Practice: 2 hours, Rehearsal: 45 minutes, Lesson: 1 hour. Evening practice was marred by the awful dinner choices I had made in the hours prior: cookies, more cookies, old-ish cheese, coffee, blueberry coffee cake…dinner! Sometimes I eat like a 12 year old home alone. Need to work on that.
Two big things today that helped me were highly counter intuitive.
- The first was what it takes to create a convincing legato sound- having swift, firm finger motion in slow lyrical passages works REALLY well but is physically not necessarily demonstrative of what the music means to me. From what I understand on brass instruments, you learn this pretty quick- put a valve down slowly and you’re in for nothing but a big mess. But on clarinet? It’s easier to get away with.
- The second thing had to do with the changes I made in the way I use my self to play clarinet. I had an Alexander Technique class in which I was able to play and get advice on my usage. There are a lot of wacky things going on when I play, a lot of them completely unnecessary. (tensing legs, pulling shoulders in, and pulling the head down at the point of blowing). We made a lot of minute changes that I could feel but not see. I could observe that it looked like I was sititing fairly straight and symmetrically, but my kinesthetic sense was telling me that I was twisted and bent at a strange angle. I *knew* I wasn’t but what felt “normal” for me was actually what I was feeling- twisted and bent. (We’re talking about a really minute level. It’s not as Quasimodo as it sounds). So the true sensation of “straight” or ergonomically well-organized feels “wrong.” The counter-intuitiveness is that the new “right” will always feel wrong at first.