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 Fuzzy tone once again...
Author: OmniClarinet314 
Date:   2017-11-14 04:24

Hello all,

I've recently switched from a Gigliotti P34 mouthpiece to a Vandoren M15 mouthpiece, and switched from BlackMaster Reeds to Vandoren V12 reeds. I'm playing on V12 4s, but I keep getting a fuzzy tone. It's also hard for me to blow into the clarinet. Before, I used to play on V12 3.5s, but those are too thin according to my teacher. I don't know what the problem is. Should I use V12 3.5+ reeds? I've spent so much money on reeds, but I can't find a favorite.
FYI, I play on a Ridenour 576bc Clarinet with a Rovner Versa ligature.



Post Edited (2017-11-14 04:28)

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 Re: Fuzzy tone once again...
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2017-11-14 04:42

Maybe a pad is leaking? Can you make a recording and post it?

STEUER REEDS Importer played by Sabine Meyer

NEWLY DESIGNED "Vintage 1940 Cicero" Mouthpieces

Yamaha Artist




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 Re: Fuzzy tone once again...
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2017-11-14 04:59

OmniClarinet314 wrote:

> Before, I used to play on V12 3.5s, but those are too thin
> according to my teacher. I don't know what the problem is.

But, if your teacher is competent, *he/she* should have some idea what the problem is or, at least, be able to guide you toward figuring it out. Just telling you that #3.5s are too thin and leaving it there seems inadequate. Your teacher has your clarinet within physical reach to check for mechanical issues (unlike anyone here) and can hear what the result of all your reed and mouthpiece experiments is.

Does your teacher think #4s sound fuzzy when you play on them? What does *(s)he* think about how you sound on #3.5+ (the only way to find out is to buy a box and try them)?

What does (s)he say about the P34 vs. the M15? The M15 is more open-tipped but longer-curved (assuming neither has been refaced). My own experience says that the M15 will need a little softer a reed than the Gigliotti, but on the other hand, I gave up using Gigliotti mouthpieces because I found them to be not very reed-friendly, which the M15 should be if you find the right strength.

I don't completely understand why you seem so puzzled that you need to ask here when you have a teacher to whom you are presumably paying good money and who hears you live and has access to your equipment to troubleshoot it in person.

Karl

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 Re: Fuzzy tone once again...
Author: OmniClarinet314 
Date:   2017-11-14 05:07

I forgot to mention that I take Skype lessons from him, so he can't really look at my clarinet in person.

I guess I have to figure it out on my own. Thanks all.

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 Re: Fuzzy tone once again...
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2017-11-14 06:31

You don't have to figure it out on your own - Record something. Most likely within 5 seconds some of us will know what your problem is. If you have video that would help even more.

The word fuzzy can mean a lot of things. And I mean a lot! From leaky pads to embouchure issues to bad reeds, to a bad mouthpiece. Chances are it is something with the actual horn since it is doing this on 2 different mouthpieces.

Maybe the horn is fine and the cork on the joints are not tight enough.

Give us a chance. There are some amazing players and techs here.

STEUER REEDS Importer played by Sabine Meyer

NEWLY DESIGNED "Vintage 1940 Cicero" Mouthpieces

Yamaha Artist




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 Re: Fuzzy tone once again...
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2017-11-14 06:59

OmniClarinet314 wrote:

> I guess I have to figure it out on my own. Thanks all.

I didn't mean to criticize you for asking your questions here. I was sloppy in the way I worded my last post. I'm actually disturbed that your teacher isn't being more helpful to you. This is my main complaint about Skype lessons. The teacher doesn't hear you as an in-person teacher would and he has only what he does hear over a relatively low quality connection to guide his advice.

Bob's suggestion could be useful to you. I'm not sure that it wouldn't be sort of like having Skype lessons with each member of the BBoard. The transmission quality mightn't be much different between your Skype connection and recorded video that you might post here.

Experimenting on your own would eventually turn up a solution if you define your problem as fuzzy tone with V.12 #4s and too thin tone with #3.5s. But if your real problem is in the instrument or in your approach to producing a sound, you may go down a lot of rabbit holes before you finally find something useful. So, if your teacher can't at least clarify the problem, maybe someone here can. But it would take hearing some example of what you're describing, which, as Bob suggests, would mean submitting a link to a recording of your playing.

Meanwhile, buy a box of #3.5+ V.12s or 56 Rue Lepic to compare with the #3.5s and #4s you've already tried.

Karl

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 Re: Fuzzy tone once again...
Author: zhangray4 
Date:   2017-11-14 07:08

Just last week, I felt my sound get fuzzy and the reed feel stuffy. So I put my V12 3.5+ reeds aside and tried the Rue Lepic of the same strength. According to the strength comparison, its slightly softer. Right now, in a box of 10, I can get 6 good ones.

Try switching the reed first is my point. Maybe you need a reed that is just slightly softer than what you are on now, and Google clarinet reed strength comparison charts to find reeds that are slightly softer. Now the cut of the reed will change, but hopefully it won't affect too much. And if one doesn't work, try another. I'm thinking its mostly due to the 3.5 is too soft for you (or as your teacher says) and the 4 is too hard for you now.

And for V12 reeds, they have 3.5+. Why not try them? They're somewhere between 3.5 and 4...

-- Ray Zhang
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"The point is not to take the world's opinion as a guiding star but to go one's way in life and working unerringly, neither depressed by failure nor seduced by applause."
-- Gustav Mahler

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 Re: Fuzzy tone once again...
Author: Musikat 
Date:   2017-11-14 07:38

I have noticed a huge difference in purity of my tone from changing from V12 4 and 3.5+ to Aria 4's. They run a bit soft, but play much more freely and hold their strength for the high notes. V12 3.5 sounded like a too soft reed for me, which may be what your teacher is saying when they call them "too thin." They are $25 a box and possibly worth a try.

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 Re: Fuzzy tone once again...
Author: OmniClarinet314 
Date:   2017-11-14 08:35

I'll post a recording tomorrow. I'll try out some of the suggestions here. Thanks.

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 Re: Fuzzy tone once again...
Author: OmniClarinet314 
Date:   2017-11-15 04:11

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VYeaXFmSE9Q&feature=youtu.be

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 Re: Fuzzy tone once again...
Author: OmniClarinet314 
Date:   2017-11-15 04:13

To be honest, it doesn't sound all that fuzzy. However, my teacher told me that my tone quality is not that great. Anyone agree?



Post Edited (2017-11-15 04:14)

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 Re: Fuzzy tone once again...
Author: echi85 
Date:   2017-11-15 04:39

It doesn't really sound fuzzy, it sounds spread. The vowel shape of the sound is more towards the "Oh" camp vs the "Eee" camp. Most players in the states play towards an "Eee" shape. Personally, it sounds like you need to either tighten up the corners of your embouchure or raise your tongue position.

I play an M15 style mouthpiece in my recordings of the same etude using Legere European Cut, strength 4 reeds.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JIl6YqgNVQg

The cost per reed is high but they are very durable. I've gotten 6-8 months with regular rotation.

If you must play cane, I think 3.5+ reeds are the way to go. Personally, I've had more success with traditional style reeds vs V12 with that style of mouthpiece. You may want to look into D'addario Reserve (not classic) 3.5+ reeds. My students have had good success pairing those reeds with an M15.

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 Re: Fuzzy tone once again...
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2017-11-15 08:57

The reed sounds too hard and the mouthpiece seems too bright. I do NOT hear a fuzzy sound.

I don't care what reeds you play on but remember all D'addario/Rico reeds have pesticides on them. I don't understand why they use pesticides but every reed has pesticides on them. Not one or 2 per box, but everyone of them. Sometimes the reeds get 2 or 3 doses of pesticides! Can you believe this? I worked there and got pretty sick. You may get really sick too. Player of course can do whatever they wish, but you have choices. Take advantage of the other great reeds. You may feel a lot different physically and mentally.

To obtain a nice sound we all have to go back to basics which are playing low notes, long tones. Start with low E, p<f>p then F, F#, G, G#. each note should be about 30 seconds. Listen to what sounds best. soft to forte or the forte to p, then why? Then correct it and try it again and again until you pass your efforts. Spend about 20 to 30 minutes working on just these notes. So the idea is to always sound great all of the time when playing these few notes and improve all of the time. If you mess up and just skip it and go to the next note your sound will stay the same. We are looking for perfection.

This is really one of the best ways to get a decent sound which will follow you the rest of your life.

Next month post what you've done. I'd like to hear your sound again.

Can you do this?

STEUER REEDS Importer played by Sabine Meyer

NEWLY DESIGNED "Vintage 1940 Cicero" Mouthpieces

Yamaha Artist




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 Re: Fuzzy tone once again...
Author: zhangray4 
Date:   2017-11-16 03:11

I personally believe the sound is not stuffy or fuzzy. But I think it's a little too edgy. Especially the high notes, which pops out too much. It could be that the reed is too hard and you can't control your sound as well, I'm not sure. Maybe a little bright as well, but I think the biggest issue is the edginess. I would prefer a rounder sound for the altissimo notes.

That's my opinion, but in the end, you need to play however you want to sound. No one should tell you how you should sound.

-- Ray Zhang
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"The point is not to take the world's opinion as a guiding star but to go one's way in life and working unerringly, neither depressed by failure nor seduced by applause."
-- Gustav Mahler

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 Re: Fuzzy tone once again...
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2017-11-16 03:43

Is this clip with a #4 V.12 or a #3.5?

Karl

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 Re: Fuzzy tone once again...
Author: OmniClarinet314 
Date:   2017-11-16 07:43

It's with a Vandoren traditional 3.5.

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 Re: Fuzzy tone once again...
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2017-11-16 11:33

OmniClarinet314 wrote:

> It's with a Vandoren traditional 3.5.

So, that isn't the reed you thought sounded "fuzzy." That's what your teacher said sounded "too thin." I wonder, did he man that the *sound* seemed thin or that the *reed* seemed to be too thin (weak or light)?

There is a little scoop in one of the upward leaps near the end that might indicate the reed is a little soft, but overall I think the sound is consistent and, for the specific excerpt, not inappropriate, and you sound comfortable. It would be interesting to hear something slower and more legato with more varied dynamics and also something with more articulation.

It would be worthwhile to try a box of 3.5+ 56 Rue or V.12 ("traditional" doesn't come that finely graded) just to find out if you like them better or not. If you hear a fuzzy sound with #4s, if they feel stuffy, then they're too hard. Keep in mind that any box of reeds contains a range of strengths.

Karl

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 Re: Fuzzy tone once again...
Author: OmniClarinet314 
Date:   2017-11-17 22:46

He meant that the reed is too thin, and that it interferes with optimal breathing.
I’ve tried 3.5+ V12s, but, so far, they seemed too hard for me. It’s hard to blow into the clarinet with them.

I will post another recording playing a part of the TMEA slow etude.

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 Re: Fuzzy tone once again...
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2017-11-17 23:39

OmniClarinet314 wrote:

> He meant that the reed is too thin, and that it interferes with
> optimal breathing.

I'm having a hard time avoiding a feeling of antipathy for this teacher - I'm trying, but it gets harder with each of your posts. I have no idea how a "thin" reed interferes with optimal breathing. I'm not even sure what "optimal breathing" is, since breathing to produce a sound on an instrument is to a degree context-dependent.

Of course, reeds don't come (from most manufacturers I know about) thin and thick, except that some are cut from thicker blanks (V.12, 56 Rue, Grand Concert Thick Blank, etc.). Vandoren Traditionals are cut from "thin" blanks, but the blanks for #3.5 are the same thickness as the ones for #4s. All the V.12s are made from thicker blanks than VD Traditionals.

I suppose he meant the reed sounded too soft. But what about the sound made him say that?

He may have a perfectly valid point (though I don't think I hear it in your excerpt), but if I don't understand what he means, I wonder whether you do or not. If you don't completely understand what he's telling you, he should be able to clarify so you *do* understand.

Karl

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 Re: Fuzzy tone once again...
Author: OmniClarinet314 
Date:   2017-11-18 01:00

Well, he did not explain it fully in email so I know little of it. He only said that the reed strength is making me blow in ways that are detrimental to tone quality. I believe we will emphasize on this in our next lesson.

The next recording will be on a Traditional Vandoren 3.5.

I’m very bad at explaining things, so let me know if you need more detail.

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 Re: Fuzzy tone once again...
Author: OmniClarinet314 
Date:   2017-11-18 02:23

Here is the recording with a Traditional Vandoren 3.5:

https://youtu.be/a9Uev4Fz578

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 Re: Fuzzy tone once again...
Author: OmniClarinet314 
Date:   2017-11-19 09:44

Epic silence.

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 Re: Fuzzy tone once again...
Author: zhangray4 
Date:   2017-11-19 10:09

I listened to it a few days ago but I wanted to listen to a few other people comment before I do. Since none commented I will.

In both recordings you said the reed used were 3.5 VD Traditionals, but are you using the same reed? If it's the same mouthpiece as well, I don't know what to say. the first video and the second video sound completely different. In the 2nd one, the fuzziness becomes obvious, while the 1st video sounded actually too edgy almost, no fuzziness at all

The fuzzy sound would make sense if you are using an open mouthpiece like a B45, but the M15 is very closed. Do you feel like you are biting? try not using as much "jaw pressure" to clamp the reed but instead use form an embouchure that makes your lips (especially lower lip) stretched and tight. Maybe that will make the sound clearer. Don't worry about the pitch dropping, cause a shorter barrel can probably fix that, or maybe voicing.

So first, focus on getting a clear sound by not using "jaw pressure" to clamp down on the reed. then tighten up the lips, lower lip especially so that when your hands poke it, the lip doesn't feel squishy. It should feel stretched. Record what happens when you follow those tips. If the pitch drops, don't worry about it for now. Let's tackle one problem at a time.

Best,

-- Ray Zhang
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"The point is not to take the world's opinion as a guiding star but to go one's way in life and working unerringly, neither depressed by failure nor seduced by applause."
-- Gustav Mahler

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 Re: Fuzzy tone once again...
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2017-11-19 20:49

OK - The reeds are surely different. Very typical with Vandoren. Out of a box of reeds 2 may play well 3 may be fine for practicing the rest probably actually do harm to your playing. This means that the reeds are screwing up your embouchure. Please remember this. Bad reeds can cause stinky embouchures.

So I go back to my post above, but you didn't respond to it and maybe you think it is wrong. But to get a great sound players have to do the long tones everyday. It's boring, but after years of this you will have the best sound around.

You are NOT breathing correctly. So we have 2 issues, the reeds and your breathing. One can begin to be fixed now and that is your breathing. The reeds won't ever get better, in fact they've gotten worse through the years. 40 years ago finding decent reeds was a lot easier. Now you get 2 excellent reeds per box of Vandorens on the average. Yes this sucks. But you can learn how to adjust reeds using reed knives, sandpaper, and get a book by Fred Ormand about adjusting reeds. You may be able to save a few more reeds per box. At first you will wreck some reeds, but that's part of the learning curve. Tell Fred that I sent you. Maybe he will give you a student discount. or pay for shipping, something like that. You can also play over the phone for him, maybe he will advise you. One of the finest teachers ever. Probably half of the symphony orchestra members in the USA studied with Fred at one point.

STEUER REEDS Importer played by Sabine Meyer

NEWLY DESIGNED "Vintage 1940 Cicero" Mouthpieces

Yamaha Artist




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 Re: Fuzzy tone once again...
Author: OmniClarinet314 
Date:   2017-11-19 21:18

Bob Bernardo - I forgot to reply to your post, but I'm considering changing my breathing and doing the long tone exercises. I'll make another recording after I make these adjustments. Thanks for the reed tips.

zhangray4 - I'll post a recording later after I make the adjustments. Thank you.

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 Re: Fuzzy tone once again...
Author: OmniClarinet314 
Date:   2017-11-20 03:20

I can't find one good reed. So annoying.

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 Re: Fuzzy tone once again...
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2017-11-20 04:05

OmniClarinet314

Hi - send me your name and address and I'll send some sample reeds to you at no charge. Probably about 10. These will all play about the same as I will adjust them and make sure they are fine reeds.

Let's get you going and make music fun for you.

savagesax@aol.com

STEUER REEDS Importer played by Sabine Meyer

NEWLY DESIGNED "Vintage 1940 Cicero" Mouthpieces

Yamaha Artist




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 Re: Fuzzy tone once again...
Author: OmniClarinet314 
Date:   2017-11-20 05:13

Sent you an email.

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 Re: Fuzzy tone once again...
Author: OmniClarinet314 
Date:   2017-11-25 05:18

My open G is out of tune (extremely flat) due to a key being loose. I should have it fixed by next Monday.

Here is another recording of me playing the Rose Etude 18 using a Traditional Vandoren 3.5:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZU4z-6n3ATA&feature=youtu.be

It's a new reed.



Post Edited (2017-11-25 05:39)

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 Re: Fuzzy tone once again...
Author: zhangray4 
Date:   2017-11-25 08:29

Its hard to give feedback when you're using a new reed. To me the reed sounds hard. It seems like you're clamping down, or biting down, on the mouthpiece and reed too much in an attempt to get rid of the "fuzzy" sound.

I just finished recording my college audition materials. First started with a slightly harder reed since it gave me a rounder sound. Soon however, I changed reeds. The slightly harder reed sounded great when playing loud, but when I was trying to play soft, the fuzzy sound is always there. And since I'm not trying to perform in a big hall but just in front of a camera, the fuzzy sound from playing soft was not helping me at all. And I had to tighten my lips/embouchure a lot. So what did I do? I got a softer reed. Boom, I could play at any dynamic I wanted to without any fuzzy sound. Now if I were playing in huge hall, I would probably use the harder reed.

But if you have a serious issue of biting, it will become a very obvious problem on the softer reeds. You shouldn't bite at all ideally, but on a softer reed, it is much easier to bite. But if you play on softer reeds, the problem should go away hopefully. You just need to not bite.

You are also using a VD M15 mouthpiece. If you bite way too much on them in particular, you will choke the reed off, since the tip opening is so narrow. You CANNOT afford to bite at all with your setup. So get some lighter reeds and don't bite.

The reason I think you are using too hard reeds is because you say that you open a box of Vandorens and often get none of them that will play. I know Vandorens are inconsistent, but.... If your whole box (or several boxes) is full of "bad" reeds, then you're using the wrong strength reeds.

-- Ray Zhang
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"The point is not to take the world's opinion as a guiding star but to go one's way in life and working unerringly, neither depressed by failure nor seduced by applause."
-- Gustav Mahler

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 Re: Fuzzy tone once again...
Author: OmniClarinet314 
Date:   2017-12-06 07:54

Welp. I'm losing motivation for the clarinet. I can't seem to get any better. It seems that I always return to block 1, and I still did not get the reeds from Bob Bernardo. Am I really this unlikable? Anyway, thanks for trying to help me out everyone.



Post Edited (2017-12-06 07:55)

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 Re: Fuzzy tone once again...
Author: zhangray4 
Date:   2017-12-06 08:56

Bob is a busy man. Why not try sending him an email with your shipping address? Or texting him? I just had a lovely conversation with him today over text message in fact.

I think I gave you some advice, but it is always very hard to help you over the internet. I can't see what you are doing, and what you sound in recordings may not be what you sound like up close.

Do not lose hope playing the clarinet. I had a tough day as well today. Got a concert tomorrow and couldn't find any good reeds, since my teacher has been forcing me to use Vandoren products. So the Steuers, my real favorite reed, got a little too hard for me while I have been using those Vandorens. Lucky was able to find one soft enough for tomorrow. Then my mouthpiece and barrel combo makes me too flat and I have some solos tomorrow for the First Suite in Eb. Still not sure what I'll do tomorrow.

We musicians all have times of depression in which we want to quit. I've had those times. I'm always here if you need me. Here's my email: zhangray4@gmail.com, and my number is (858) 366-5081. It is much easier to communicate with people via email or text. I love helping people out, and I wish people in my band would come to me to ask for help sometimes. But they don't. I guess I can spend the time giving you some advice and tips.

Looking forward in keeping contact with you. Go break a reed!

-- Ray Zhang
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"The point is not to take the world's opinion as a guiding star but to go one's way in life and working unerringly, neither depressed by failure nor seduced by applause."
-- Gustav Mahler

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 Re: Fuzzy tone once again...
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2017-12-06 17:59

OmniClarinet314 wrote:

> Welp. I'm losing motivation for the clarinet. I can't seem to
> get any better. It seems that I always return to block 1, and I
> still did not get the reeds from Bob Bernardo.

However competent your Skype-based teacher is, the arrangement is not working for you. The whole point of taking lessons is to get help in improving. You're spending time and money and by your report, at least, not benefitting. IMO, this is a serious problem with Skype lessons in general. The medium imposes too many limits on the interactive parts of the relationship. For an advanced student who primarily needs musical coaching, it may be much more useful. For someone struggling with basic technical issues, having a teacher who can see and hear you in person (without the possibility of distortion or interference from digital artifacts or transmission inadequacy) and who can play or physically check your clarinet, mouthpiece, reeds, etc. to ferret out any equipment-based issues is, IMO, important. Also, an in-person teacher can much more easily provide a model by demonstrating, especially where basic issues like tone production are involved.

Your discouragement is understandable, but (always IMO) you'd have a much better chance of improving if you could find a teacher to give you lessons in person. I don't knw where you live, but you would be well-served, I think, to make a concerted effort to find a teacher within a reasonable drive from your home. Before you give it up, I'd recommend trying to change your study conditions to see if you can make more progress off-line.

Karl

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 Re: Fuzzy tone once again...
Author: OmniClarinet314 
Date:   2017-12-06 18:40

kdk wrote:

> OmniClarinet314 wrote:
>
> > Welp. I'm losing motivation for the clarinet. I can't seem to
> > get any better. It seems that I always return to block 1, and
> I
> > still did not get the reeds from Bob Bernardo.
>
> However competent your Skype-based teacher is, the arrangement
> is not working for you. The whole point of taking lessons is to
> get help in improving. You're spending time and money and by
> your report, at least, not benefitting. IMO, this is a serious
> problem with Skype lessons in general. The medium imposes too
> many limits on the interactive parts of the relationship. For
> an advanced student who primarily needs musical coaching, it
> may be much more useful. For someone struggling with basic
> technical issues, having a teacher who can see and hear you in
> person (without the possibility of distortion or interference
> from digital artifacts or transmission inadequacy) and who can
> play or physically check your clarinet, mouthpiece, reeds, etc.
> to ferret out any equipment-based issues is, IMO, important.
> Also, an in-person teacher can much more easily provide a model
> by demonstrating, especially where basic issues like tone
> production are involved.
>
> Your discouragement is understandable, but (always IMO) you'd
> have a much better chance of improving if you could find a
> teacher to give you lessons in person. I don't knw where you
> live, but you would be well-served, I think, to make a
> concerted effort to find a teacher within a reasonable drive
> from your home. Before you give it up, I'd recommend trying to
> change your study conditions to see if you can make more
> progress off-line.
>
> Karl

Thanks Ray. I’ll contact you whenever I need help.

kdk, have you listened to my recordings on this thread? I would like to know if my tone quality is good enough to make TMEA All-State in TX or All-State in any state.

It’s hard to find a good teacher who has a history of having All-State students in my area, but I’m trying.



Post Edited (2017-12-06 18:41)

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 Re: Fuzzy tone once again...
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2017-12-06 20:00

OmniClarinet314 wrote:

> kdk, have you listened to my recordings on this thread? I would
> like to know if my tone quality is good enough to make TMEA
> All-State in TX or All-State in any state.
>
> It’s hard to find a good teacher who has a history of having
> All-State students in my area, but I’m trying.
>

Yes, I've listened to the recordings. I'm not a judge or a teacher in the Texas system and have no idea what the competition level is or how well you need to play. With that very strong caveat, my knee-jerk reaction based on your recordings is that you certainly should be competitive. Whether or not you'll make the band depends on who else is auditioning.

As far as finding a teacher "who has a history of having All-State students in my area" is concerned, I think you're focusing on the wrong goal. Very good players make All-State bands (and orchestras). Students who become very good players are able to compete for places in those bands. An aspiring student's goal should be to become a very good or excellent player, the best player he can become. Making All-State is one possible consequence. But it isn't in itself the goal. I have taught All-State level students here in Pennsylvania. Making All-State was never an explicit part of their lesson routine. When they made it into All-State (our audition procedure is different from yours) it was one event among many that opened to them as they improved and became better and better *musicians.*

In my own personal opinion, based on the recordings and perhaps counter to the thoughts of others in this discussion, you're too mono-focused on tone quality and All-State and it's keeping you from (a) enjoying music for itself and (b) exploring your approach to the music you're playing. Worse (IMO), you've reduced the tone issue to what strength reed you should use and which one pleases your Skype teacher more. Decide what reed brand and strength is *comfortable* - allows you to play without struggling - and then just play on it. You'll get much farther with a well controlled tone, well regulated fingers and accurate rhythm. If you can't play comfortably, it's the wrong reed strength. You need to get away from playing reeds and pay attention to playing music. The chips (or audition results) will fall based on your overall performance.

Karl

Reply To Message
 
 Re: Fuzzy tone once again...
Author: echi85 
Date:   2017-12-06 21:16

I've taught about a dozen TMEA all-state students in the past few years. I myself did very well in the system when I was in high school. I'd like to think that I have a good understanding of how the system works.

Play the etudes fast and play them clean. These auditions are really about not making mistakes more than about trying to play beautifully. It's unfortunate, but the students who make all-state all have solid technique even if other parts of their playing are lacking.

It's important to understand that the people judging these auditions are not ideal. They are almost all band directors. Sometimes they don't even play the instrument they are judging. You have to play in a way that is hard to criticize.

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 Re: Fuzzy tone once again...
Author: ClarinetRobt 
Date:   2017-12-07 02:44

Echi85 is exactly right...

I too have had much success with Texas' system, plus logged too many hours judging for district/region/area. Yes, usually these panels are filled with band directors that were forced to judge because there are so many clarinet players and they needed bodies to fill the panels.

I agree with Echi85 strategies. With a generic band director judging they will only know what sounds impressive. So yes, clean, quick technique will always win the day. (I suspect this is true throughout the USA). Clean technique is always preferred over fast slop any day. I don't care who's judging. It's always disheartening to hear a fine player play too fast for their ability and shoot them self in the foot.
Of course you'll need to have a characteristic clarinet sound. Sounding like a sax or oboe will not do you any favors....but you'd still probably do well at district/region...doubt you'd make state though.

So here's the rub, I've sat on panels were band directors punished a student for 'adding' to the music. God forbid they do something musical and think out side of the box. So I'd tell a student do at least what's on the page and always exaggerate those markings. So few students to any recognizable dynamics that I'm always thrilled to have musical kid. (I've had teachers ask me to judge a certain class because they knew their student played musical and I'd reward the kid with a higher placement. So never deny there's strategy by some band directors.)

If you email me your etudes, I'd love to listen to them - the link above is not working. I'll certainly throw my two cents in. At least I understand what it takes to win and make state with these competitions.

If you have any specific questions on what judges listen for, please ask. I'll do my best to answer and give my perspective. I had a tug a war with #35 last Saturday with some band directors (brass players). I wanted to hear the turns, knowing few could play them, the band directors were only looking for the shortest cut they could get away with. Go figure.

~Robert L Schwebel
Mthpc: Behn Vintage, Lig: Ishimori, Reed: Aria 4, Legere Euro Signature 3.75, Horns: Uebel Superior, Ridenour Lyrique

Reply To Message
 
 Re: Fuzzy tone once again...
Author: OmniClarinet314 
Date:   2017-12-07 03:06

I've made All-Area 3 times in a row including this year, so I have an idea of what a top All-Stater sounds like. I can't mimic his tone quality no matter how hard I try though. FYI, I beat a former All-Stater this year at All-Region auditions last week. I'll send you the recordings sometime later this week. I don't have time today.



Post Edited (2017-12-07 08:01)

Reply To Message
 
 Re: Fuzzy tone once again...
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2017-12-08 10:14

OmniClarinet314 I don't think I got your email. Dang... Let's do this again.

Send me an email to savagesax@aol.com and leave me your phone number. Or go to my website and call me. steuerwoodwindreeds.com

It's been a bit crazy lately. I've been quiet as you may have noticed during the Thanksgiving time, not eating actually, but performing. I haven't posted much. A short tour up in the San Francisco and San Jose areas. 6 concerts 6 more standing ovations. That's about 465 standing ovations now. Thank you Yamaha and Steuer reeds.

Then I got home to the Los Angeles area and we are hit with wildfires. Something like 1500 to 3500 homes are lost. It's growing every minute so I don't have the exact number. I'm right smack in the middle of this mess. We even have to boil water. This is how bad things are.

zhangray4 sent a text to me asking if I was OK and I think I may have sent him a pic, of the fire about 100 feet away. Not sure... He is waiting for sample reeds too. I'll get them out to all of you tomorrow. What a GREAT guy to be thinking of me and to take the time to text me. The clarinet world is a great place full of wonderful people.

Karl is waiting for a second mouthpiece. But it is so dry I can't tell if a mouthpiece is playing correctly when the humidity is only 5 percent and then the fires are drying up that 5 percent. Sadly, all of the fires are out of control, 6 of them or more. 100's of miles have been burnt. From Santa Barbara to a new fire in San Diego. Karl (kdk) also sent a wonderful email! Thank you Karl! He had me laughing!

Send me your email and I'll get the reeds out to you and to everyone tomorrow. The power is on. You can't see the sun because of the smoke. The postal service may be delayed a day or 2. The post office was closed yesterday because of no power.

Think pleasant thoughts for those who lost everything. Sometimes reeds come second in this case. I know we all want good reeds. I'll take care of you. I take care of everyone. I give out so many free reeds, because I CARE!

I do have a memory issue due to working at Rico and Rico using PESTICIDES. So if someone doesn't hear from me within a week, wanting free samples, call or email me. I do CARE! Then sue Rico like I have. They suck. They don't care about you. If they cared they wouldn't use PESTICIDES. They don't even care about the poor little kids that are just starting out. Remember EVERY reed has pesticides on them. Why would they do this to an 8 or 9 year old kid? It's our jobs to educate the parents and boycott Rico. As adults if you want to put pesticides in your body I'm not saying a word. The latest is my attorney put an offer on the table for $824,000. I think it is too low, but if they pay for the past surgeries I'll take it.

STEUER REEDS Importer played by Sabine Meyer

NEWLY DESIGNED "Vintage 1940 Cicero" Mouthpieces

Yamaha Artist




Reply To Message
 
 Re: Fuzzy tone once again...
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2017-12-10 01:08

Hi OmniClarinet314

I just shipped off sample reeds to 18 people for free. I'm still waiting to hear from you. This came out of my pocket. $32 per box. One player plays the bari sax and I sent him 2 boxes. These reeds are $40 per box. So I spent about $700 out of my pocket. I'm not complaining at all. Just letting you know I want to help.

Please write and I will send you your sample reeds. I checked all of my emails and did not find your email so I looked in my spam folders as well. Perhaps there was a mistake in typing? I don't know, or it is lost in the cyber world somewhere. Weird things happen as we all know. I have an advanced degree in computers, Microsoft Systems Engineer, and a Microsoft Systems Instructor, which only 900 people in the country hold this degree; everyone fails this exam, so if I can't find your email no one in the planet can.

I'll be happy to send some reeds if you are still interested. If not, I've tried real hard to help you and I wish you the very best. If you change your mind now or in the future, do not hesitate in contacting me. You have all of my information. I want to help make clarinet playing fun for everyone. It can be really hard sometimes. It's a hard instrument to master and even the very best players in the world will tell you they are still trying to master it.

Cheers! Enjoy the holidays!

Bob

STEUER REEDS Importer played by Sabine Meyer

NEWLY DESIGNED "Vintage 1940 Cicero" Mouthpieces

Yamaha Artist




Post Edited (2017-12-10 01:18)

Reply To Message
 
 Re: Fuzzy tone once again...
Author: OmniClarinet314 
Date:   2017-12-10 01:35

Weird. I know that I sent two emails to both of your email addresses. I’ll send another one.

Happy holidays to you as well and stay safe.



Post Edited (2017-12-10 04:09)

Reply To Message
 
 Re: Fuzzy tone once again...
Author: zhangray4 
Date:   2017-12-10 02:47

Reeds definitely come second when you're caught in fire! The closest fire to me is about 30 minutes away so I'm lucky. Take care Bob!

-- Ray Zhang
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"The point is not to take the world's opinion as a guiding star but to go one's way in life and working unerringly, neither depressed by failure nor seduced by applause."
-- Gustav Mahler

Reply To Message
 
 Re: Fuzzy tone once again...
Author: OmniClarinet314 
Date:   2017-12-11 01:08

My tone quality is not all fuzzy anymore, but I can't get my clarinet to sound loud with a good tone quality. I can hardly hear myself in an orchestra recording. What can I do to make my clarinet sound louder?

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