Doctor Who and The Articulation Aliens

I originally wrote a fantastic blog on restaurant etiquette and the differences between dining styles…but am too lazy to turn the computer back on and edit it for posting.

Instead, I’m updating from my iPhone while watching Doctor Who at a point in my practice where my body has finally screamed…”PUT THE INSTRUMENT DOWN AND BREATH.”

I just spent the last three hours practicing fundamentals: long tones with tuner and drone, scales, arpeggios, articulation, etc. A majority of that time was spent on articulation – something I never felt much need to work on because I have been blessed with a fast tongue. However, the past few months my embouchure has seen extensive changes, all in an effort to loosen up the sound and let more harmonics run in the tone. As a result of this change, my articulation is not so great and need to re-learn it.

Unfortunately, I’m a biter (as are a majority of clarinet players). It’s a result of playing 8 to 9 hours a day going from one rehearsal/performance to the next. When you go go go all the time, you never really stop and take care of the fundamentals – especially when you have a stack of orchestra music to learn and three concertos to memorize. Needless to say, I regret not taking the time and am a little perturbed with myself for taking on too many projects keeping me from taking care of the basics. And moving on from that random non-sequitur…

The embouchure change has made tonguing a little difficult…instead of a light articulation, my tongue is now a jack hammer against the reed.

Add the fact that my embouchure still isn’t really stable…and it’s a receipt for chaos and utter disharmony. Today, though, I think we’re getting back on the right track. There’s still some instability in the embouchure…by that’s going to take time, the muscles need to rebuild. My voicing is getting better…but have to be super careful not to think about that too much. More often than not, thinking about voicing screws everything up and I strongly stand by the theory that if the air is right and the embouchure is right, then the voicing is (generally) right.

Off to practice some Mozart and Brahms and watch ANOTHER fantastic episode of Doctor Who!

Here’s a nice picture of the view we had today while out for Thanksgiving Dinner…though the restaurant sucked, the view of the James river was quite stunning!

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