Clarinet – The Joy of Making Technique Changes (Musicians)(Psychology)(Pain)(Strain)(Injuries)(Posture)(Alexander Technique)(Albuquerque)

by ethankind on January 8, 2014

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.

In the Alexander Technique there is a primary concept called CONSCIOUS CONTROL. Defined it means when you ask a muscle to do something, whether release or move, it does so with ease and grace. This is about regaining control over all of your voluntary musculature, so that you can stop hurting and/or do any activity with ease and coordination

I’d like to look at CONSCIOUS CONTROL and expand its definition to encompass your ability to have the power to step back, see what isn’t working on the clarinet, and realize repairing your technique need not be overwhelming.

If you have been reading my articles, it must be clear to you that I really believe any clarinetist can make the changes necessary to be a wonderful clarinet player, and not have to spend a lifetime struggling against an inability to do what you want on the clarinet.

I realize as I write this, that there are times I have verbalized this to a clarinet client, and the clarinet player looked at me as if I were crazy, was expecting too much, or was pressuring the clarinetist to change what isn’t working in his or her technique, or all of the above.

So, let me address this head on. THERE IS A GIGANTIC DIFFERENCE BETWEEN EXPECTING/DEMANDING A CLARINETIST BECOME AS A GOOD AS THEY CAN BECOME, AND BETWEEN INSPIRING A CLARINET PLAYER TO FIND A WAY TO MAKE THE INSTRUMENT A JOY TO PLAY.

Having said this, it only works when you inspire the clarinet player to make changes, and you can offer the clarinetist very clear specific changes that work. If anyone can do this extraordinarily well, it is the Alexander Technique teacher.

In a nutshell, the Alexander Technique teacher is able to do this unbelievably well, because the Alexander teacher has the postural and physical skills knowledge and the vocabulary to show the clarinet player how to let go of what isn’t working and discover what works.

Let me return to this idea of inspiring the clarinetist to make changes. Probably by the time the clarinet player has spent years playing with a specific technique, the clarinetist has made changes to his or her technique more than once, and really dreads having to do this again.

There is a reason for this dread. IF WHAT YOU’VE BEEN DOING HASN’T MADE THE CLARINET AS EASY TO PLAY AS YOU’VE ASPIRED TO BY NOW, WHY SHOULD IT EVER WORK?

Let me state the question more clearly. IS THERE A COMPLETE CLARINET TECHNIQUE OUT THERE UNIQUE TO YOU, THAT WILL LET YOU DO WHAT YOU WANT ON THE CLARINET WITH GREAT EASE?

The answer is yes, but you have to be open to making the changes, looking at the clarinet very differently. Let me make a generalization here.

By the time a clarinetist, after years of a technique that hasn’t given the performer the freedom to play with ease and joy, even opens the door to adjusting his or her technique, it is usually not something looked forward to by the player.

In other words the clarinetist doesn’t want to go through that again! Is there a way to create an emotional shift in the clarinet player, so that he or she runs to the clarinet to change how they play? YES!

IF YOU ARE WILLING TO ACCEPT THAT CHANGES MADE YOUR TECHNIQUE AT THIS LATE DATE CAN BE A PLEASURE TO EXPERIENCE, THEN YOU’RE MOST OF THE WAY THERE. What do I mean?

When you’re young and the clarinet teacher teaches you as specific technique, you just do it for the cause of mastery of the instrument. This means you may or may not be kind to yourself as you master a specific technique, but once mastered, you quickly forget how tough you may have been on yourself.

Now, you’re probably very aware of the potential discomfort in learning a new clarinet technique or making changes to an existing one, so you balk at “starting over”.

Let me reframe “starting over”. It ISN’T starting over if you make changes to your technique you have never done, you have the faith that it will work, you know at the end of the process you will be able to do what you want on the clarinet, and you are ready to replace mastery with joy.

If, when you were first learning clarinet technique, or making changes to an existing technique, mastery of the clarinet was the goal, then learning a new technique was something you wanted over as quickly as possible.

IF YOU NOW CHOOSE TO REPLACE MASTERY WITH JOY, THEN IT CAN BE A JOY AND PLEASUREABLE TO REVAMP YOUR CLARINET TECHNIQUE.

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