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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000495.txt from 1999/04

From: Erin M Simmons <clarierin@-----.com>
Subj: Re: [kl] Improving tone quality...
Date: Fri, 9 Apr 1999 18:27:14 -0400

Vallent,
I read your message, and I think I have a few suggestions that
might help. Being a student myself, I am not even close to having what I
think is a desirable tone for me (will I ever?), and I can definitely
relate to what you are going through. Here are a few things I do
everyday for tone and control:

1.) LONG TONES- This (in my not-so-humble opinion) is by far the most
important thing. Take a note, and hold it. (middle C is a good place to
start) Hold it until it is as round, "centered", clear, and as beautiful
as you can make it. Make sure that you aren't straining (which can lead
to tension), but it is just natural, flowing, and centered. It may take
several breaths to achieve this.
When I first started working on tone, my teacher used to tell me, "Play
like you have a hard-boiled egg in your mouth." Also, I find when I am
getting close to having the type of tone I want, it seems as if the tone
is being produced in a *bubble* in the front of my mouth. Being able to
hear the first of the overtone series (the octave) when you do this is
also a good thing to listen for when the note is becoming centered.
Anyway, back to the long tones. Starting on middle C is a good place,
get it beautiful, then go to D, then back to C. Then C, E, C, etc.- all
in very slow, long tones. When doing this exercise be sure to match the
tone in the top note (or bottom, depending on which way you decided to
go) to the note you started.

2.) Listen to recordings- I won't even touch the subject as to who is
the best to listen to when in comes to great tone (I know how everyone
has someone who they feel is the best), but listening to recordings is a
wonderful tool. It gives us an idea of how we want to sound. One of my
favorites is Harold Wright. Another one of my favorites is Ralph McClain
(sp? sorry you guys, I should know!), but his recordings can be hard to
find.

3.) Finally, I feel having good reeds is very important to achieving
excellent tone.

I hope that I may have been some help, and best wishes!
Musically yours,
Erin Simmons

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