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Clarinet Lessons: Mendelssohn - A Midsummer Night's Dream

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The skirts of A Midsummer's Night Dream,
it's another of those
that it's very likely
that we get to play in every audition.
It is designed to check
whether we have good,
crisp articulation, and how quick it is.
It's also very tricky because we have
to play softly, and going through
the register changes from the throat tones
to the long notes in the right hand, which
are usually a little bit too resistant
in comparison to the throat tones.
So one of the things that we have to
work on is to try to equalize those and
to try to have the fingers
as efficient as possible.
And what I mean by that is that a lot
of times I see many of my friends
in colleague playing the piece
using the first few measures.
The B on the right hand,
right here, and then switching for
the harmonic minor scale.
Now that usually for
most people it doesn't pose any
kind of trouble except at auditions.
It's one of those things that the key will
get a little slippery or something, and
it's one of those that is very
tricky to maintain the consistency.
So for that, I actually recommend let's
just try to keep it using the right hand
from the beginning.
That way we can have the right hand for
the B, and
then we can already be resting our
C with the pinky on the left hand.
And that way we are already in
position for that harmonic minor.
So that then instead of going like this.
And see, there I did the switch,
then we can actually have
it from the beginning.
The C right here on the left and
the B always on the right.
And there is no switch and we don't have
to worry about anything because
we are already in position.
And it's less likely that we will miss the
change, or miss that little scale, okay?
Another thing that is important to try for
the mendlesson cursor is how do we
get the articulation to be crisp
when we have to play so soft?
And the thing is that we have to go
back to what we were discussing in
the fundamentals about air support, and
thinking that the difference between
fortissimo and
pianissimo is the amount of air,
not the speed of air, okay?
So that way when we're articulating,
we have to keep the air going fast,
and we stop the air with
the tongue as such.
Well, we find the most
efficient spot in our tonguing,
as we discussed before, to stop the sound.
There, we can be thinking also
that then the little accents
then are a little bit easier to handle,
because we are releasing
air instead of going [SOUND],
it's actually the opposite.
The tongue is on the reed like this, and
then releasing is when we get the tone.
Then re, do, re, si, do, re, do, re.
It's not re, do, re,
it's not [SOUND], but it's, [SOUND].
Which means that we can think of
pushing air a little bit more.
So it's basically like [SOUND].
It's not [SOUND], but [SOUND].
So we're pushing air at all times, and
then we just get a little
bit more air into it.
In terms of the trills, the first excerpt,
it is usually good to think of
a quintuplet when we practice it slowly.
So that way we're just thinking of two
trills, and we're not trying to practice,
and try to get as many as possible.
Believe me,
two trills at the real speed is plenty.
And when we're thinking of a quintuplet,
then it helps us to think melodically, and
we can be a little less tight about it.
And therefore we can get also,
because of the quintuplet,
a little bit of air in there,
so that it sounds Interesting.
So it's [SOUND],
instead of practicing just a trill.
[SOUND] That usually
just is a little tight.
Instead we think a quintuplet.
Sounds really relaxed,
but when we get into tempo.
Then we can get it.
If you'd like to submit this Mendelssohn
excerpt, here's what I'm looking for.
Light, crisp articulation, good rhythm,
and making sure that we can keep the air
support so that then the notes
have always a full sound.
Before you submit the video,
make sure to check out what everybody
else has sent on the video exchanges.
Once you have done that,
submit your video, I'll take a look and
give you some feedback.