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.
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Poor technique on the clarinet DOES itself. What do I mean? Every day you practice and/or perform, if you are using a poor technique, that is the technique you use to play consistently.
What is a poor technique? It is a technique that makes you struggle in the difficult literature on the clarinet, makes you incapable of getting the best tone out of your instrument, makes it difficult to realize the interpretation you want, and is doing damage to your body.
Does it work? It must if you’re a fine clarinetist. If you’re not very good, then you’re using poor technique and/or you’re not practicing. If it does work, why change poor technique? Does really poor clarinet technique really work, even if you sound good? No! Why?
Because, if you’re technique makes you struggle to play what you want, and if it is doing damage to your body, then poor technique lowers your ability to enjoy the music you are creating in the moment. In other words, poor technique can take the joy out of playing the clarinet, and make you solely dependent on the positive feedback of listeners to feel good about your playing.
This is probably not a unique occurrence among classical clarinetists, since so many are perfectionists. What do I mean? I define a perfectionist clarinetist as someone who will never ever be satisfied with their playing, even though the promise they will be satisfied is held out front of each practice session and performance, like a carrot at the end of a stick.
What I just wrote is very black and white, but is it possible for someone who has moderately poor clarinet technique to enjoy some of his or her performance in the moment. Yes. But what about the clarinetist who has to work like a dog to create a pleasing performance? These are the clarinetists who really need constant external validation. They will probably get into physical trouble and at some point and have to stop playing, because of injury and/or the fact that playing the clarinet is just too hard.
When you tie poor clarinet technique to perfectionism, there is no way you’re going to be able to truly enjoy your playing as you play. You will only be able to enjoy making music AFTER THE FACT, if you are able to find things you liked about your playing and/or you got praise from listeners.
Does poor clarinet technique ever work? Is it working if you sound good? It only truly can be said to work, if at the end of a practice session or a performance you like your interpretation, you aren’t damaging your body, and you feel more ENERGIZED than when you began playing.
Does this mean there is such a thing as a poor technique that isn’t debilitating in the long run? Let me rephrase this. By definition, a poor clarinet technique is an inefficient clarinet technique. So, is there an inefficient clarinet technique that is harmless to the body and mind and lets you make beautiful music?
Yes. But you probably will have to practice and perform for short periods, if you don’t want to expose the destructive flaws in your clarinet technique.
So, choose to take care of yourself with a kind clarinet technique.