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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000872.txt from 2000/07

From: Richard Bush <>
Subj: Re: [kl] Strength -- no pain, no gain?
Date: Tue, 25 Jul 2000 13:40:10 -0400

Dear William,

I think you've answered your own question. I would quit when everything
starts to go to pot. Building up the embouchure muscles takes some time.
However, you need not quit for the day. When you get tired, take a break.
Not only will the face muscles get tired, but so does the brain. One can
concentrate with great intensity for just so long before one begins to
wander in thought.

Try breaking up your practice into two or three different sessions of 15 or
20 minutes each, with an hour of rest in-between. Or, practice in the
morning and then again at night.

You didn't mention how long you can go before you start to get tired, didn't
mention how long you've been playing, nor how long you would like to

William Wright wrote:

> In body building, the adage is: "No pain, no gain", by which they
> mean that working hard enough to make your muscles ache helps build more
> muscle. I was told once that at this 'aching' point in an exercise
> routine, microscopic (but harmless) rips are appearing in your muscle
> fibers and this causes your body's repair mechanisms to kick into gear.
> This in turn causes growth of new and increased muscle tissue, which is
> a good thing.
> So I'm wondering: when a beginning clarinetist reaches the "my
> chops are gone" point where air begins to leak out the sides of the
> mouth and the chin collapses and so forth, is it considered a good thing
> to try putting your embouchure back together one more time and to keep
> playing even though nothing works exactly right any longer -- on the
> theory that *this* is the special moment when you will do some real
> muscle-building in your embouchure? Or is this the moment when you
> should quit for the day because you're beginning to reinforce bad
> habits?

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