Clarinet – Focus Without Tension (Musicians)(Psychology)(Pain)(Strain)(Injuries)(Posture)(Alexander Technique)(Albuquerque)

by ethankind on June 9, 2012

This ebook, An Alexander Technique Approach to Clarinet Technique, is published on this website in a PDF format. It is very detailed and practical, and it will give you the physical tools you need to take the limits off of your ability to create the accurate clarinet technique you want without sacrificing your body.
This ebook is also for sale on all AMAZON websites in a KINDLE format.
Located in Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.A. (MOVEMENT THERAPY)

If I was to give a traditional definition of FOCUS when playing the clarinet, I’d say that focus is ALL of your attention on playing the piece exactly like you want it to sound from beginning to end, with no mistakes and no memory slips.

What I just described is what the Alexander Technique would call end-gaining. End-gaining is performing on the clarinet with all of your attention placed on getting to the end of a piece as flawlessly and musically as possible, no matter the physical or emotional price.

So, when I see a clarinetist performing this way, there are some very consistent things I see being done physically. The clarinetist’s head/torso is usually hunkered down to the clarinet, as the clarinetist tries to guarantee accuracy and no memory slips by focusing like a laser. There is tension in the whole body, as the clarinetist holds it together. The clarinetist’s brow is usually furrowed, concentrating on playing well.

What if we flip this over, and have the clarinetist perform with the means-whereby. When the clarinetist performs with the means-whereby, then the clarinetist is playing with his or her focus on a fully open and upright posture and ease throughout the whole body, as the performer trusts the body to realize the clarinetist’s intentions.

This is performing in the means and not focusing on the ends. The result is a clarinet performance without excess physical tension and poor posture – in other words, not sacrificing his or her body for the result.

The question is, does the clarinetist who plays this way create just as wonderful of a performance as a clarinetist who sits or stands with the determination to play great no matter what? Yes!, and even better, once the clarinetist is willing to let go of a lifetime of playing for the best results, no matter the cost.

This is a very powerful and at times emotional thing for a clarinetist to go through. After years of placing all of your focus, energy, practice time, and performances on trying to guarantee the best possible playing, and then to place your focus on how easy you can make the clarinet, by taking 100% care of your body, this can be a very big jolt to your psyche. But, you’re worth it!

Back to my question: Will you play better from the means instead of the ends? Yes!, because you will actually end up with an evolving technique and evolving performances that keep getting better and better and better. How?

Because, if every time you sit or stand to warm up, you focus on how upright and balanced your posture on the clarinet can be, and how much less muscular work you can do to sit or stand fully at ease on the clarinet, then you’re really in the moment without straining your body.

If, as you warm up, you let go of tension in your arms, hands, fingers, torso, and your brow, as you watch your body do less and less work to create a more effortless and more accurate performance, this is an amazing gift to yourself.

IN OTHER WORDS, IF YOUR FOCUS IS ON HOW LITTLE YOU CAN DO TO CREATE THE MOST POWERFUL AND DYNAMIC PERFORMANCE, THEN YOU TRULY FLIP THE CLARINETIST’S TRADITIONAL DEFINITION OF FOCUS ON ITS HEAD. FOCUS BECOMES AN ACT OF RELEASE, NOT AN ACT OF HOLDING IT TOGETHER.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Bill Jenkins June 19, 2012 at 3:32 pm

Ethan,

I want to buy your clarinet/ A technique ebook but don’t want to use the kindle. I did this with the piano ebook I bought from you and was able to download it into pdf format. Please tell me how I can do this with the clarinet ebook.

Regards,

Bill

Reply

ethankind June 19, 2012 at 4:04 pm

Go to my website, http://www.ethankind.com, and click on PDF eBooks, and you can pay me through paypal, and I’ll send you the ebook in a pdf format.

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