If breath support, embouchure, and voicing are correctly established, then Crossing the Dreaded Break ceases to be a Thing. It’s just another note: a moment ago you were playing B-flat, and now you are playing B-natural. As long as your fingers get where they are supposed to go, then that’s all there is to it. Personally, I don’t even use the word “break” with a beginning student—there’s no need to get them all uptight about what really is a non-event. Continue reading “Crossing the break on the clarinet is easy”→
Frequently I think about something one of my teachers said to me as an undergraduate student. I was preparing for a rapidly upcoming recital, and played one of my repertoire pieces in a private lesson. There was a tricky page turn in the printed sheet music, and my run-through came to a halt while I fumbled with the pages. A little embarrassed, I assured my teacher that I intended to photocopy a page at some point so this wouldn’t happen in performance.
“You know, it’s not too soon to do that,” he said with a tired smile.
Of course I learned many valuable lessons from that teacher, but “it’s not too soon” is one that has really stayed with me, and now I try to pass it along to my students. Here are some things they (and sometimes I) like to procrastinate, but I try to remind them it’s not too soon to do:
Photocopy pages to ease page turns
Mark in all the places you intend to breathe, and practice them
A little over a year ago I made the Random Note Picker, a small web app for generating groups of random pitches. I mostly use it to quiz students on their scales. It otherwise hasn’t gotten much use, but if anyone is interested there is now a slightly improved version. Check it out.