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 Greetings and thank you (Part 2)
Author: OneWatt 
Date:   2021-01-10 02:39

Part 2: I decide this "clarinet thing" is becoming a real joy. It can sound so beautiful and I can foresee years of enjoyment.

The embouchure is coming along nicely (notwithstanding the long trek that awaits for mastery!) and these confounded fingerings have become more intriguing than overwhelming (disproving my initial fear).

And during this past month of playing my LJ Hutchen MKII, I've stayed busy on related fronts...

The Vandoren B45 mouthpiece had felt challenging for a while regardless of reed (Vandoren/Lurie/Rico reeds, at 2.0, 2.5, 3.0). I found a Legere Euro 2.75 to be better, which also speaks to my inexperience in skillfully adjusting cane reeds. But I'd read that the B45 can be tough for some "young" players from the outset.

So I buy a much cheaper Yamaha C4 - figuring it's a beginner's MP so perhaps it'll blow easier. It sort of does, but not all that much.

Then, further down the rabbit hole, I take yet another plunge and buy a Ridenour RE10 mouthpiece. Actually, I tried to buy the Encore but Ted Ridenour said they were out of those at the moment.

Meanwhile, I'm having breakthroughs making surprisingly good progress on my embouchure (surprising, at least, to me!). The double-lip approach feels great - can't imagine why teeth would belong on top of a mouthpiece ;-)

And by now all three of my mouthpieces are becoming quite playable. Different, but all comfortably playable depending on the particular reed match. When the combo is right, I'm feeling great control and tone/pitch playing across the first two registers throughout all the most demanding passages in my Snavely and Longenus methods. And scales/arpeggios/diatonic runs are sounding better all the time.

Now I'm hooked.

I read about Ridenour's clarinet Lyrique 576 Bb model. And based on all the posts offered here on this forum, I convince myself (with some encouragement from my loving wife) that the price point/quality/value is worth it. I take the plunge.

Ted Ridenour has been a marvelous guy to speak with and, after Tom just put the finishing touches on a new 576, it shipped out yesterday and is due to arrive next week.

Needless to say I'm extremely excited. In the meanwhile, I'm continuing to get great joy and satisfaction playing my $69 gently-used LJ Hutchen. But for the price differential, I'm hoping the Lyrique will blow me away.

If my experience thus far is useful as a recommendation to anyone coming along after me who is also new to the clarinet (and/or wants to arm their kid with a decent student model), I can highly recommend Paul Effman's "LJ Hutchen" Bb clarinet. I can attest that, with this clarinet in hand, it's clearly possible to learn a great deal about the instrument and to build meaningful skills without it getting in your way. After all, that's what a solid student instrument should be all about and I feel that Paul Effman's student clarinet fits the bill beautifully.

No doubt when the Ridenour 576 arrives, there'll be more to share. And I'm eager to hear any comments/suggestions from those on this forum.

This BBoard has been a phenomenal resource for me - and I remain greatly indebted to those who share their insights and rich experiences around here.



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 Re: Greetings and thank you (Part 2)
Author: Johan H Nilsson 
Date:   2021-01-10 13:42

As long as the pads on clarinets seal, there will only be small noticeable differences between instruments. Finding a mouthpiece and reed that feels comfortable and makes you able to produce tones in all registers properly is next prio. Then it is all down to training!

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 Re: Greetings and thank you (Part 2)
Author: SunnyDaze 
Date:   2021-01-10 19:20

Hi OneWatt,

Welcome to the forum. :-) I'm also an adult learner and really got the bug like you have.

I didn't have quite enough time to read your whole two posts, but I wondered if I could pass on the few things that helped me get off to a good start?

I would recommend this book as a great starting place:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/New-Tune-Day-Clarinet/dp/184609027X/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=tune+day+clarinet&qid=1610291574&s=books&sr=1-2

It's the new edition of "Tune A Day Clarinet Book 1".

I mainly mention because it has an absolutely brilliant double page pull-out fingering chart and I still use it constantly after two years, as I work my way up towards the top notes. It's absolutely indispensable.

The other things I learned really matter:

1) The pads on the clarinet must seal completely or the clarinet will not work. It's really worth finding a great technician who can sort this, even if you have to post the clarinet to them.
2) Getting a mouthpiece that suits your particular mouth shape really helps, and you get that by trying lots in a shop and seeing which works best for you.
3) Starting with a soft reed is a really good idea. You can work up to a harder one once you get the soft one to work well.

After that I just worked through the tune a day books and went on to the ABRSM grades and it's been great.

I also watch videos on youtube by Michelle Anderson:
https://www.youtube.com/user/ClarinetMentors

Good luck and I look forward to hearing more about what you do.

Jen x

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 Re: Greetings and thank you (Part 2)
Author: OneWatt 
Date:   2021-01-10 19:47

Dear Jen,

Thank you kindly for your suggestions (and warm welcome). I will certainly check out your leads.

I recognize that my 2-part "greetings" ran long and was therefore prone to TL;DR reactions, but I did cover some of what turned out to be your fine suggestions along the way.

Coming from a family with our share of professional musicians on both sides, I feel especially lucky to be able to play music for the sheer pleasure (and challenge) rather than to pay the bills.

What a wonderful instrument, this clarinet ... there's much joy to be found.

Best wishes!



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 Re: Greetings and thank you (Part 2)
Author: Dougiep80 
Date:   2021-01-12 23:37

Hi Onewatt,

Thanks for the posts. I've just decided to learn at the age of 40, having only been a passable bass / rhythm guitar and keyboard player in my teens and 20s.

You've given me hope I can do it.

Family and work commitments means I can't get the 1 tow hours of practice a day but I'm trying to get a minimum 15 to 20 min a day and feel I'm making progress after only a week.

Look forward to more updates.

Dougie

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 Re: Greetings and thank you (Part 2)
Author: dkojevnikov 
Date:   2021-01-13 20:24

Thank you for your posts, I enjoyed reading them.

I decided to start learning a clarinet at the age of 46 (one year ago) at the same time my 7 year old son started with piano and guitar. I don’t have any experience playing music in the past other than basics.

I am still practicing at least 2 hours a day and enjoying it. Pandemics kind of helped in freeing the time for it as I am working from home now.

Of course my son is learning piano at 10x faster rate than I am but I hope in a couple of years we will be able to play duets together.



Post Edited (2021-01-13 20:27)

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 Re: Greetings and thank you (Part 2)
Author: SunnyDaze 
Date:   2021-01-13 22:37

Hi,

That's great that you both are starting in your 40s too.

One of the things that I've discovered recently is that practicing on paper really helps me make progress quickly on the instrument.

So, for example, I might only be able to fit in a small amount of practise actually on the instrument, but when I'm sitting next to my son watching him do his homework I can sit and write out scales and write the fingerings below them on the paper. That way I gradually memorise the scales and the fingerings and when I come back to the instrument I find that they come much more automatically, even though I haven't had as much time to practice as I would like.

I write fingerings like this:

1TR
1
1
-
1
1
1
-
C#


or

0TR
1
1
-
1
0
0
-
1

Where T is the thumb key and R is the register key.

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 Re: Greetings and thank you (Part 2)
Author: Dougiep80 
Date:   2021-01-13 23:12

SunnyDaze

I like that idea, definitely something I can try when I can't manage to actually practice. Thanks for the tip. I be think I understand what you mean. I'll look what you've written along with my funding chart to see if I can make sense of it.

👍

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 Re: Greetings and thank you (Part 2)
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2021-01-13 23:21

I want to say, as someone who DID NOT use a written technique (I did the standard pound it out for hours and hours on the horn) that this idea has really caught my attention. I believe this was suggested by Tony Pay some months ago. What I have found for myself more recently is that actively engaging the analytical brain is indeed a more solid way to (at very least reinforce) learning the clarinet.


Also any form of practice where you challenge yourself to examine the music academically encourages a more lasting and meaningful learning experience. For example there is an "EarSpasm" video where Michael Lowenstern describes a technique where you just change the emphasis of each note of a sixteenth note run by one sixteenth (then the next; then the next). The idea there is that DE-EMPHASIZING the natural rhythmic emphasis will allow your brain to play the full run of notes more smoothly, evenly.


Stuff like that.






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



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 Re: Greetings and thank you (Part 2)
Author: SunnyDaze 
Date:   2021-01-14 22:05

Hi Dougiep80,

I'm glad that looks useful.

I'll explain my code in case it helps.

With this

1RT
1
1
-
1
1
1
-
C#

R = Register Key

T = left thumb hole

the top three number 1s are the three fingers of the left hand.

the lower three number 1s are the three fingers of the right hand.

the bottom line where it says C# could also be B or C or F or E or F# or Eb.

those are the keys that you hit with the pinkie finger of the right or left hand and they take a little bit of time to get used to. You will figure those out in time, and with the help of a good fingering chart.

There are also a lot of little in-between keys and side keys, but you will get to those in time too. They are not right up there in your face when you start learning.

I hope that helps.

Good luck,

Jennifer

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 Re: Greetings and thank you (Part 2)
Author: Dougiep80 
Date:   2021-01-15 03:23

Thanks Jennifer

That is a good help. I can definitely keep a pad of paper and a fingering chart in the van.

So for a 1 octave scale I assume you write 8 of these codes? (1 for each note in the scale?)

Sorry if that's a stupid question.

Dougie

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 Re: Greetings and thank you (Part 2)
Author: SunnyDaze 
Date:   2021-01-15 04:41
Attachment:  Fmajor.jpg (450k)

Hi Dougie,

Yes that's right.

It might be nice to start with F major, which is a really easy scale on the clarinet.

If you learn that then you will very quickly be able to sight read Moon River.

I'm not sure if that is to your taste but I always enjoyed it. There are lots of beginner pieces in F major, so either way, it will get you off to a great start.

I have attached here what that F major would look like on paper. You just need to find out where the F key is, from your fingering chart.

If you do fancy a shot at Moon River, it is in this book:

https://www.juneemersonwindmusic.com/ALL-JAZZED-UP-50e1abcd-e0a3-448a-835c-5bc5ba0938af.html

and it is also one of the pieces for the ABRSM grade 1 exam. I really like the ABRSM grade books as they choose really satisfying pieces of music and advance things at a very manageable pace.

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 Re: Greetings and thank you (Part 2)
Author: SunnyDaze 
Date:   2021-01-15 04:44
Attachment:  notes.jpg (438k)

I'm currently trying to hammer the altissimo fingerings into my head, so the line that I am writing out 500,000 times looks like the attached. It does honestly take about a zillion repetitions before the fingering become automatic for me, but they do get in there.

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 Re: Greetings and thank you (Part 2)
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2021-01-15 05:02

SunnyDaze wrote:

> I'm currently trying to hammer the altissimo fingerings into my
> head, so the line that I am writing out 500,000 times looks
> like the attached.

I'm curious about the different numbers under the three RH fingers starting with [D6]. You use 4 with D, 1 with D#, no bottom key with E but you open the RH "sliver" key, then 1 with F, F# and G. I'm assuming they're "pinky" keys?
(1) Which is key 4?
(2) Which is key 1?
(3) Why no pinky key at all with D#/Eb?

Karl



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 Re: Greetings and thank you (Part 2)
Author: Dougiep80 
Date:   2021-01-15 12:26

Jennifer

That pic really helped, thank you!

I see exactly what you are doing now. Definitely give that a shot.

Moon River sounds like a good starter tune once I've got the basic scale and finding figured out.

Thank you

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 Re: Greetings and thank you (Part 2)
Author: SunnyDaze 
Date:   2021-01-15 20:41

Hi Karl,

The 4 is the chalumeau Ab right hand pinkie key, which I have always thought of as my 4th right hand finger. For no sensible reason it seems to have morphed into a 1 part way through, but it's still the same key. This is just a reflection of my current level of confusion about altissimo fingerings. :-)

I discovered today that my altissimo F fingering on the chart is not right, and I need to add in the chalumeau C# sliver key as well to make it work.

I'm not quite sure what you mean about the missing pinky key on Eb/D# as they both seem to have the fourth right hand finger written in. Does that make sense by your reading of it?

Thanks!

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 Re: Greetings and thank you (Part 2)
Author: OneWatt 
Date:   2021-01-17 21:05

Thank you to all who have responded above. Much appreciated!

To avoid dragging this thread into various other directions, I'll share an update on things in a new one. Cheers.



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