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 Difficulty Standing When Playing Double Lip
Author: KoolKlarinet 
Date:   2020-11-08 20:23

I'm having trouble playing the clarinet for long times when I'm standing. I use a neck strap, but after some time my right arm gets very sore and I find it hard to hold long phrases. I usually play sitting with the bell between my knees because it is hard to keep the clarinet stable when I use double lip embouchure. I have a problem with my embouchure that doesn't allow me to play stably without double lip. Is there anything I can do to improve my stamina while playing standing up with double lip? Does anyone who plays double lip have any advice? Thank you so much!

Post Edited (2020-11-08 20:23)

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 Re: Difficulty Standing When Playing Double Lip
Author: SunnyDaze 
Date:   2020-11-08 21:05

Hello :-)

I understand completely what you mean. I have worked out a setup that solves this problem, as follows:

I use a claritie sling like this:

and a Kooiman thumb rest at the same time:

The claritie sling means that there is no weight at all on my right arm. I can, in fact, play the clarinet without holding it with my hands at all, as the weight is suported entirely by the sling. If you would like to see I can take a video of myself using it.

The Kooiman thumb rest makes the clarinet very stable from rotational wobble, which is also really helpful.

Does that help any?


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 Re: Difficulty Standing When Playing Double Lip
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2020-11-08 21:05

Why do you need to play for long periods standing up?

I know there are players who insist that you should be able to play double lip while standing. Supposedly, Ralph McLane did, but he was a few years before my time and I only have read anecdotal comments. Of the double lip players I've known, all played sitting as a general rule. As a double lip player myself, I have played stand-up jobs that involved playing short tunes - solo choruses or stanzas - with lots of rest in between while others were playing, but I'm sure I couldn't play anything extended - a sonata or concerto, for example - standing. I haven't marched or "strolled" with a clarinet in many years, but when I did, I'm sure I reverted to single lip because the bouncing around on bumpy surfaces would have been downright dangerous.

So, it really depends on what you need to be able to do. I do have to admit, though, that I'm not clear why your lack of stamina results in right arm fatigue. Most of us have problems with sore upper lips. Why is playing double or single lip different for your right arm? How is holding the clarinet up different?


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 Re: Difficulty Standing When Playing Double Lip
Author: ruben 
Date:   2020-11-08 21:49

Harold Wright-a double-lipper-played in a seated position. I find that if I feel I have to get the added presence standing gives you, I sit on a high stool and this creates the same effect. Few cellists and pianists play standing up! -maybe Jerry Lee Lewis.

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 Re: Difficulty Standing When Playing Double Lip
Author: Philip Caron 
Date:   2020-11-08 21:50

I don't understand the right-arm fatigue. The may be a joint issue, or it may just be muscular fatigue. If the latter, then following an appropriate program of weight-resistance exercises and rest would fix it.

I've played solo pieces standing several times with the band I'm in. I play double lip but don't use a neck strap or other special equipment. As others are saying, embouchure stability and upper lip discomfort are hurdles. Those can be overcome with practice, which a) promotes better stability of holding the instrument, and b) further toughens the upper lip. The practice wasn't complicated, it just amounted to practicing standing up for increasing lengths of time.

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 Re: Difficulty Standing When Playing Double Lip
Author: SecondTry 
Date:   2020-11-09 07:15

My $0.02 :

Most straps I've seen won't eliminate the need for you to still apply force against gravity to angle the instrument to a point where it forms a proper angle with your mouth and distance from your body--just reduce the amount of force necessary...

...except maybe this.

Good luck.

Post Edited (2020-11-09 09:37)

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 Re: Difficulty Standing When Playing Double Lip
Author: Grabnerwg 
Date:   2020-11-09 18:43

Personally, I just don't find enough advantage to double lip to be worth the added problems.

However, I must add that I do sometimes play double lip on bass clarinet, on those real dark, quiet passages.

Walter Grabner

Walter Grabner

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 Re: Difficulty Standing When Playing Double Lip
Author: Fuzzy 
Date:   2020-11-09 21:15

Curious...would some type of strength training in your arms help?

I know that this might not be possible due to any number of issues, but if it is an option, perhaps it would be worthwhile.


[Edit: Sorry, Philip, missed the part of your post where you mentioned the same thing.]

Post Edited (2020-11-09 22:07)

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 Re: Difficulty Standing When Playing Double Lip
Author: JEG 2017
Date:   2020-11-10 00:18

The other thing you might want to consider is whether you are playing with too much tension in your arms, hands and fingers. Excess tension will cause fatigue to set in sooner than if one is relaxed.

As one who has made almost every mistake in the book I suggest that you try to look for varying causes of your difficulty playing standing up.

I began playing double lip when I was in my 20s and pretty much continued (with a 12 year layoff from playing) until January of this year, when, after I retired from my IT job, I decided that since I'd be practicing more I'd switch back to single lip so as not to beat up my upper lip. I'm not advocating one kind of embouchure or the other, this is the way it is with me.

I think that whether you play sitting or standing, with double lip you must learn to be light with your fingers. This is where, in my opinion, relaxation comes in. I was able to play standing up but preferred sitting down. In order to play without holding the instrument between my legs I developed very light fingering. That being said, though, I found that playing without holding the instrument (lightly) between took an unacceptable toll on my upper lip. Perhaps in your case once you become more secure with your fatigue problems you will be able to stand using the strap. Once again, you have to find what's right for you.

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