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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000859.txt from 1996/04

From: dotcalm <dotcalm@-----.COM>
Subj: Frustration and Starting Over
Date: Tue, 30 Apr 1996 21:39:15 -0400

Hello Folks:

After not picking up the horn at all for about 13 years or so, I =
decided (inspired in part by the information on this list) to start =
playing again. I had played quite seriously and steadily through =
college and even part of grad school (and had achieved a reasonable =
degree of amateur proficiency) before the "real world" caught up to me.

At any rate, I secured the services of a local teacher who is only able =
to meet with me on a relatively irregular basis. This is OK with me =
since my schedule is not particularly conducive to weekly lessons, as =
much as I might need them. At any rate, we started pretty much at the =
beginning with long tone exercises and relatively short legato passages =
and scales concentrating on breath support. After a few weeks of =
practicing, I actually started to sound pretty good a good deal of the =
time (it is quite frustrating to start relearning an instrument since =
you know how it is supposed to sound, which leads you to cringe more =
easily when you sound like a dying duck). Since I was making really =
good progress, my teacher started working tonguing into the picture.

Since that time, things seem to be getting worse instead of better =
(even the legato and long tones). I realize that my embouchure and =
tongue position when playing legato/long tones (even with good tone) is =
completely incompatible with good tonguing (the tip of my tongue =
appears to want to nestle against the inside of my lower lip--almost =
like it is helping to support the mouthpiece). Unfortunately, the =
embouchure/tongue position I appear to need to tongue successfully =
appears to be incompatible with good long tones/legato. In addition, I =
find it easier to tongue rapidly than to tongue slowly (eg staccato =
sixteenths are much easier to accomplish than quarter notes) and =
impossible to cleanly tongue any note "above the staff". I will not get =
to meet with my teacher again for about three weeks. The situation is =
quite frustrating.

In the interim, I wonder if anyone has any suggestions for what might =
be going on and how to deal with it. For the record, I am playing on a =
Buffet R-13 (circa 1971, serial #124xxx), a very old Selmer HS** =
mouthpiece and V-12 #3 reeds. Though I doubt that the horn itself is =
part of the problem (my teacher did quickly check it over and found it =
in pretty good shape), I will use my upcoming business trip as an =
excuse to have a local repair person check it out. Is the =
mouthpiece/reed combination way out of whack? My guess is that I am far =
more out of whack than the equipment, but any technique and/or =
equipment suggestions would be appreciated.



Mitch and Nancy Halpern
Menlo Park, California

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend.
Inside a dog, it's too dark to read."
=8BGroucho Marx

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