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 Tongue/finger inconsistency & sore throat
Author: vitoclarinet 
Date:   2007-08-31 18:15

First of all, i would like to apologize for making a thread that's probably been already posted/discussed in the past. But the thing is, when I used the "search" button, I couldn't find what I was looking for... So, I decided to just make a new thread... hope it's not too annoying for some members...

Recently, I found myself tonguing the notes before fingering them. I tried to look for a practice exercise, anything that could help me fix this but it won't go away! It's really annoying, but I have no clue how to fix this problem. Any suggestions/advice?

And lastly, the sore throat problem- I've had this one for ages now it seems(since I started clarinet in elementary school). It comes and goes but I would like to fix this PERMANTELY. I think I know where the problem is coming from though- I think it's the lack of air support, and many times when I play the clarinet, I strain my throat instead of "straining" my stomach. I'm not trying to make an excuse here but sometimes I wonder it's because I never learned how to breathe properly. Maybe an excercise that would help me develop a bigger lung capacity as well as developing a strong air support would be nice. I've tried not to strain my throat but it seeems as though the more I think of it the more it hurts. So right now I'm not doing anything...

Well, thanks again for all your help! Your help is greately appreciated since I'm really on my own at the moment(don't have money to afford a private teacher...)


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 Re: Tongue/finger inconsistency & sore throat
Author: joeyscl 
Date:   2007-08-31 19:42

First Problem- See your teacher

Second Problem- See your teacher and doctor

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 Re: Tongue/finger inconsistency & sore throat
Author: C2thew 
Date:   2007-09-01 15:51

i still have the former problem that you stated. my teacher and other friends say that you have to finger the note before you play it. so if your going down the tone holes of the clarinet, play the note, then quickly finger your next note before you play it.

ditto on the doctor for your permanent fix of your throat.

Our inventions are wont to be pretty toys, which distract our attention from serious things. they are but improved means to an unimproved end, an end which was already but too easy to arrive as railroads lead to Boston to New York
-Walden; Henry Thoreau

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 Re: Tongue/finger inconsistency & sore throat
Author: EEBaum 
Date:   2007-09-01 17:09

For the tongue/fingers problem...

Your fingers are in charge. Period. Your tongue and breath should align to them.

However, if you're just thinking "now I'm on this note. Fingers in charge!" you're too late already. Thinking, reading, and looking ahead is essential. At any given point, you should already know what your fingers will be doing for the next few notes.

To get the time in your fingers, try this:

For a tricky 16th-note passage, play just the first of each grouping of 4, so you're playing quarters. Know exactly what your fingers have to do to get from each note to the next, and know as many notes ahead as you can.

Once you can do that well, add the upbeats, so you're playing 8th notes. Pay attention to what your fingers have to do to play the 8ths, but pay MORE attention to playing it just like you played the quarters, so the 8ths are just a bonus put in between.

Once you can do that well, add the other 16ths. You should still be primarily paying attention to what your fingers do to go from quarter to quarter, and be aware of 8th to 8th.


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 Re: Tongue/finger inconsistency & sore throat
Author: OmarHo 
Date:   2007-09-01 20:52

I've had this sore throat problem, and have come down the same road. One factor that could make your throat sore is your reed strength. If my reeds are too hard or just being broken in, I tend to tense up my throat to compensate for the additional resistance.

Secondly, your throat does need some "tension" to some extent in order to produce a good tone. Your throat cannot be too relaxed, as if you're yawning, but when you play, your throat should be just like how it is when you don't play your clarinet, except of course the only difference is that you have air in your oral cavity.

An exercise that I do sometimes is to relax my throat so much that I purposely make myself go flat. This probably works best in the upper clarion, like say a clarion G above the staff. You should go at least a quarter to a half tone flat.

Also, I think you're on the right track for using your abdominals more. Your throat has a pretty minimal role. For example, if you were to play a PP passage, then your abdominals will help that passage speak. However, instead of using my abdominals to do the job, I could easily tighten my throat (which could be what you're doing) and do this to, but it'll ache. So you may be getting the "roles" mixed up.

Another thing is that, make sure that you're tongue does the focusing of the air stream, not your throat.

I hope that helps!

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 Re: Tongue/finger inconsistency & sore throat
Author: Brenda 2017
Date:   2007-09-01 22:37

Ditto on the idea of strengthening abs! Pilates exercises or anything like these will strengthen the core muscles. Then they'll be there when you ask them to work. Just be sure to use the newer exercise instructions...over the years certain exercises have been found to actually cause undue strain on the back muscles.

Abe Galper taught a quick method to be aware of which muscles are involved in playing properly. Knowing this will help you to know which area needs the strengthening. He told students to lie on the floor, put a heavy book on the tummy, and raise and lower the book by breathing in and out. There's no strain on the throat, no raising of the shoulders either.

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 Re: Tongue/finger inconsistency & sore throat
Author: OmarHo 
Date:   2007-09-02 02:00

The book on the tummy exercise works well....if you do it properly. It's pretty easy to fool yourself in believing that you're breathing properly because the book is rising, but I can raise the book without even making the effort of breathing in.

Here's a good article by Martin Schuring on breathing:


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