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 Student who wants to major in clarinet needs some help
Author: Fabian 
Date:   2010-06-22 05:00

Ok, I'm 15 this year and I'd been playing clarinet since...july 2008. I inspire to become a professional clarinetist in the future and I'm training for it (I live in singapore.) In order to get a course in a college in singapore in 2012, I need to get grade 6 practical by the end of next year.

Recently, this year march, I took my grade 3 practical for the first time. Although I somewhat screwed my scales up, I got a distinction which surprised me. I'm taking my grade 4 practical later in the next ABRSM exam this year, and presumably grade 5 practical and definitely grade 6, along with grade 5 theory in either this or next year.

I think that I have serious trouble with myself in training. I always went by my flow, occasionally I could play for hours at end when practicing while sometimes I just couldn't bring myself to practice. I love the clarinet but it just happens. In order to be good, I need to work harder to correct my flaws (easily finger lag between fast notes and staccato).

I would like to know what are some tips and ways to do well to improve on finger lag between notes, especially those with awkward fingerings with no alternate (such as low F#, passages with fast Bflat/Bnatural to a low/high note). Also, one problem is that I experience slight lag whenever I play a note to B# because my fingers sometimes are slower and are unable to hit all buttons uniformly and it screws my scales.

Secondly, although I've long mastered my crossing of the break, I always have a slight "break" whenever playing scales that involving Bb. Is there a way to improve this?

I decided in my life that I want to succeed in my clarinet, and I will do so now. I hope the seniors in this board can give me advice and how I can do this well. Thank you

- Fabian

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 Re: Student who wants to major in clarinet needs some help
Author: Franklin Liao 
Date:   2010-06-22 06:25

Hmm. I am perfectly happy with using equipments to alleviate some of the issues with certain passages. I am personally looking at Eb Left hand lever hard to reduce my pinkies caught in a pinch. (I am horrible and does not always pre-plan things.

Fabian, feel free to fill us in on details such as what equipment you use, any methods that you currently are studying out of, what kind of an environment your school is like and so forth. It might come in handy to address some of the other points that you are looking for advice on.

One thing that immediately comes to my mind is that you should seek out Thomas Ridenour's youtube videos on things Clarinet, where he addresses not only on inefficient finger position, but going as far as to educate the viewers on his design philosophy over the physical instrument itself.

By the way Fabian, how supportive is your family with your endeavor? I know it may not fall directly with the scope of the questions posed, but it serves some good in looking at matters of practice regime, capital investment needed for this craft and so forth.

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 Re: Student who wants to major in clarinet needs some help
Author: Fabian 
Date:   2010-06-22 06:50

Thanks for taking the time to voice your opinions

I am currently using a setup which people would definitely say is definitely suitable for me right now. I'm using a Buffet Crampon E11 Silver wooden clarinet, with Vandoren M13Lyre. For my ligature, I was using a Rovner Eddie Daniels II ligature but yesterday upon reading the book "Clarinet and clarinet playing" by David Pino, I started trying out a string ligature. I use tradition vandoren reeds at 3/3.5size reed.

So far in this aspect of ligature, the string ligature is definitely working out for me good but I still do not know if it is suitable for me in the long run. It is definitely more responsive using my new string ligature, but it is harder to achieve concise staccato and altimisso notes...........but for now I'm just trying it out to see which one i prefer.

In singapore, I'm currently in secondary school (or middle-high/high-school) which is before college. I take clarinet outside through a music centre, and my teacher is there. My teacher is a freelance musicteacher/photographer. I'm very happy with him and I'm sure he would be able to guide me through grade 8...For now, each lesson is 30mins-40mins a week. I selflearn my theory at home and currently grade 4, having a little trouble with intervals (like perfect etc) and time signature conversion. But that's all and I'm all ready for grade five.

My family is generally acceptable with my clarinet learning but all of them wants me to study well for my national exam which is next year......which is also a issue because it'll be more stress for me during that year and I have to cope with grade 5 and 6 practical too. But i don't have a choice anyway.

I admit, I'm not someone who can do the same thing for long periods of times. Usually i play for 30mins at one day when starting but now I've started an hour, before leaving the clarinet alone for several hours before picking it up, therefore making my daily practice adding to 2 hours + nowadays as I need to buck up on practice but I usually find it tiring after an hour of practice.

If theres anything hard about this...it's about finding the motivation. I'm not in a band (i used to be), none of my friends my age have any definite plan on their future career like I do...It's like walking a path alone.

I'll check the videos up now and such. (:

- Fabian

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 Re: Student who wants to major in clarinet needs some help
Author: clarionet 
Date:   2010-06-22 08:39

There are some LSO masterclasses available on youtube and if you google for clarinet masterclasses online you get some interesting results.

Good luck. P.S. Do you want to go to the Singapore conservatory? The great thing about it is that anyone who gets admitted does not have to pay anything at all! (applicable to students from Asia).

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 Re: Student who wants to major in clarinet needs some help
Author: Fabian 
Date:   2010-06-22 13:21

Yes, there is a university (NUS) with music performance courses. I think it's free if you manage to get the scholarship but I'm not too sure yet. I'm thinking overseas

Thank you all your opinions

- Fabian

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