This ebook, An Alexander Technique Approach to Clarinet Technique, is published on this website in a PDF format. It is very detailed and practical, and it will give you the physical tools you need to take the limits off of your ability to create the accurate clarinet technique you want without sacrificing your body.
This ebook is also for sale on all AMAZON websites in a KINDLE format.
Located in Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.A. (MOVEMENT THERAPY)
Your clarinet technique is good enough when you can play whatever you want effortlessly with trust. Which comes first – a good enough technique or trust? Ideally they should occur at the same time, but usually they don’t in the typical two circumstances of a musician. These two circumstances are – you have played for years without trust or you are an outright beginner learning to play very carefully. By definition playing the clarinet carefully is trying not to make a mistake.
If your technique is not good enough for you, then what is necessary for you to get to this point? From the Alexander Technique perspective, you decide what works on the clarinet, and you let go of or avoid doing what doesn’t work. The most obvious and not so obvious thing that clarinetists do that doesn’t work, is they play with too much tension.
This is nearly universal in performers, because you could possibly do a really fine job of performing with too much tension if your technique is good enough. The problem is, that over the years of practicing and performing hours and hours with too much tension, you will probably cause wear and tear to joints and muscles and get into physical trouble. This is usually accepted as the norm. It is the norm, but that doesn’t make it unavoidable.
As an Alexander Technique teacher, it is my job to teach clarinet players to let go the aspects of their technique that don’t work and to trust what does work. If I don’t teach a student of mine to trust their technique, then there is truly no way I can get them to perform with anything approaching effortless technique consistently.
What does this mean? It means the clarinetist will not be able to perform in the zone whenever they choose. You can tweak posture and your instrument’s technique constantly, but if you never wed a wonderful technique with trust, then every time you play the clarinet you will be subtly, and maybe not so subtly, trying to improve your technique nonstop.
If every time you practice or perform there is a conscious or unconscious stream of thought goading you on to improve, then you can never perform in the moment with the joy of loving what your instrument is producing. This is the norm among classical clarinet players. It is what so many clarinetists have always done, so they really really don’t know they are doing this, so they never question if it is the best way to maintain their skills.
It isn’t the best way. In my Alexander Technique publications for the different instruments, I make it clear, extremely clear, what great technique is on each individual instrument, how to acquire it, and then how to trust and have faith in it. Getting out of your own way so you can make music, and accepting that nonstop striving every time you play the clarinet is not the best way to learn to perform effortlessly, and makes it possible for you to perform in the zone effortlessly.
Knowing when to accept that your clarinet technique is good enough and having faith in it, is the most loving thing a clarinet player can do for him or herself.