10 Ways to Practice After a Finger Cut

ClarinetMike at the University of Michigan teaching a clarinet master class right before the pandemic.

Recently, a fantastic student clarinetist I know cut their finger. So, I started wondering, “How can a student keep making progress on the clarinet when a finger is ‘out of action’ for a little while or possibly longer.” One of the first things I thought of was “Long Tones.” Then, related and other things started popping into my mind.

10 Ways to Practice After a Finger Cut
by Dr. Michael Dean “ClarinetMike”

  1. Relaxation, Posture and Breathing. Don’t let a hurt finger mess up your relaxation, posture, and breathing when playing Long Tones. In fact, make a new commitment to work on these things!
  2. Embouchure. Work on it! Uncertain what to do? Ask your teacher or read this blog.
  3. Voicing/Overtones. Work on your voicing and overtones!
  4. High C. We often have to come in softly on high notes like second ledger line high C. Work on them!
  5. Sound Projection. This is a really important basic that we often forget to work on in our mad dash to prepare lots of difficult music.
  6. Tuning. Do you know what notes are sharp, flat, or in tune on your clarinet? How about on your A clarinet?
  7. Tonguing. In all registers and dynamics, work on: 1) Basic Tonguing, 2) Advanced Single Tonguing (very legato, legato, regular, mezzo-staccato, staccato, and extra crispy), and 3) Multiple Tonguing (double and triple).
  8. Reeds. Get a big pile of reeds and work on them!
  9. Study the Score and Listen! Get out the piano part to your solo and carefully study it. Listen to several great recordings. Read up on the composer and listen to their style.
  10. Clap and Sing the Music. “If you can’t clap it, you can’t play it!” Working on the slow movement of the Mozart concerto? Sing it in solfege! [ok, sing it on “la”]

ClarinetMike says, “If you have additional thoughts or suggestions, please reply to this post so others can benefit.”

About ClarinetMike

American Clarinetist Michael Dean “ClarinetMike” performs and teaches internationally and across the USA to consistent praise and acclaim such as, “world-class clarinetist and pedagogue,” “consummate performer,” “inspirational,” “outstanding teacher,” “super,” “brilliant performer,” and “one of the best clinicians I have ever seen.” Dr. Michael Dean’s career is headlined by appearances at Carnegie Hall, ClarinetFest, NACWPI, Royal Northern College of Music, and Eastman School of Music, with recent recitals and master classes in Italy, Canada, Spain, Michigan, Ohio, Kansas, Iowa, Louisiana, and Texas. He is currently planning an international recital and master class tour of Israel for spring 2022. He is on the faculty of the international Orfeo Music Festival in Vipiteno, Italy as Clarinet Artist Faculty in Residence. Michael Dean performed with the Paducah Symphony Orchestra for 11 years and has also performed with the Dallas Chamber Wind Ensemble, Southwest Symphony, Nevada Symphony, Abilene Philharmonic, Abilene Opera, Southeast Chamber Players, Red Mesa Trio, and Duo 35 with saxophonist Todd Oxford. As a clarinet performing and recording artist, he has commissioned, premiered, edited, toured with, and recorded new and lesser-known clarinet works. He is featured on 6 commercial CDs, including the soon-to-be-released Postcards from Silver Lake CD. He is also prominent on New Media, such as YouTube and Facebook. He has given more than 600 master classes, clinics and performances at universities, colleges, conservatories, festivals, conferences, and high schools. His ClarinetMike Blog and ClarinetMike QuickTips are widely read on the internet and social media and viewed in more than 150 countries on 6 continents. His articles also appear in professional journals such as Southwestern Musician, WINDPLAYER, The Bandmasters’ Review, and NACWPI Journal. He is a past president and former National Board Officer of the National Association of College Wind and Percussion Instructors (NACWPI). A committed teacher and noted pedagogue, Dr. Dean’s students enjoy successful careers as professional performers, educators, and administrators and are consistently accepted into prestigious university music schools. They consistently win awards and distinctions at competitions and festivals including solo & ensemble, all-region, all-state, and various concerto and other competitions. After a successful 20 years of teaching the clarinet and music at the university level, he relocated to his native Texas due to family concerns. He is currently an active clarinet and woodwind performer, teacher, clinician, and consultant based in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas. Dr. Michael Dean studied clarinet performance at Texas Tech University, University of Texas at Austin, University of Colorado at Boulder, and University of Texas at Arlington. His teachers include Robert Walzel, Philip Aaholm, Carol Jessup, and Jesse Youngblood. He is a BG France Performing Artist and his professional website is clarinetmike.com. Mike and his family live in Hurst, Texas. His family’s new Golden Retriever, Nimbus, is a relative of Andy.
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