ClarinetMike Tip on “Going Over The Break”

ClarinetMike says, “Teach Good Clarinet Pedagogy!”

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.]

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ClarinetMike’s Texas ATSSB All-State Soprano Clarinet Preparation Tips 2018-2019

Dr. Michael Dean “ClarinetMike”

Below are my complete clinic notes for this year’s ATSSB (Association of Texas Small School Bands) All-State Soprano Clarinet Audition Materials. For official listing of audition materials, click here (Use Year C for 2018-19).

ClarinetMike’s Texas ATSSB All-State Clarinet Clinic 2018-2019:
Soprano Clarinet Preparation Tips
Dr. Michael Dean “ClarinetMike”
“Building Great Clarinetists”
Clarinet Performing, Teaching and Consulting
Hurst, Texas, USA * 682-888-7639
clarinetmike.com * clarinetmiketexas@yahoo.com

TIPS ON SCALES

Prepare your scales as if they are etudes or solos. Don’t just run through them quickly and thoughtlessly. The required etudes are built on scales, as is almost all music. Therefore, careful preparation of scales with good fundamentals (relaxation, tone, counting, etc.) will pay big rewards on the etudes and all the music you play.

Work on scales in an organized practice routine that includes basics, sight-reading, etc. My Practice Routine is here.

Practice a scale all slurred first, then work on the tongued version. Slurring will allow you to hear how smooth (or not) the connections between notes are.

Work on tonguing every day – check out my Basic Tonguing Exercise (BTE) click here.

Practice the chromatic scale every day. Many consider it to be the most important scale. I suggest starting your scale practice with it.

Use a metronome. BUT, don’t use it 100% of the time – DO NOT get addicted to the metronome. Common Sense is your most important tool in preparation of scales and music (and everything!).

Work on cleanly going over The Break! This is often neglected and results in a lack of smoothness in the playing. The finger combinations for going over The Break are tricky and must be addressed every day by clarinetists at every level. Also, DO NOT use throat tone resonance fingers (or keeping right hand down, etc.) when doing scales. This will slow down and dirty the technique.

Make sure you have good tone, relaxed body position, good breathing, etc. as you learn the scales. Otherwise, you will be memorizing flaws that will be harder to fix later.

TIPS ON ETUDES

Etude Book: David Hite editor, Artistic Studies, Book 1 – From the French School, Published by Southern Music [Rose Etudes] (For official ATSSB Etude listing, click HERE.)

Note: Cyrille Rose (1830-1902) was a very important clarinet teacher at the Paris Conservatory and 1st clarinetist with the Paris Opera orchestra for 34 years. Rose did not compose these etudes, but he adapted and enhanced etudes written for other instruments. He “clarinetized” them.

Practice Tip: Load only accurate rhythms and notes by using Rhy-No Practice Technique with BOLD Dynamics: Click HERE and HERE.

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Etude 1 Adagio non troppo, Page 59. Key: D Major. Rose 32 Etudes #13. Tempo: Quarter Note = 54-63; Play from the beginning through measure 24. (NOTE: This is etude is also one of this year’s TMEA All-State Soprano Clarinet Etudes – click here.)

Composer and Style: This Rose etude is based on an etude by court oboist Franz Wilhelm Ferling (1796-1874) – to view the original etude, click HERE and go to Etude #9. This etude is similar to the slow movement of a sonata or concerto with Ferling possibly influenced by the great violin virtuoso Paganini (cite). In our version, Rose not only adapted and enhanced this Ferling etude for the clarinet, he also added a lot of measures. The original Ferling etude was likely marked Adagio con espressione.  So play expressively like a great romantic virtuoso with lots of emotion and feeling!

Overview: This moderately slow etude is very sophisticated with lots of  “Over-The-Top” Romantic Phrasing and tricky rhythms. There are 3 major issues: Tone, “Over-The-Top” Romantic Phrasing, and Tricky Rhythms.

Sections and Phrases: Our part of this Etude has 3 phrases with each phrase 8 measures long: P1 = m1-m8, P2 = m9-m16, and P3 = m17-m24. The first 2 phrases can be viewed as a 2-phrase set. In fact, P1 and P2 together form a parallel period [or something like that!].

Tempo:  Quarter note = 54-63. It would be best to perform this etude in quarter notes (in 3); however, if you can’t play it accurately in 3, then you must perform it in eight notes (in 6).

Musical Issues: As noted above, the original Ferling etude was likely marked Adagio con espressione, “slow with expression.” Rose changed this to Adagio non troppo, “slow, but not too slow.” The editor of our edition, David Hite, (who tended to overedit at times) added the word piangevolemente “plaintively” at m1. It seems that Rose had originally written espress., “expressively” here instead. I suggest going with Rose (and Ferling) and try to be as expressive as possible. Note all the extreme dynamics. They clearly indicate an over-the-top romantic style of phrasing. Always learn a work with dynamics, do not try to add dynamics later! Always play with the most beautiful tone possible. In any performance, tone quality should be considered one of the most important factors.

Problem Passages: There are a number of spots that are rhythmically sophisticated and have to be carefully counted with lots of slow, careful practice – 5 of the first 8 measures in the first phrase (P1) are tricky! Pay special attention to the difference between double dotted eight/thirty-second and dotted eight/sixteenth passages.

Technical IssuesFingerings: M6 requires some kind of finger slide. I suggest doing the slide between the first 2 notes of the measure with the right little finger. Shorten the first note D# and then go quickly to right B. Practice this super slow at first. Consider resonance fingerings in exposed throat tone spots; however, remember that good voicing is the best resonance fingering!  Articulation: The “mezzo staccatos” of m5, m6 and m22 are open to interpretation: try them lightly tongued with, and then without, separation to see what you like.

Scale and Arpeggio Cheat Sheet: Scales: D major, Chromatic. Arpeggios: D major (D F# A), G major (G B D), A7 (A C# E G), and B minor (B D F#)

Breathing: As marked. Relate breathing to phrasing as much as possible.

Suggested Listening: Listen to slow movements of romantic era sonatas. Here are a few: Beethoven “Pathetique” Piano Sonata Mvt. 2 HERE, Schubert Piano Sonata in A Major Mvt. 2 HERE, Franck Violin Sonata HERE  and HERE.

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Etude 2, Allegro moderato, Page: 58, Key: D Minor. Rose 32 Etudes #12. Tempo: Quarter Note = 88. Play from the beginning to the downbeat of measure 25.

Overview: This “Straight Ahead” etude has 4 main issues, Tone, Even Sixteenths, Articulation (BTE), and Dynamics/Style.

Composer and Style: This Rose etude is based on an etude by court oboist Franz Wilhelm Ferling (1796-1874) – to view the original etude, click HERE and go to Etude #16. The original Ferling etude was likely marked Allegretto risoluto. Ferling was possibly influenced by the great violin virtuoso Paganini when he wrote this etude in the style of a Toccata. (cite).  A “Toccata (from Italian toccare, literally, “to touch”) is a virtuoso piece of music typically for a keyboard or plucked string instrument featuring fast-moving, lightly fingered or otherwise virtuosic passages or sections…generally emphasizing the dexterity of the performer’s fingers.” (cite) So, play like a Romantic Era Virtuoso with lots of life, but keep your touch light and relaxed!

Sections and Phrases: I like to think of this etude as having 3 sections: S1 = m1-m8, S2 = m9-m16, and S3 = m17-m25.

Tempo:  Quarter note = 88. It would be best to perform this etude in quarter notes (in 3); however, if you can’t play it accurately in 3, then you must perform it in eight notes (in 6). Generally, the plan on this one is to learn in 6, perform in 3.

Musical Issues: Carefully consider dynamics, crescendos,  accents, etc. Learn these while preparing notes and rhythms. DO NOT WAIT UNTIL LATER! Adding dynamics, etc. later does NOT work very well: ClarinetMike says, “If you learn it at Mezzo-Nothing, you’ll play it at Mezzo-Nothing.”

Problem Passages:  In the opening of S1, the ¾ time can turn you around.

Technical IssuesArticulation: Repeated tongues are tricky, go slow and be patient. Keep the tongue very light. Check out “BTE.” See section on Articulation below. Relaxation: This etude can create tension in your body. Staying relaxed is critical. So, GAIN Relaxation, MAINTAIN Relaxation, and then RE-GAIN Relaxation as needed. Rhythm: Keep the sixteenths rhythmically even with every note getting ¼ of a beat. DO NOT rush off the first sixteenth of each set of 4.

Articulation: Here’s a ClarinetMike Trick: In the slow preparation of any fast short-articulated or staccato type passage, DO NOT practice it slowly with the staccatos short. In other words, when you practice slowly, play the articulation with a mostly normal or regular tongue stroke with not much, if any, separation. As you go faster over time and the passage becomes ingrained and learned, it will be easy to adjust the length of the articulation to the desired shortness. Be sure to use your ears to help you decide how short to play the notes. Playing the notes too short can sound bad.

Scale and Arpeggio Cheat Sheet: D minor scale and especially D minor arpeggio. Chromatic scale. Arpeggios: D minor (D F A), A (A C# E), A7 (A C# E G), E7 (E G# B D), Bb (Bb D F), Eb (Eb G Bb), E Fully Diminished Seventh (E G Bb C#) and F Fully Diminished Seventh (F Ab, B D). More than a third of the measures in this etude are based on the D minor arpeggio. Work on this arpeggio!

Breathing: While learning in 6 [eight note gets one beat], breathe wherever needed – NO TENSION. However, plan early in the preparation where you will breathe when you play in 3 – be mindful of this while you learn the etude in 6. In at least 1 spot, m22 (and likely others), you will have to stop quickly and breathe. You must factor this in when preparing the etude slowly in 6 with a metronome!

Suggested Listening: Listen to J.S. Bach’s Toccatas and Fugues – also his Partitas. Check out this over-the-top version of Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D MinorCLICK HERE. Here’s a Toccata by the great piano virtuoso Franz Liszt, CLICK HERE. Also, watch this video depiction of Paganini [but don’t live your life like him!] CLICK HERE.

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Etude No. 1 Preparation Tips: ClarinetMike’s 2018-2019 Texas TMEA All-State Soprano Clarinet Clinic

Dr. Michael Dean “ClarinetMike”

Below are my complete clinic notes on Etude No. 1 from this year’s Texas TMEA All-State Soprano Clarinet Etudes. Click HERE to view my recently-posted notes on Etude No. 2 “The Slow Etude.” Watch for my notes on Etude 3 coming soon! Check out my previous posts on the all-state etudes: Click HERE.

ClarinetMike’s Texas TMEA All-State Clarinet Clinic 2018-2019
Soprano Clarinet Preparation Tips: Etude No. 1
Dr. Michael Dean “ClarinetMike”
“Building Great Clarinetists”
Clarinet Performing, Teaching and Consulting
Hurst, Texas, USA * 682-888-7639
clarinetmike.com * clarinetmiketexas@yahoo.com

Etude Book: David Hite editor, Artistic Studies, Book 1 – From the French School [Rose Etudes] Published by Southern Music Co. (For official TMEA listing, Click HERE.)

Note: Cyrille Rose (1830-1902) was a very important clarinet teacher at the Paris Conservatory and 1st clarinetist with the Paris Opera orchestra for 34 years. Rose did not compose these etudes, but he adapted and enhanced etudes written for other instruments. He “clarinetized” them.

Practice Tip: Load only accurate rhythms and notes by using Rhy-No Practice Technique with BOLD Dynamics: Click HERE and HERE.

Etude 1 Allegro, Page 54. Key: E Minor. Rose 32 Etudes #8. Artistic Studies, Book 1, Edited by David Hite, Southern Music. Tempo: Quarter note = 88-108; Play from Beginning to end. Errata: Do not play the repeat from measures 16 through 31.

Composer and Style: This Rose etude is based on an etude by court oboist Franz Wilhelm Ferling (1796-1874) – to view the original etude, click HERE and go to Etude #4. Ferling was possibly influenced by the great violin virtuoso Paganini when he wrote this etude in the style of a Toccata. (cite).  A “Toccata (from Italian toccare, literally, “to touch”) is a virtuoso piece of music typically for a keyboard or plucked string instrument featuring fast-moving, lightly fingered or otherwise virtuosic passages or sections…generally emphasizing the dexterity of the performer’s fingers.” (cite) So, play like a Romantic Era Virtuoso with lots of life, but keep your touch light and relaxed!

Overview: This “Straight Ahead” etude has 3 main issues, Tonguing (BTE), Even Sixteenths, and Dynamics/Style.

Phrases and Sections: Etude has 5 phrases with each about 16 measures long. P1 = m1-m15, P2 = m16-m31, P3 = m32-m46, P4 = m47-m61, and P5 = m62-end. P1 and P2 are in E minor, P3 is in G major (relative major), P4 is in E major (parallel major) and P5 is back in E minor.

Tempo:  Quarter note = 88-108.

Musical Issues: Other than Allegro, “fast,” the only directions on performing this etude come from the editor, David Hite. At the start he added con spirito e deciso “spirited and decidedly, firmly.” I like spirito, but have taken my pencil and scratched out e deciso. (I’m not changing the Bible here, just adjusting David Hite’s unfortunate tendency to overedit!) To my mind deciso has tension in it and this etude should be played with a light touch full of life and spirit. Note carefully the marked dynamics – remember, this is a work of music not a math problem. Be sure to learn dynamics as you learn the rhythm and notes. Adding dynamics later does NOT work very well: ClarinetMike says, “If you learn it at Mezzo-Nothing,” you’ll play it at Mezzo-Nothing.”

Problem Passages: Keep the sixteenths rhythmically even with every note getting ¼ of a beat. DO NOT rush off the first sixteenth of each set of 4. M17-m21 are tricky. Play these very legato with almost no tongue. The leaps in m35-m36 and m39-m40 are very difficult, especially at a quick tempo. In m40 consider doing a little slow down into the breathe mark – then back to A Tempo in m41. Practice these spots every day – use every practice trick you can think of. Check out the practice tips on my ClarinetMike Blog HERE.

Articulation: Articulation is very important in this etude. {ClarinetMike Trick: In the slow preparation of any fast short-articulated or staccato type passage, DO NOT practice it slowly with the staccatos short. In other words, when you practice slowly, play the articulation with a mostly normal or regular tongue stroke with not much, if any, separation. As you go faster over time and the passage becomes ingrained and learned, it will be easy to adjust the length of the articulation to the desired shortness. Be sure to use your ears to help you decide how short to play the notes. Playing the notes too short can sound bad.} In this etude, as long as you end up performing it at least moderately fast, it works great to just learn and play all the staccatos with regular tonguing with NO separation. Regular tonguing at a fast speed makes the staccatos sound shortened. Staccatos in M62-m68 (and elsewhere) might need to be a little shortened if the tempo is on the slow side – use your ears to decide on shortness. FYI, staccatos for music from the 1800’s should not be too short in any event – think “separated” or “detached.”

Fingerings: Carefully consider your choices of fingerings for this etude. Make sure they work for YOU; different fingerings work for different people. Think for yourself. In m5 and m6 (plus m51 and m52) I would use fork on the first 2 B’s and regular middle fingering on the third B. In m18 and m19 consider middle finger for top line F# – flipping is faster for me here. In m 40 use right finger for all C’s and C#. At A Tempo in m41 (See Above), start measure with left B, but do not add right C key as is common practice [I call B Left Only, “Lonely”]. M67 requires some kind of finger slide (or jump). I suggest doing the slide (jump) between the first 2 notes of the measure with the right little finger. Shorten the first note D# and then go quickly to right B. [This is also the way I suggested doing the slide in m6 of Etude 2.] I actually do more of a “jump” than a “slide.” If the tempo is at all fast, it is hard for the ear to hear it. Also, doing it this way makes m67 similar to m65.

Scale and Arpeggio Cheat Sheet: Scales: E minor, G major, E major, Chromatic. Arpeggios: E minor (E G B), B7 (B, D#, F# A), G major (G B D), E major (E G# B), E Fully Diminished 7th (E G Bb C#)

Breathing: Stop and breathe as marked and needed.

Suggested Listening: Listen to J.S. Bach’s Toccatas and Fugues – also his Partitas. Check out this over-the-top version of Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D MinorCLICK HERE. Here’s a Toccata by the great piano virtuoso Franz Liszt, CLICK HERE. Also, watch this video depiction of Paganini [but don’t live your life like him!] CLICK HERE.

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Duo 35 Tour 2018! ClarinetMike and Saxophonist Todd Oxford to Give World Premiere in Texas and Canada!

Duo 35 Tour 2018 Poster

Saxophonist Todd Oxford and I are hitting the road soon for our Duo 35 Tour 2018. Leading off our program will be the World Premiere of Robert Fruehwald’s Plaisir d’amour for clarinet and alto saxophone! I will also be giving the North American Premiere of When Armenian Butterflies Dream by Jeffrey Hoover. Tour Itinerary is above and Program and Program Notes (on the premieres) are below. For the complete Duo 35 Tour 2018 Program and Program Notes CLICK HERE.

Duo 35 Tour 2018
Michael Dean, clarinet
Todd Oxford, saxophone

CONCERT PROGRAM

Plaisir d’amour (2017) by Robert Fruehwald (b.1957)
(clarinet & alto saxophone) (World Premiere)

Sweet and Go (2014) by Armando Ghidoni (b.1959)
(alto saxophone)

When Armenian Butterflies Dream (2015) by Jeffrey Hoover (b.1959)
(clarinet) (North American Premiere)

*Tango Magnetism (1998) by Dan Gutwein (b. 1951)
(alto saxophone & cd)

Intermission

*Talking Pictures (1984) by Amy Quate (b. 1953)
(clarinet & soprano saxophone)
Monet
Whirligig
Blues

Maple Leaf Rag (1899) by Scott Joplin (1868-1917) Arr. by Terry Kenny
(clarinet & alto saxophone)

* at IBCA concert only.

PROGRAM NOTES ON PREMIERES

Plaisir d’amour (2017) by Robert Fruehwald (b. 1957)

Composer and teacher, Robert Fruehwald, grew up in Louisville, Kentucky where he played flute in the Louisville Youth Orchestra. He attended the University of Louisville receiving a Bachelor of Music in Composition (with honors). While in Louisville, he studied composition with Nelson Keyes, Claude Baker, and Dan Welcher, and flute with Francis Fuge. He earned his Master of Fine Arts degree at the California Institute of the Arts studying with Mel Powell, Morton Subotnick, and Leonard Rosenman. He returned to the Midwest to work on a Ph.D. at Washington University in St. Louis. There, he studied under Robert Wykes and finished his doctorate in 1985. Before accepting a teaching position in the late 1980s, Dr. Fruehwald developed a series of programs to print musical examples for scholarly journals and books. In 1989 Robert Fruehwald took a teaching position at Southeast Missouri State University. Dr. Fruehwald has taught numerous subjects at Southeast including applied composition, music theory, applied flute, electronic-computer music, and the history of modernism. He served as chair of the department of music at Southeast Missouri State University from 1995-2000. His professional web page is available HERE.

 Plaisir d’amour was commissioned by Duo 35. This tour features the World Premiere of the work.

 Plaisir d’Amour is one of the world’s most popular love songs. It was written in 1784 by french composer Jean-Paul-Égide Martini. It was later orchestrated by Hector Berlioz. It has been recorded by numerous opera singers including Elisabeth Schwartzkopf, Janet Baker, and Plácido Domingo. It appears in the films The Heiress, Love Affair, We’re No Angels, and The Affair of the Necklace as well as the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers. It is perhaps best known in the version sung by Elvis Presley: Can’t Help Falling in Love. The original french text is from a poem by Jean-Pierre Claris de Florian. The opening lines sum up the experience of love lost: The pleasure of love lasts only a moment. The grief of love lasts all your life (Plaisir d’amour ne dure qu’un moment. Chagrin d’amour dure toute la vie).” – Robert Fruehwald

When Armenian Butterflies Dream (2015) by Jeffrey Hoover (b.1959)

Jeffrey Hoover’s work – music ranging from soloist to symphony orchestra – has received recognition through the prestigious Trieste prize, awards from Mu Phi Epsilon, the Lancaster Fine Arts Festival, grants, publications fellowships and more than 20 commissions.  He is a member of the ACME roster of Mu Phi Epsilon, recognized for distinguished achievement as a composer.

One unique aspect of Hoover’s creative output is when he combines composition with painting, creating synergetic works that intrigue and captivate audiences and performers alike.  His work is seen in exhibitions and in concerts where his paintings are projected while musicians perform his music.  Whether making interdisciplinary works, or traditional stand-alone sonic or visual art, Hoover shapes his work through inner vision and experience.  Hoover’s background as a performer includes both classical and jazz music, as saxophonist and conductor.  His book The Arts and Society:  Making New Worlds (Music, Art, Theater, Dance, Film, Poetry, and Architecture) is published by Kendall Hunt Publishing.

Jeffrey Hoover was born on September 11, 1959, in Anderson, Indiana. He holds a Ph.D. in Fine Arts (Composition and Interdisciplinary Fine Arts) from Texas Tech University, as well as a M.M. and Bch.Sc. from Ball State University.  His career in higher education has included both faculty and administrative appointments.  Hoover resides in Sacramento, California. His professional web page is available HERE.

When Armenian Butterflies Dream has only been performed in Armenia. This tour features the North American Premiere of the work.

When Armenian Butterflies Dream was inspired by studying the musical elements and colors of sacred Armenian chant. It also combines the spiritual symbolism of the “rebirth” of the butterfly: its transformation from larva and eventual emergence as a full adult. The composition of When Armenian Butterflies Dream coincided with the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide in 2015.  A digital painting When Armenian Butterflies Dream, by the composer, also exists [CLICK HERE].” – Jeffrey Hoover

ClarinetMike says, “Hats off to Robert Fruehwald and Jeffrey Hoover for writing cool new music!”

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ClarinetMike World Premiere Video and Sheet Music Now Available!

Pianist Dena Kay Jones and ClarinetMike with composer Raymond Head after the World Premiere.

As previously posted, this past July I returned as Clarinet Artist Faculty in Residence at the international Orfeo Music Festival 2018 in the beautiful Italian Alps of Vipiteno, Italy (Sterzing).

One of the works I performed at the Orfeo Music Festival was a new work, Small Voice of Calm, written for me by British Composer Raymond Head. Joining me on the World Premiere was my fabulous Orfeo colleague Dena Kay Jones on piano. Raymond Head  traveled from England to Italy for the premiere and we also had the wonderful opportunity to work with him in rehearsing his marvelous new work. A video of the premiere is below along with information on the work from the composer. There are also details on ordering the sheet music.

ClarinetMike says, “Get this wonderful work and play it!”

Small Voice of Calm for clarinet and piano by Raymond Head (b. 1948)
(World Premiere)
Michael Dean, clarinet
Dena Kay Jones, piano
Orfeo Music Festival 2018, Vigil Raber Saal
Vipiteno, Italy (Sterzing) July 9, 2018

SHEET MUSIC AVAILABLE: Go to https://raymondhead.com/compositions/clarinet.  On this website there is a link in the upper right hand corner, “Buy.” The work costs £15 (currently $19.38 in USA Dollars). PayPal and Credit Cards accepted.

FROM THE COMPOSER:

Small Voice of Calm for Clarinet and Piano
by Raymond Head
Dedicated to Michael Dean, Texas USA

“This piece was inspired by a poem by John Greenleaf Whittier, the 19th century American Quaker who became a household name in the US and the UK. Despite all the earthquakes, wind and fire of our minds, if we let it the “still small voice of calm” reappears to soothe us. Essentially this is what happens in the piece: sudden violent interjections are gradually pacified by the quiet authority of the insistent repeated melody.”

Raymond Head is the Musical Adviser to the Holst Birthplace Museum, Cheltenham UK, and a composer, teacher and Holst Scholar.   He was one of the featured commentators in a recent Tony Palmer film Gustav Holst – In the Bleak Midwinter which was shown on the BBC.

For more than 30 years Raymond has lived in Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, UK and is a composer and a teacher of piano and singing. He was trained at Dartington College of Arts, UK where he encountered Indian music for the first time.

He was an early follower of Stockhausen but in the end rejected him in favour of writing music that was modern yet communicative. He believes music should be capable of the widest range of expression from angst to lyricism and even humour.

CD’s of his music are on the Prima Facie ASC label. A string orchestral piece is to be recorded in the Ukraine in August for the Toccata Classics label and a wind quintet Toda Cambia is to be premiered in Wales later this year. His music is published by Sky Dance Press, UK. His professional website is www.raymondhead.com.

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Etude No. 2 “The Slow Etude” Preparation Tips: ClarinetMike’s 2018-2019 Texas TMEA All-State Soprano Clarinet Clinic

ClarinetMike says, “Perform Expressively with lots of Emotion and Feeling!”

Below are my complete clinic notes on Etude No. 2, “The Slow Etude,” from this year’s Texas TMEA All-State Soprano Clarinet Etudes. Watch for my notes on Etudes 1 and 3 coming soon! Check out my previous posts on the all-state etudes: Click HERE.

ClarinetMike’s Texas TMEA All-State Clarinet Clinic 2018-2019
Soprano Clarinet Preparation Tips: Etude No. 2 “The Slow Etude”
Dr. Michael Dean “ClarinetMike”
“Building Great Clarinetists”
Clarinet Performing, Teaching and Consulting
Hurst, Texas, USA * 682-888-7639
clarinetmike.com * clarinetmiketexas@yahoo.com

Etude Book: David Hite editor, Artistic Studies, Book 1 – From the French School [Rose Etudes] Published by Southern Music Co. (For official TMEA listing, Click HERE.)

Note: Cyrille Rose (1830-1902) was a very important clarinet teacher at the Paris Conservatory and 1st clarinetist with the Paris Opera orchestra for 34 years. Rose did not compose these etudes, but he adapted and enhanced etudes written for other instruments. He “clarinetized” them.

Practice Tip: Load only accurate rhythms and notes by using Rhy-No Practice Technique with BOLD Dynamics: Click HERE and HERE.

Etude 2 Adagio non troppo, Page 59. Key: D Major. Rose 32 Etudes #13. Artistic Studies, Book 1 – From the French School, Edited by David Hite, Southern Music Co. Tempo: Quarter note = 54-63; Play from the beginning to end. Errata: Measure 21 – the second note in the measure – the E – should be a 32nd note instead of a 16th note. Measure 36 – Articulate sixteenth triplets as notated in measures 37 and 38.

Composer and Style: This Rose etude is based on an etude by court oboist Franz Wilhelm Ferling (1796-1874) – to view the original etude, click HERE and go to Etude #9. This etude is similar to the slow movement of a sonata or concerto with Ferling possibly influenced by the great violin virtuoso Paganini (cite). In our version, Rose not only adapted and enhanced this Ferling etude for the clarinet, he also added a lot of measures. The original Ferling etude was likely marked Adagio con espressione.  So play expressively like a great romantic virtuoso with lots of emotion and feeling!

Overview: This moderately slow etude is very sophisticated with lots of  “Over-The-Top” Romantic Phrasing and tricky rhythms. There are 3 major issues: Tone, “Over-The-Top” Romantic Phrasing, and Tricky Rhythms.

Sections and Phrases: Etude has 8 phrases with each about 8 measures long. P1 = m1-m8, P2 = m9-m16, P3 = m17-m24, P4 = m25-m32, P5 = m33-m40, P6 = m40-m48, P7 = m49-m56, and P8 = m56-end. Each phrase can be viewed as part of a 2-phrase set (P1 and P2 together, P3 and P4, P5 and P6, P7 and P8). In fact, P1 and P2 together form a parallel period [or something like that!].  P1-P4 can be considered Part 1 and P5 to the end as Part 2.

Tempo:  Quarter note = 54-63. It would be best to perform this etude in quarter notes (in 3); however, if you can’t play it accurately in 3, then you must perform it in eight notes (in 6).

Musical Issues: As noted above, the original Ferling etude was likely marked Adagio con espressione, “slow with expression.” Rose changed this to Adagio non troppo, “slow, but not too slow.” The editor of our edition, David Hite, (who tended to overedit at times) added the word piangevolemente “plaintively” at m1. It seems that Rose had originally written espress., “expressively” here instead. I suggest going with Rose (and Ferling) and try to be as expressive as possible. The other indications, such as tres doux, morendo, etc. are better and should be considered – it is critical you understand all the terms and indications that are on the music. Also, especially note all the extreme dynamics. They clearly indicate an over-the-top romantic style of phrasing. Always play with the most beautiful tone possible. In any performance, tone quality should be considered one of the most important factors.

Rubato: Teaching and performing with Rubato is always a precarious business. However,  some rubato is certainly called for in at least a few spots in this etude: consider some in m29, m47-m48, m55, and m59. Consider taking a little time on the Bb in m32 before the A tempo in m33 (P5). A tip on using Rubato: practice the passage straight (in time) with and without a metronome, and then add Rubato. Once rubato has been added, always go back and practice it straight at times. [Note: Always learn a work with dynamics, do not try to add dynamics later!]

Problem Passages: There are a number of spots that are rhythmically sophisticated and have to be carefully counted with lots of slow, careful practice – 5 of the first 8 measures in the first phrase (P1) are tricky! Pay special attention to the difference between double dotted eight/thirty-second and dotted eight/sixteenth passages. Spend a lot of time getting the trills and grace notes “just right” in P4 and P7.  The last 3 measures requite lots of relaxation and air.

Technical IssuesFingerings: M6 requires some kind of finger slide. I suggest doing the slide between the first 2 notes of the measure with the right little finger. Shorten the first note D# and then go quickly to right B. [This is also the way I suggest doing the slide in m67 of Etude 1.]  Practice this super slow at first. M58 use regular F# on last note – this is a good example of why it is important to be great at flipping between regular F and F#. (see here] Consider resonance fingerings in exposed throat tone spots; however, remember that good voicing is the best resonance fingering!  Articulation: The “mezzo staccatos” of m5, m6 and m22 are open to interpretation: try them lightly tongued with, and then without, separation to see what you like.  Turns: Play the rhythm of the turn in m55 the way it is written out in m19.

Scale and Arpeggio Cheat Sheet: Scales: D major, Chromatic. Arpeggios: D major (D F# A), G major (G B D), A7 (A C# E G), and B minor (B D F#)

Breathing: As marked. Relate breathing to phrasing as much as possible.

Suggested Listening: Listen to slow movements of romantic era sonatas. Here are a few: Beethoven “Pathetique” Piano Sonata Mvt. 2 HERE, Schubert Piano Sonata in A Major Mvt. 2 HERE, Franck Violin Sonata HERE  and HERE.

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7 Tricks For Clarinet Teachers

Dr. Michael Dean “ClarinetMike” Teaching A Lesson

Are you a new clarinet teacher looking for help? Are you a seasoned clarinet teacher looking for upgrades? Have you taught the clarinet since the Hoover Presidency and want to continue to improve? Well, ClarinetMike is lookin’ out for ya! Below are some tips that will help new (and OLD!) teachers produce excellent clarinet students. Be sure to carefully study the information at the LINKS below.

7 Tricks For Clarinet Teachers by Dr. Michael Dean “ClarinetMike”

  1. Embouchure is Everything.  Your understanding of and the ability to teach good embouchure is the most critical part of producing good clarinet students. LINKS: 5-C Clarinet Embouchure,  5 E-Tips For E-Lips
  2. Relaxation and Posture. “If you ain’t relaxed, you ain’t nothin’.” LINKS: Unkink Your HoseHead PositionDon’t Lean OverDon’t Look Down
  3. Tonguing, Tonguing, Tonguing! Spend quality time with your new best friend, “Betty.” LINK: Basic Tonguing Exercise a.k.a. “Betty”
  4. COUNT! Teach your students how to count and learn music for themselves. Rote-only private lesson teachers are bad private lesson teachers.  Also, discourage students from just copying a recording or YouTube video on region or solo music. These and similar “short cuts” are shortsighted and end up hurting the students we are charged to help.  LINKS:  Rhy-No Practice,  Feed The Rhy-NoThe Fast Way
  5. Reed and Ligature Placement.  Coach John Wooden said, “Little Things Make Big Things Happen.” LINK: Reed and Ligature Placement
  6. PROJECT! Teach Clarinet Sound Projection. It’s easy to teach and do. LINK: Sound Projection
  7. Maximize Your Maxims. Repeatedly use short, memorable comments that concisely and quickly communicate your concepts and ideas. LINK: Maxims

ClarinetMike Says, “Clarinet Embouchure is possibly the weakest link in current clarinet pedagogy. Spend as much time as possible figuring out how to teach good embouchure – check out 5-C Clarinet Embouchure and 5 E-Tips For E-Lips.”

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