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 playing in the morning
Author: bahamutofskycon 
Date:   2007-09-04 21:52

Hi all -

I'm not much of a practicer in the mornings - fingers are sluggish, chops are stiff, tongue slow, air column not flowing properly, tone a little edgey. I'm just not awake yet.

What do you do to get going when you have to play clarinet in the morning (other than drinking a cup of coffee and just sucking it up)? Any special stretches, exercises or warm up routines that help you get limbered up and ready to play and sound at or close to your peak?

I find that my current schedule requires that I practice in the morning now (within the first 2 hours of waking up) and I'm having a little bit of trouble adjusting. In the past I've always practiced mostly after noon.

Any advice or general conversation on the topic would be appreciated.

Steve Ballas

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 Re: playing in the morning
Author: MichaelR 
Date:   2007-09-04 22:03

As a morning person (never use an alarm, awake by 5:00 consistently, full of life from the waking moment, am up and about for a couple of hours before having a cup of coffee) I don't share your problem.

Keep at it, you'll acclimate.

My problem with morning practice is my wife is still asleep. I wish I could practice without disturbing her. In our small house that's just not possible.

Michael of Portland, OR
Be Appropriate and Follow Your Curiosity

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 Re: playing in the morning
Author: Pam H. 
Date:   2007-09-04 22:43

I'd love to practice in the morning. But alas, I work days and practice, rehearsals and lessons are relegated to evenings. But thanks to the day job I have the money for all the aforementioned stuff.

Really, I only play early on Sunday morning at church and that is a time I relish so I've never had a problem with it.

I think you will get used to it.

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 Re: playing in the morning
Author: johng 2017
Date:   2007-09-04 22:44

Well, there is the coffee of course. If my hands feel stiff before I play, I put on athletic wrist bands, the cotton kind that are used as sweat bands. These have the effect of warming and loosening my fingers and wrists.

John Gibson, Founder of JB Linear Music, www.music4woodwinds.com

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 Re: playing in the morning
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2007-09-04 23:28

I'd love to practice in the morning, but at 2am I doubt the neighbours will appreciate it all that much!


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 Re: playing in the morning
Author: MichaelR 
Date:   2007-09-06 17:52

Chris P wrote:
> I'd love to practice in the morning, but at 2am I doubt the
> neighbours will appreciate it all that much!

What's special about 2am? Chris you know morning extends for a few hours on either side of that time.

It would be nice though.

Michael of Portland, OR
Be Appropriate and Follow Your Curiosity

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 Re: playing in the morning
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2007-09-06 18:22

2am seems to be the time when I'm most alert (and when my concentration is at it's best), though 6am is when I'm sluggish - my body clock is way out with GMT. This is why the 9to5 doesn't suit me.

But I was in sync with time when I was out in the US, waking up around 7am which is a record, though that only lasted while I was out there - but as soon as I was back in the UK I lapsed.

I do get in sync from time to time, but I think I need a 30 hour day for it to be feasable, though with only 24 hours that's not possible.


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 Re: playing in the morning
Author: D Dow 
Date:   2007-09-06 18:58

I have always found morning practice to be the most productive..I am always far more aware in the morning of what is going on and feel its a great time of the day to practice privately.

I also think the key to getting the most out the clarinet is to practice daily and in the morning....c# minor in thirds in the morning does wonders for the tecnique.

David Dow

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 Re: playing in the morning
Author: Rhythmacres 
Date:   2007-09-16 18:52

It seems that only morning people have answered you, so as one who is reluctant to get up every morning, I will give you some hints about my 1 1/2 hour wake-up routine, which, even with osteoarthritis, usually gets me ready for anything--

Get a minimum of 9 hours of sleep.

Get up slowly and carefully.
Drink coffee and think about things.
Do about 1/2 hour of stretches. I have worked with a physical therapist and a trigger-point therapist to work out a routine that suits my body. You have to learn how to stretch so as not to injure yourself.

Fix breakfast and lunch.

Go for a swim.

Go to work (music lessons).

If I could practice right after the stretches, I'd have good practice sessions every day. Also, I stretch throughout the day. (I use Ichiro Suzuki as my inspiration for that.) There's a fantastic book by Bob Anderson called "Stretching". I once discussed with him the possibility of writing a book on stretching for musicians. He suggested I talk to a therapist about it, and that's what got me into trigger-point. My TP therapist and I were serious about pursuing it, but we just couldn't get "on the same page" about it. But I sure learned a lot.

I also have a paraffin bath for my hands which I use every day.

I have been known to be able to perform at early morning church services on occasion, and I accomplish this by taking melatonin very early the night before, say 12 hours before I have to be there. I still have the groggs but am able to get through the performance fine.

That's all I can think of for now. Hope it's helpful. SC

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 Re: playing in the morning
Author: pelo_ensortijado 
Date:   2007-09-16 22:00

i hate to go up in the morning, but that is the best time for learning, and so i have some strict routines that i follow everyday after breakfast, when i get to the practicerooms:

1. lie down on the floor. put the metronome on 60 bpm. breath VERY heavily, put as much resistance in the in AND outgoing air as possible to make it hard to breath. do in 2, out 2 for a while. then change to in 1, out 3 and after a minute or three, in a half and out 3 beats! this takes around 8 minutes!

2. stretch, or atleast move around all your limbs and muscles and stuff so they "wake up". do this in a moderatoish tempo. steady! not doing any harmful movements. your still just waked up remember! :P do this for about 3-4 min.

3. SING. use your ears. get the air flowing. only FF. pretend you are a great operasinger! sing scales, common singingwarmups, songs, make your diafragm-muscles feel some pain!
this one, i can do all day. but stop at about 15-20 min, or when your neighbours are screaming they cant stand it anymore!

4. now you are ready for the clarinet. alert and with a sharped mind! take it out of the box. assambly it with love. look and se if there is anything wrong, maybe clean it, kiss it, tickle it to make it laugh... no. :P not really.
but to take some time to go over the day. get your thoughts together. put up the daily practiceschedual.
(all this is really because one have to rest from the previous excercises!) = 2 min tops!!!

5. start with a scaleexcercise that does involves both legato and staccatto. exaggerate the staccatos extreamly to get the tongue awake. this will, if done over the whole range, take about half an hour. start at a low tempo. its not very polite to rush someone who is sleepy. :P i usually do it in about 60bpm

6. put the metronome at 55 bpm. start at low e and play the e in 4 beats, f in 4 beats. f#, g, and a final beat at the g#. the air is suppose to be out at the g#. :D then start at g# and work up to c. from c to e. and so on upwards! and then down again to the low e. i need about a 4-6 beat break between each "set" or else i wont make it! use as warm air as possible. that makes it alot worse! :P this can go on for ever. but about 20 min. then im out for a while.

now one can take a 15 min break and after that one are ready to start with the normal daily excercises and routines and so on...

its boring. but very helpful for the sleepy ones like myself! :D

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 Re: playing in the morning
Author: William 
Date:   2007-09-17 14:45

Get a dog--then, you will HAVE to be a morning person. After feeding and a short walk for "you know what," then you will be ready for the clarinet.

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 Re: playing in the morning
Author: skygardener 
Date:   2007-09-17 15:37

I have reciently started practicing a bit before work as I am often to exhausted after. I just drink a bunch'a coffee.

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 Re: playing in the morning
Author: ChrisArcand 
Date:   2007-09-17 15:55

"Get a dog--then, you will HAVE to be a morning person. After feeding and a short walk for "you know what," then you will be ready for the clarinet"

HAH! So true. That's the best advice I think, although I only say this because I know the dog wakes up so early from living at home with the family.

Me? Well, once mid-morning hits the practice rooms are packed, which forces me to get up in the morning.

If you aren't going to school? Then pretend I guess.


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