Over the lifetime of playing the clarinet I have been keeping practicing journals. I keep track of what I am working on, things I need to work on, I plan out my time, and especially, summarize my lessons!
After I stopped taking lessons after I graduated with a Master's degree, it was my turn to take the responsibility of being my own teacher!
So I write down inspirations for myself and remind myself of what I have learned from my own teachers.
Here are some of the lines from my summer practicing notebook from a couple years ago (I just found them!):
Notes from Gallagher Practicing Notebook, Summer 2011
Nuance is key.
Isolate, repeat, reflect for developing nuance of expression.
Adjectives for how I want this practice session and my playing in general to be:
personal, meaning involvement, sensitive to the music’s expression.
Don’t let yourself go through anything not a measure, passage or movement- without intention, interpretation, thought, as well as making it clean and brilliant.
Also, name each day what you want to accomplish, both technically and musically.
Remember, relaxed, “rounded” jaw and lips. Angle slightly more out??
Air solves all problems.
For every minute of practice be able to give a reason. Engage mentally. Reflect often.
Don’t just listen! HEAR!
Be a “little theater.” Each note cared for, each not counts as part of the whole. Sensitive,but controlled and with intention.
Sing in the shower! Sing alone! Make the pieces your own!
Music comes from within, without force, or even trying.
CONTROL, nobility of presentation, sound, sophistication.
“Polish” comes in a bottle. Music is organic. It grows.
Think about the notes you don’t like, hear them the way you DO want them to sound before you play them, instead of playing them- and hating them.
Spend time every day at music without the clarinet. but with a pencil. Because music truly happen from within, not without.
More music can be made in someone’s own mind than in a big concert hall in from of hundreds.
No mindless practicing! No deaf repetition!
The air= the bow.
Stop worrying about the time it takes to prepare- the technique, be patient - it WILL be ready.
The point is to put the music first, it will guide you through the forest of developing technique, the style will make you not worry about the difficulties as they present themselves.
Beauty. Poise, calm.
Find more active ways of listening.
Eliminate the feeling of competition.
Make sure what you play is something you would like to hear.
Fix problem sections. Never settle.
it is east to get inspired. It is difficult to stay inspired. Look for inspiration!
PROTECT the music while you practice!
Every day’s practice- what is the purpose?
Concert preparation, technical/artistic growth? Just because I love it? All of those.
There are basically 3 aspects to remember in making music
1. tempo and pulse
2. sound: intonation, color, dynamic range, articulation,
3. rubato [phrasing]
CONGRATULATIONS to San Marcos High School senior Melissa Kosty, who will be playing in the California All-State Honor Band. She will be rehearsing and performing in Fresno the weekend of February 19-22.
Melissa has been studying with me since she was a freshman and this is a great way to finish her high school "clarinet career"!
Also, THANK YOU to the San Marcos Knight Regiment Marching Band for their support as volunteers at a water station during the Carlsbad Marathon and Half Marathon!
I ran in the Half Marathon, and I finishing the Half Marathon in two and a half hours! Not the fastest, but I "Stuck With It!"- your water station theme.
The fear of squeaking while playing clarinet can escalate to the point that this fear becomes a roadblock in lessons and in one's musical growth.
It is true that squeaking is very undesirable in clarinet playing, but there are many worse impediments to fine musicianship, many of which may be perpetuated by fear of squeaking.
First of all, for beginners, squeaking is a natural part of getting used to the clarinet. For more advanced players, it is an embarrassing mishap. Here is a list for trouble shooting:
Why Did I Squeak?
The two most common reasons that one might squeak during playing the clarinet are: