc…. Go to the local music store and buy a duet book (ALL of us must support local music stores!). Of course, there’s a lot of free music on the Internet.
BONUS: Go To Summer Band Camp or Clarinet Camp. For example, here in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas there are some excellent ones, such as UTA Concert Band Camp, TCU Band Camp, TCU Clarinet Workshop, and others.