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 Rest left pinky on key?
Author: smill01 
Date:   2019-05-12 10:17

Some teachers (e.g. Opperman via Chris Jones?) have recommended keeping the left pinky on the E/B key when the finger is idle. Though this helps keep all the fingers close to the keys, it feels like it will take some rewiring to make it a habit. Do any of you have any experience with this? Worth doing?



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 Re: Rest left pinky on key?
Author: RKing 
Date:   2019-05-13 16:46

That is exactly how I was taught to do it back in 5th grade. The left pinky sat on the E/B key and it was an easy slide to the F#/C# key or the alternate F/C key.

My right pinky was taught to sit on the F/C key and I learned to find the others in similar fashion from that "home" key.

Cheers,

Ron

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 Re: Rest left pinky on key?
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-05-13 19:36

I recommend "hovering" over the "E/B" key. Since you have to use the alternate "C" and "C#" sharp keys often enough that maintaining physical contact sounds like more of a hindrance. Think of the way you type. I doubt if you keep your index fingers ON "F" and "J" all the time.


Another concept I'll throw out there is that using the left "F/C" key as your main "go to" for scales C, F, Bb, Eb and G may make the technique even more fluid.






..................Paul Aviles

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 Re: Rest left pinky on key?
Author: nellsonic 
Date:   2019-05-14 04:51

I don't think most students are going to do well with the 'hovering' idea. They need something tactile to help them learn good hand position. While typing this some of my fingers are nearly always in contact with the keyboard and this helps my brain to know exactly where to aim the ones in motion so that they connect with proper key when landing (most of the time) without me looking.

Unless it's been addressed in their studies most aspiring clarinetists seem to have hands that move excessively and chaotically making technical proficiency and ease much more challenging to achieve. The home keys do change with the tonal context of the music, but the practice of having them has more benefits than disadvantages in my experience. My own pinkies do hover at times but more as the exception than the rule.

I'd also take issue with the idea of using the left hand C as the primary fingering except perhaps when smaller hands might make it necessary. The right hand C is a much more efficient mechanism and the one that most of us end up preferring.

How your fingers and hands work the clarinet is ultimately a matter of habits. Choose the ones you wish to rely on carefully. Efficiency and lack of unnecessary tension are key. Scales and arpeggio practice are a good arena to work out those choices.



Post Edited (2019-05-14 04:53)

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 Re: Rest left pinky on key?
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2019-05-14 17:40

As I read these comments, I'm wondering how easy it is to teach a young student to hold his left pinky *on* (touching) the E/B lever and the right pinky *on* the F/C key without occasional mishaps involving accidentally pressing those keys down. Neither would need to go down to full closure to cause small glitches in technical passages work or even in slower legato lines - just far enough down to affect the color or quality of the notes that are intended.

Obviously, I wasn't taught this or I wouldn't need to ask the question, but my knee-jerk reaction is that a finger resting on a key is one that sooner or later will unconsciously press it while the player isn't paying close attention (or is attending to something else).

Karl

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 Re: Rest left pinky on key?
Author: shmuelyosef 
Date:   2019-05-15 00:57

Karl,
I agree with the sentiment you raise, but both the E/B and the F/C keys are "normally open", and it's a good way to reinforce independence of the fingers to have them 'loosely anchored' as my saxophone instructor used to tell me about the Low C key. He also advocated anchoring my LH pinky on the G# key which is normally closed and a hair-trigger away from disaster, it does help with the instantaneous 'finding' of the Bell Keys...

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 Re: Rest left pinky on key?
Author: nellsonic 
Date:   2019-05-15 02:31

Karl,

I've always thought that this was a standard part of clarinet pedagogy, but the fact that both you and Paul find it questionable/unfamiliar makes me wonder about that a little. It's certainly a widely known and used concept.

To answer your question - rarely and only in the beginning. I did have it happen with my most recent beginner student and it took him a couple of weeks to master playing the low G without also pressing the F key. I see this as an advantage though as it trains the hands from the beginning to have the degree of independence between the ring finger and pinkie needed to play the clarinet as shmuelyosef mentioned. It also trains the fingers to be well positioned without being overly tense. Once the habit is established I've never seen issues with it.



Post Edited (2019-05-15 08:50)

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 Re: Rest left pinky on key?
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-05-15 20:51

But what habit? You have four keys on the right and four keys (if you include the C#/G#) on the left. I personally believe that the actual contact is training one to CHOOSE a primary key which is not the case.


One last point about contact: Our right middle finger has only one job, but you wouldn't advocate keeping it down on the second tone hole of the lower joint.






.................Paul Aviles



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 Re: Rest left pinky on key?
Author: nellsonic 
Date:   2019-05-16 00:29

Paul Aviles wrote:


> One last point about contact: Our right middle finger has
> only one job, but you wouldn't advocate keeping it down on the
> second tone hole of the lower joint.

If you don't like the concept and want to dismiss it out of hand that's fine. However setting up a straw man isn't really fair or helpful.

Both rationale and source have been mentioned If anyone would like to see published material on this they can refer to Ridenour's " The Educator's Guide to the Clarinet".

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 Re: Rest left pinky on key?
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-05-16 01:08

I'd just like to see what Hawley, Klug, Shifrin have to say about it.



Straw man? We are talking about the SAME THING. You hover over all your other keys when you play an open G, what's the difference? I just wouldn't put a student through that cofusion.




...............Paul Aviles



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 Re: Rest left pinky on key?
Author: nellsonic 
Date:   2019-05-16 04:50

Paul Aviles wrote:


> Straw man? We are talking about the SAME THING. You hover
> over all your other keys when you play an open G, what's the
> difference? I just wouldn't put a student through that
> cofusion.


Paul, I apologize. It's not a straw man if you just don't understand what's being presented, which you seem not to. I give up. Just know that no student of mine has ever had the slightest confusion with it. The failure here must be mine at being unable to make it clear without a clarinet in hand. It's very simple when applied.

It's funny you should mention Klug. His endorsement of Ridenour's book on the back cover is quite effusive. It ends with "I highly recommend Tom's book for everyone who loves the clarinet and wants to get better." Ricardo calls it "a comprehensive book that addresses every aspect of clarinet pedagogy written by a master teacher...." You might find it interesting.

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 Re: Rest left pinky on key?
Author: Tony Pay 2017
Date:   2019-05-16 15:26

OP wrote:

>> Some teachers (e.g. Opperman via Chris Jones?) have recommended keeping the left pinky on the E/B key when the finger is idle.>>

Perhaps Nellsonic can explain for me how this works in a bit more detail.

If you play an upper register harmonic minor scale C5 to C6, so that the notes are C, D, Eb, F, G, Ab, B, C, the LH little finger must stop being 'idle' at some point, in order to play the Ab.

When, in your case? Or is it 'off' the E/B key from the beginning, even if you're a student?

Ridenour's book may well deal with all this, but copies are difficult and expensive to obtain, and I haven't succeeded in getting one. And, while I'm about it, what does Ridenour's book say about diphragmatic support?

As someone who has engaged with this, both here and in my chapter in the Cambridge Companion, I have found no intelligible treatment in the literature. Every tutor I've encountered fudges the issue, including Russianoff, Stubbins and Pino; so what does Ridenour say? (Arnold Jacobs is just plain WRONG, for a clarinet player.)

Tony

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 Re: Rest left pinky on key?
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2019-05-16 20:42

nellsonic wrote:

> It's funny you should mention Klug. His endorsement of
> Ridenour's book on the back cover is quite effusive. It ends
> with "I highly recommend Tom's book for everyone who loves the
> clarinet and wants to get better." Ricardo calls it "a
> comprehensive book that addresses every aspect of clarinet
> pedagogy written by a master teacher...."

The endorsements of Tom's book by Ricardo Morales and Howard Klug don't necessarily imply their endorsement of every detail the book contains. Looking at a couple of Youtube videos of Klug and Morales (and having seen a good deal of Morales in live performance), neither seems to rest his left pinky (or his right one) on any particular key.

I agree that we're free to do this or dismiss it out of hand. And I admit that I "just don't understand what's being presented." But, if you're citing authorities (beyond Tom Ridenour himself) for support, at least the authorities might actually be relevant. They're endorsing the book, not necessarily (or apparently, from their own playing) this technique.

> Both rationale and source have been mentioned If anyone would like
> to see published material on this they can refer to Ridenour's " The
> Educator's Guide to the Clarinet".

More than a published source, I'd much rather see examples of this approach in actual use. Do you know of any players whose YouTube (or any) videos would provide examples?

Karl

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 Re: Rest left pinky on key?
Author: Tom H 
Date:   2019-05-18 05:40

I may have learned that way back in 1963, who knows. I've not heard of any professionals or good amateurs doing this and would not recommend it. Both pinkys must be free to hit any of the keys.

The Most Advanced Clarinet Book--Austin Macauley Publishers
tomheimer.ampbk.com/
austinmacauley.com/author/heimer-tom (PDF samples here)


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 Re: Rest left pinky on key?
Author: Tony Pay 2017
Date:   2019-05-18 16:03

In the absence of elucidation from Nellsonic, and still without Ridenour's book, I found these videos:

https://youtu.be/U22diuW_3eQ

https://youtu.be/pS1r30_2j0o

...in which Tom Ridenour talks about his idea, perhaps derived from his own teachers.

It might be useful, I think; my own view is better represented in:

http://test.woodwind.org/clarinet/BBoard/read.html?f=1&i=218428&t=218316&v=t

I don't think much of Ridenour on breathing and blowing. The aerosol can vs the toothpaste tube doesn't make sense to me, and his invocation of Aristotelian physics is surely outmoded.

"Different kinds of air"???

Tony



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 Re: Rest left pinky on key?
Author: nellsonic 
Date:   2019-05-20 10:45

Thanks, Tony, for finding those videos. I hope they make things clearer than I was able to. It's been a busy weekend and I hadn't had time to make another attempt.

I think it's a very sound system for starting beginners and correcting hand position issues in intermediate players. It's also a good possible approach when technical difficulties seem intractable for more experienced players. I have found it useful in my own playing. To me personally, it's a methodology that can be helpful rather than a set of rules to be followed blindly for all time. My understanding is that it comes from Kal Opperman who certainly had a very successful track record as a teacher.

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 Re: Rest left pinky on key?
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-05-20 15:38

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mpezl7wiHrQ



Arguably one of Cal Opperman's more famous students. I'm not catching either pinky resting on a particular key.



Just sayin'




.................Paul Aviles



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 Re: Rest left pinky on key?
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2019-05-20 18:48

Well, from those videos, I can mostly that the fingers where possible should find their way to the next key they will need to press - anticipating action beforehand. I didn't get the idea that he was suggesting using LH E/B and/or RH F/C as anchors. Maybe I need to watch again.

Interesting to me, I paid closer attention than usual to what I was doing with respect to anticipating the notes. I realized that I naturally do this (at least, I was never taught to do it explicitly) and that when I get into trouble in a sight-reading exercise, it's almost always because my fingers are not where they need to be for the upcoming notes and are consequently late. So, if my understanding of Tom's point in the video is the importance of anticipation, I think that's almost a given beyond a certain level of technical demand. The goal of keeping fingers from flying out by keeping them close to or even touching keys before needing to press them is, likewise, to an extent the result of efficient finger position. Although, I have noticed that sometimes having fingers too close to open holes can cause problems as well - for example I have from time to time produced bad effects by not lifting my ring fingers far enough to clear the tone holes or the RH rings.

I don't see that anchoring on LH E/B by resting on it as a normal finger position is part of this. But I haven't read Tom's book and there may be other videos that make that point more clearly.

Karl

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 Re: Rest left pinky on key?
Author: Tony Pay 2017
Date:   2019-05-21 02:21

Nellsonic wrote, in part:

>> I have found it useful in my own playing. To me personally, it's a methodology that can be helpful rather than a set of rules to be followed blindly for all time. >>

That seems to me to sum it up.

That ......Paul Aviles wrote:

>> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mpezl7wiHrQ

>> Arguably one of Cal Opperman's more famous students. I'm not catching either pinky resting on a particular key.

>> Just sayin' >>

Yes, it's what you do: SAY a lot.

There's a culture on this BBoard that overemphasises the degree to which players who have studied with a particular teacher 'inherit' that teacher's playing and ideas.

Many don't.

Tony



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 Re: Rest left pinky on key?
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-05-21 07:53

I find this an interesting idea. It seems that something as simple as what pieces you pull out the the case first how you assemble them is due to your earliest instructors.


Ideally we should seek out a wide variety of instructors and various approaches so that we can choose the bits we like best and incorporate them into what works best for us as individual players. But that still means we got the information from someone.


Even though there will be new generations of great clarinetists taking the art form ever further, it is because they stood on the shoulders of giants.




................Paul Aviles



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 Re: Rest left pinky on key?
Author: michele zukovsky 
Date:   2019-05-27 09:14

i would suggest resting the fingers on e,d,c,b flat, a, and g.
then practice the first exercise of baerman book 4 and get the pinkies up to speed and strength.

that will be ten dollars, please.

please note new email

michelezukovsky@gmail.com

zukovsky@usc.edu

Post Edited (2019-05-28 12:50)

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 Re: Rest left pinky on key?
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2019-05-27 16:32

michele zukovsky wrote:

> that will be ten dollars, please.
>

You should charge more. At that price no one will respect you. [wink]

Karl

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 Re: Rest left pinky on key?
Author: michele zukovsky 
Date:   2019-05-28 12:51

ha ha ha!!!
you are so right!

zukovsky@usc.edu

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