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 altissimo troubles
Author: fermata 
Date:   2003-03-25 04:53

Hello =)
I haven't been able to play my clarinet for about a week because I have been away on vacation. When I got back, I purchased a B45 mp (yay!) and my playing sounds so much better. I also found out that I had previously been playing on the worst possible mp. But anyway, this new mp sounds very clear and is a lot easier to play...but I feel like it is so easy to play that I can't control the air. Because of this, I am having a lot of trouble hitting higher notes. Is there anyway to help this? I use 3 1/2 Mitchel Lurie Premiums: should I get a harder reed? Or is the prob just because I haven't played in a while and need to get back in the swing of things?

Thank you for any advice!

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 Re: altissimo troubles
Author: PJ 
Date:   2003-03-26 01:21

The B45 is probably a little more open than your old mouthpiece. It has been said here, as well as other places, that more open mouthpieces don't always require a harder reed. Actually, quite the contrary. It is possible that you need to move down a half strength or so in order to compensate for the facing on your new mouthpiece. Just because you play on a harder reed doesn't mean that you are more advanced. There are plenty of professionals who would never consider playing above a 2 or 2.5. (Read Sherman Friedland's advice on the subject on this site.)

Keep in mind that this may not be the complete solution to the problem. One should always evaluate every aspect of a problem in order to fix it. In addition to trying a different reed strength (or other reeds for that matter), evaluate your embouchure, tongue placement, etc. to make sure that you haven't changed something subconsciously. Try anchoring the tip of your tongue behind your bottom teeth and see if the upper notes come to life. If so, your tongue could have been too low in the back and the air stream may not have been fast enough or as focussed as it needs to be. Another tip, try THINKING 'down' as you go up and 'up' as you go down. May seem silly, but it works!

Hope this helps! Anyone have additional advice?

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