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 Re: Biting and lip pain
Author: DougR 
Date:   2018-08-30 18:15

these are all really good suggestions!

In recent years (after decades of playing) I've been surprised and gratified to discover that my instruments are capable of producing a beautiful sound (within my own limitations of course) WITHOUT my having to 'muscle' them to do so. (Biting hard is definitely one of the 'muscling' techniques I've used.)

Letting go of ingrained mental constructs is somewhat difficult. I've been lucky to study with a guy who studied with Joe Allard, and Allard (from what I've learned) NEVER advised biting; in fact he advocated 'no more tooth pressure on the lower lip than you'd exert on a soft pat of butter'.

Here's a Youtube clip of him playing the Rhapsody in Blue opening with the NBC Symphony Orchestra; you can hear an elegant and beautifully shaped clarinet sound that is not produced through 'biting.'

So how would you make a beautiful sound, then? Airstream is key (breathing from what Yehuda Gilad calls the 'small of the back). High tongue position is also key. (your tongue JUST near the roof of your mouth, in the position it would be if you were hanging upside down.)

Letting go of what one thinks is the ONLY acceptable 'sound' is also difficult; sometimes it takes a knowledgeable outsider to listen to (e.g. MY) 'best tone' and say, "to me it sounds thin, one-dimensional, and forced"--believe me, you can find a cohort of people who LOVE that kind of sound, but I'd prefer a more nuanced, complex sound that doesn't hurt me to produce it!

Double-lip is revealing and useful even if you (like me) are a single-lip player, because playing double-lip does something to the mouth cavity interior and alters the airstream in a way that enhances the tone without resorting to biting. I use my double-lip tone (on sax and clarinet) as a 'gold standard' to see if my single-lip playing is correct/adequately efficient (air stream, oral cavity, tongue position, etc.)

(I'll add that I paid a lot of money for custom-fitted guards for my lower teeth over the years; substituting a gentle 'chew' for a hard jaw clamp made them unnecessary.)

anyway, good luck! happy experimenting! There are some good ideas here in the thread that I'll be trying out myself, too.

Post Edited (2018-08-30 18:35)

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 Topics Author  Date
 Biting and lip pain  new
rrgerhardt19 2018-08-29 02:58 
 Re: Biting and lip pain  new
Ken Lagace 2018-08-29 04:24 
 Re: Biting and lip pain  new
Paul Aviles 2018-08-29 07:30 
 Re: Biting and lip pain  new
Bob Bernardo 2018-08-29 09:37 
 Re: Biting and lip pain  new
FwLineberry 2018-08-30 05:58 
 Re: Biting and lip pain  new
kdk 2018-08-30 07:03 
 Re: Biting and lip pain  new
DougR 2018-08-30 18:15 
 Re: Biting and lip pain  new
Tony Pay 2018-08-31 01:06 
 Re: Biting and lip pain  new
Bob Bernardo 2018-08-31 07:12 
 Re: Biting and lip pain  new
DougR 2018-08-31 16:20 

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