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 Can someone explain importance of long tones and how long to practice them?
Author: lmartin103 
Date:   2018-01-15 06:52

Hello, recently I just went to my area auditions but did not get the results I would have liked to. I asked the clarinet player who I thought did the best how she practiced and she told me that she played one and a half hours of long tones until her mouth hurt. Long tones have never been a huge part of my warm up routine, but after hearing what she said I decided to start incorporating them into it. I would just like to know if her strategy is effective & an efficient way of practicing. Thanks

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 Re: Can someone explain importance of long tones and how long to practice them?
Author: brycon 
Date:   2018-01-15 09:14

1.5 hours of long tones, until your mouth hurts, is an incredibly stupid approach to practicing. It's about as inefficient as possible.

Also, correlation doesn't equal causation. You shouldn't attribute your poor showing to a lack of long-tone practice or her success to that ridiculous practice routine. Maybe your rhythm, technique, articulation, etc. was the weak point? Practicing long tones, however, will only obliquely help with those things. (In general, you should prioritize your practice time to address the weakest aspects of your playing.)

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 Re: Can someone explain importance of long tones and how long to practice them?
Author: Dan Shusta 
Date:   2018-01-15 09:52

Hopefully, the following articles & YouTube video will be informative for you.


From: Osborn Music http://www.osbornmusic.com/warmup.html

From: Eddie Daniels https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HSC58QXoRRw

From: Sherman Friedland https://clarinetcorner.wordpress.com/2008/09/25/long-tones-an-essential-in-building-embouchure-and-sound/

From: Jenny Maclay http://http://jennyclarinet.com/2016/02/the-musicians-practice-pyramid/

From: Backun Musical Services https://backunmusical.com/blogs/clarinet-news/clarithenics-the-art-of-peak-performance-preparation

From: Musika Lessons https://www.musikalessons.com/blog/2016/12/clarinet-warm-ups/

From: The Art of Clarinet Playing-The Clarinet Pages http://www.woodwind.org/clarinet/YPP/Craig.html

From: danhiggins.net Archives: Woodwind Technique 1.1-Clarinet Study http://danhiggins.net/archives/woodwind1.1.html


As GBK stated several years ago...Google is your best friend.

Good Luck!



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 Re: Can someone explain importance of long tones and how long to practice them?
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2018-01-15 20:41

I agree with brycon about the nonsensicalness of a 1-1/2 hour session of long tones. At best, long tones can be a way to focus your attention on embouchure and breath without distraction from things like notes and rhythms. But within limits. One of the worst things you can do with your practice routine is to bore yourself.

Scales and other rudiments can accomplish much the same thing and give you more technical exercise at the same time. But they need to be practiced carefully with attention to detail. The air flow, to mimic the benefit of long tones, needs to be steady and controlled, being especially careful when you cross either register break. You can incorporate controlled crescendo and diminuendo, just as many players do with long tones. You can at the same time pay attention to clean fingerings and steady rhythm. Needless to say (or maybe not) these things won't be achieved if you race through the rudiments as though the only important thing is to be able to play them fast.

What you get from rudiment practice can then be applied to performance material as you practice it.

Karl

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 Re: Can someone explain importance of long tones and how long to practice them?
Author: GBK 
Date:   2018-01-15 21:19

As I've written before, long tones by themselves are an inefficient use of your practice time.

I do not use long tones in my warm up and do not advise my students to use them either. I feel that they accomplish very little and take unnecessary time away from scales and arpeggios, which are the building blocks of technique.

A better approach would be to play your scales very slowly, listening for smooth connections between the notes, and checking that the down and/or up movement of each finger is absolutely precise and seamless.

I also do not think that long tones help to improve your tone quality. Playing notes slowly, in context, whether scalewise or arpeggiated, and matching their sonority and color will do much more to develop your overall tonal concept.

Music making is the connections of notes at different speeds, not just one sustained note...GBK



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 Re: Can someone explain importance of long tones and how long to practice them?
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2018-01-15 22:42

Well there surely is a need for it as warming up. Getting the horn and horns warmed up to play in tune is a huge asset. Also getting your body in the correct breathing mode. When you are first learning maybe 20 minutes, then after you master this you can cut it down to 3 to 5 minutes per horn. It surely gets your embouchure working and the air flowing.

1 1/2 hours seems nuts. You are much better off practicing scales during this time and I'm the first to say I hate practicing scales more than 30 minutes.

In fact you may be damaging your sound/embouchure by playing that long, because you aren't hitting the high notes, only the low notes, which long tones usually mean; playing low notes. So your embouchure isn't flexible in the upper register, nor is your throat and your air stream in the correct positions. BAD!!!


Designer of - Vintage 1940 Cicero Mouthpieces and the La Vecchia mouthpieces


Yamaha Artist 2015




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 Re: Can someone explain importance of long tones and how long to practice them?
Author: GenEric 
Date:   2018-01-15 23:48

I'd like to also add that when you are practicing long tones, remember to do some breathing exercises before. During my time with a guest conductor, we worked a lot on breathing and even singing with solfege before playing and I found it really helpful. Long tones are not really helpful unless you are actively mindful so do everything with meaning!



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 Re: Can someone explain importance of long tones and how long to practice them?
Author: Klose 2017
Date:   2018-01-16 01:47

The importance of playing long tones is, first, it can improve the air support and embouchure muscle; second, by playing in different dynamics (crescendo and diminuendo) with a tuner, it can improve the control of pitch.

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 Re: Can someone explain importance of long tones and how long to practice them?
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2018-01-16 02:49

GenEric wrote:

> Long tones are not really helpful unless you are
> actively mindful so do everything with meaning!
>

Agreed. I think this is the key to *any* kind of practicing.

Karl

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 Re: Can someone explain importance of long tones and how long to practice them?
Author: LGS316217 
Date:   2018-01-16 20:10

I can advocate both pro and con for long tones. Pro: If you want a rich, round, fat tone, they're the way to go. My teacher was an Englishman, contemporary of de Peyer, Kell, and Brymer, and yep, you guessed it, he had the vibrato to match. If you like that style , long tones is how you get it. You want to fatigue your diaphragm just a little every practice session; it will build your endurance, which is really helpful if you are in a marching band, and if you're lucky, a little vibrato may creep in. Long tones are a great way to focus on breathing and get you into the mindfulness you need to maintain good breathing habits automatically. Now the cons: If you don't balance the approach with other practice routines, all you're going to get is big fat tone in chalumeau, boredom, and frustration. I can personally attest, I did not pay enough attention to practicing higher notes and you don't want to hear me in altissimo. And an hour and a half of any one thing is just ridic. 10 minutes, tops, of long tones, during your warmup. That's my .02.

Amy Paul

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