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 RE: teaching alternate fingerings
Author: paul 
Date:   1999-07-29 16:18

My own personal opinion is to show absolutely no preference for either fingering strategy. Make it a point to not stress one over the other. Even naming the keys as "alternate" keys tends to skew the young player's opinion of them, and therefore may give the young player a disadvantage in playing the clarinet. I believe that both of the strategies that you mentioned are very important and that they have equal weight. Ditto for all other "alternate" fingerings for the clarinet. A good drill to teach is to have the student play the chromatic scale from low chalemeau E all the way up to as high as he or she can go, and back down. Let the student take the first pass with whatever fingerings they know, and then repeat the drill with lesser known fingerings. I use it as a good warm-up exercise. Plus, it's fun to experiment with all kinds of fingerings in a no stress situation. You will be amazed at seeing some of the other fingerings being used later by your student. As long as the fingering works for the student, encourage it.

Here's what I would do to introduce the subject of "alternate fingerings". Let the student try very hard to get the fingerings with only right hand or only left hand fingerings on purpose. This isn't a bad idea, because it hints at the ability to "slide" to fingerings much later on. Don't force success here, just allow some fun exploration for a little while. Then, introduce the concept of "walking" up and down the clarinet (note that I didn't say "alternate fingerings") to get the notes. Let the student figure out which strategy is easiest for him or her. The vast majority of the time, the student will choose the "walking" strategy over the "sliding" one.

When the student is comfortable with a good fingering strategy to get the notes, encourage a drill that starts with and slightly emphasizes a left hand dominant strategy (for right handed students) and a right hand dominant strategy (for lefties). This will help the young student develop the muscle memory for the weak hand and therefore help the student to automatically reach with whatever hand is available later on.

If, for instance, a student has the extra Ab/Eb key (found on 18 key clarinets) and that student uses the key properly to hit the notes in drills or music, that's okay, too. I have a clarinet that has this key, so my pro tutor didn't force sliding as much on me as he would his other adult intermediate level students who had the standard 17 key clarinet. As far as I can tell, he doesn't even mention sliding to the younger students, mainly because their hands and fingers are not big enough to be efficient with this strategy.

Let us know how the lesson works out.


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 Topics Author  Date
 teaching alternate fingerings  new
GKF 1999-07-29 05:04 
 RE: teaching alternate fingerings  new
paul 1999-07-29 16:18 
 RE: teaching alternate fingerings  new
GKF 1999-07-29 17:52 
 RE: teaching alternate fingerings  new
Daniel 1999-07-29 19:37 
 RE: teaching alternate fingerings - addendum  new
Daniel 1999-07-29 19:45 
 RE: teaching alternate fingerings  new
Gary Van Cott 1999-07-29 21:37 
 RE: teaching alternate fingerings  new
Dee 1999-07-30 03:44 
 RE: teaching alternate fingerings  new
paul 1999-07-30 19:34 
 RE: teaching alternate fingerings  new
Don Berger 1999-08-02 16:00 
 RE: teaching alternate fingerings  new
Dee 1999-08-06 03:50 
 RE: teaching alternate fingerings - More  new
Dee 1999-08-06 03:59 


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