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Clarinet Lessons: Long Tones

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Long tones is a very important part
of developing sound and control,
embouchure, etcetera.
It is also one of the things that
nobody ever really wants to do.
It's basically like,
we all know that in order to
keep in shape we have to really run,
and do much more cardio exercise.
Everybody knows it.
Very few people actually do it.
And I have to tell you that I am
one those included in that part.
But in terms of the long tones.
It really is one of the things that will
be able to keep you at a higher level.
And one of the few things that make
the biggest difference between
somebody who plays well
somebody who's good and
somebody who's great is the quality of
the sound and the control of the sound.
And unfortunately one of the best ways to
develop that is by practicing long tones.
Ok, now the important thing about playing
the long tones is not just practicing
long tones.
Sort of like in exercise,
there's a way that you can do it that
would be basically won't help you at all,
then you will get frustrated with it and
therefore you'll stop doing it.
And they're ways in which you
can try to do it that you can to
maximize the amount of time that your
doing and get the most out of it.
Now we were talking about
voicing previously, and
the air speed, and
the tongue position, and
we like to try to be doing it in
a way the we combine everything.
So we are going.
We're building a house.
And from the bottom up,
the important thing is that we
should always try to apply everything
that we have been talking about.
If we just try to get one particular
exercise and not combine it,
then we are not really being
able to get the most out of it.
And therefore, we'll get frustrated.
And then we wouldn't do it.
And then it becomes a down spiral.
So in order to avoid that,
let's just try to review.
With the voicing that we had
to do with the speed of air.
Fast, cold air that goes with
the height hold position.
We will apply that to long tones.
And the long tone exercise that I like is
the one that most people know,
the chromatic,
where we go chromatic five notes.
I'm doing it slowly, fast right now
because I just wanted to show you which of
the exercises I'm talking about.
Now whether we will get the air go in the
right way is we're going to try backwards.
We're going to start from forte.
And then, we will diminish the air.
Now, the reason for that is when we
are thinking forte at the beginning and
doing the diminuendo, I would like
to give you an image of lava, okay?
When it comes out of a volcano,
the lava is really scorching hot,
and it's reddish orange and
it has a great deal of intensity.
And if it starts cooling off, then it
starts getting a little darker, but
you don't want to go grabbing that thing,
because you know inside there's
still that energy of heat.
And the same thing we will
have to do with the air.
What happens is that sometimes when
we look at the dynamic that is piano,
we lose the intensity of the air.
And I must say right now,
that is usually a big mistake.
Because I have noticed in music,
about 99% of the time,
piano is where the attention is and
the intensity.
And forte is actually the resolution of
that intensity that is created, okay?
So I will start the exercise
with a low B fortissimo and
I'm going to do a diminuendo and
I'm going to try to keep
that intensity of the air
in the pianissimo as well
as in the fortissimo.
Now, what we
will do is we'll go
to the pianissimo and
then we start from
the pianissimo but
keeping that intensity.
Now, when we go
to that intensity,
that is what we have
to be thinking about
when we're talking
about piano playing.
Piano playing means that we have to
have intensity in, and speed in the air.
So we can connect the notes, and
from there we can maintain an even sound.
Now for all practical purposes
the difference between pianissimo and
fortissimo which is try to be the amount
of air, know the quality of the air.
Of course there's exceptions for
every rule, but for sure, for now,
for us to be thinking about how
to have a basic good sound and
the basic action of how
to maintain a good sound,
is the difference between pianissimo and
fortissimo is the amount of air.
Not the way in which we blow
through the instrument.