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Clarinet Lessons: How to Practice

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When we're talking about practicing,
we're always trying to find opportunities
to improve what we're doing.
While we're supposed to work on what we're
not good at yet, I suggest that it's
always good to practice with something
that we know that we're doing very well so
that then it helps us to get confidence.
And therefore we'll feel
a little bit more open
to trying the things that
are actually difficult.
Practicing, it's always a little
bit difficult because it always is
challenging us.
And therefore it's important that we start
with something that
gives us encouragement.
Practice each concept everyday, breathing,
sound, articulation and scales.
With the musical tone, practicing
is very important because scales
we can tend to practice in a mechanical
way just to get finger to finger, and
that might be interesting to some,
but it's really not enough.
Plus the way that we need to get
going with this are that we,
when we're practicing scales,
we have to be thinking of style.
And when we're thinking about style,
what I mean is you have to envision pieces
of music that are important to us or
pieces that we will be playing.
And we can envision the color and
the intensity of those pieces and
when we're practicing the scales and
the exercises that we're doing,
it will help us to be working
in a way that we can apply it.
Otherwise, we are practicing something
technical that will help us get the notes,
but not the style.
And therefore we will stay
being just instrumentalists and
we want to help ourselves
to become better musicians.
Keep a practice diary.
This way you can always be
able to see your chart and
see your progress little by little.
Sometimes we are actually doing a lot of
progress, but because we're doing it and
we're the ones who are looking at it,
and it's a daily progress, and
progress, it goes in small,
little increments,
sometimes we feel like we
are actually not getting better.
But if we actually keep that diary, after
a while, we can actually look back that
one week, two weeks, a month, for example,
and see how fast we're playing our scale,
how fast we were doing articulation and
then compare it.
And that actually is extremely important
so then it will give us encouragement and
help us to find which other places
where we're not getting that progress.
And then we can concentrate
on those spots.
There's an online practice chart
available to you on the student page.
The actual importance of
doing it is very important.
Because I would like for
you to feel empowered.
When you're actually doing it and you have
your sheet, you can write things down, and
then you are actually
thinking about it and
it helps you to mentally prepare yourself
for the adventure of the progress.
This is the most important thing.
We have to always be thinking
that this is a work in progress.
And we should try to emulate the feeling
of that week before Christmas.
That week before Christmas
where we are always or
just thinking we are gonna be able
to see some of our loved ones.
Who knows what kind of
present I am gonna get.
You're looking forward to sharing some of
the most wonderful times with friends and
family, and that's how we actually
have to try to envision practicing.
Because it's hard, and
if we actually are just dreading
practicing, then we won't do it.
So let's try to find those little
things that actually help us
to feel encouraged to practice.
Some of the things for
performance that I find useful are,
that you have to see each piece that
you are going to be performing and
try to find what are the things
that are difficult about them.
And then you can try to stress them.
For example, there are pieces that
are actually short and they seem that
they're okay, but the thing is that
if there's a short but dense piece,
one that one is playing all the time,
therefore it's a very tiring piece.
Then we have to be thinking about stamina.
So sometimes the thing that we have to
practice is not just the notes, but
sometimes we have to practice just getting
through the piece, no matter what.
It's just getting through it.
So one of the important
things is always analyze and
try to think what
are the difficult parts of it.
Now that we're getting close to
the performance, it's time for
us to start considering the things that
will make that performance memorable.
Believe me that most of the time,
the important thing is how to
reach the audience, and how to play with
your colleagues in a musical manner.
The technical things are yes,
they're very important,
but the thing that you have to be thinking
is how the musical approach goes.
So we have to start blending in the
technical issues that we've been working
on and how they relate to the whole,
how the phrasing goes.
And how we deal with the endurance
of playing a piece that
actually is long and therefore, we have
to have mental and physical stamina.
So, when we're getting a little closer, we
have to start playing through the pieces
just so we can find where our weak spot
is, whether it's mental stamina or
physical stamina, and
get used to doing those kinds of things.
So that then we can feel more
confident at the time comes and
when the performance comes is just yet
another of these opportunities for
us to share music making.
Not that we get caught like a deer with
the headlights, there and it's a surprise.
But it's also just an opportunity to
finally put all the work that we put
together and present it to the people for
the love of music.