In a recent video post, I considered the importance of not leaning over too much when playing the clarinet. A related issue is that of head position/weight. The average adult head weighs about 10 pounds (4.5 kilograms) – imagine a 10-pound bowling ball on your neck! Unless you are careful, leaning over when playing the clarinet can lead to biting down too much on the mouthpiece because of the weight of the head.
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 and have the clarinet come to them, 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-Tips for E-Lips Clarinet Embouchure Tips)
ClarinetMike: “Try it out for yourself and with your students.”
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.