A tool to improve unreliable high notes

Sent Sunday, September 8, 2013

Clarinet Mentors
For clarinetists who want to perform more easily and beautifully
In This Issue                                       September 8, 2013     
  • A Note From Michelle Anderson - Welcome to September
  • Free Training - A practise tool to improve unreliable high notes
  • Michelle Recommends - Record yourself!
  • Clarinet Is Easy - Complete how-to lessons for beginners and self-taught intermediate players
  • From The Clarinet Mentors Community - World Clarinet Alliance
A Note from Michelle Anderson


Welcome to the Clarinet Mentors bi-weekly newsletter.  I welcome new readers to the Clarinet Mentors community, and I hope that you enjoy the clarinet knowledge that is shared here. Feel free to comment on any of the videos on the YouTube page, or by sending me an email. My goal is to continue to make life easier for clarinetists all around the world!

I always feel like the back-to-school season is a beginning. Many of my school-aged students come back to lessons after a summer away. Most of my regular musical groups resume rehearsals. I'm looking forward to my wind ensemble starting up later this week, and the adult clarinet choir that I coach resumes soon. I am doing many clinics in the next two weeks at schools to help total beginners get a good start. I love doing that sort of workshop. People learn so much more quickly if they know how to do it properly. My goal for September is to enjoy all of my teaching, but still get in a few good mountain hikes before the snow flies!

If you have any clarinet-related questions, please send them my way. It may take me a while to respond but I will! You can put a comment directly under my videos in the comments box, or send me an email. I am starting a new feature in my newsletter this issue called "From the Clarinet Mentors Community" where I will feature some of the interesting clarinet-related things that many of you have sent me. Have a great week, and thanks for being a part of my community!

Free Training - A Practise Technic to Improve Unreliable High Notes
I am always looking for new ideas for the Clarinet Mentors newsletter. Often, if I am teaching a lesson, and I notice that the same teaching tool seems to come out of my clarinet tool box frequently, I'll write it down, and create a video to share with you.
Today's free training I tend to use with my more advanced students (mostly because isolated high notes show up more often in more advanced repertoire). It can be useful to players of many levels. This is a small tool that can help our body become comfortable on a high note that either follows a much lower note, or starts a phrase. Sometimes it feels tricky to set our air and embouchure just right to comfortably hit a high note in the dynamic or timbre that we wish. This video gives you some ideas of how you can play with that note in many different dynamics and styles, to help your body attune better to that note. It may not give you instant improvement, but if you try it for a week or two, you will notice that particular note works more effortlessly for you.
As always, I enjoy hearing from you, so please add your comments in the comments box below the video on YouTube, or send me an email. Click on the video image below to watch this video lesson.
Michelle Recommends: Record Yourself
I've said this many times before, and I'm going to emphasize it again now. One of the most valuable sources of feedback is to listen to yourself play. Of course, we tend to be our own worst critic, but, we often can improve those things that we don't like the sound of. 
With today's technology, it is easy to get a great recording from your smart phone, computer, tablet, or any other handy recording device. Use video if you can. Look for tension in your body. Are your shoulders hunched? Is your jaw clenched? Are the ends of your fingernails turning white because you are squeezing the keys? Is your bottom lip pulled away from the reed, making a nice concave embouchure from your bottom lip to chin? Are your fingers moving gently, or smacking the keys? Are your fingers arched? Is your air moving smoothly, or "bumping" on individual notes?
All of these things are useful to track. I challenge you to record yourself, and then try and improve one thing. Record again. When the "one thing" is good, fix the next thing. Record again. I'd love to hear if this helps... Most people know this is a good idea, but avoid it anyway.
I challenge you to try it, and let me know what you learn!
Clarinet Is Easy - Your Step-by-Step Beginner Course - Now Available! (Also enjoyed by many intermediate level players)
How To Solve Your Common Clarinet Frustrations and Play Clarinet More Easily
I firmly believe that if anyone has the "recipe" for how to play clarinet, things are really relatively easy to do. Most of our frustrations come from inadvertently learning bad habits along the way. With that in mind, I have created for you a 10-lesson comprehensive course for beginners (and self-taught intermediate players) that gives you the tools to truly learn the clarinet easily, while avoiding all of the most common frustrations that can plague us. I believe that these lessons can save you hours of grief by giving you the best practise systems that have worked for hundreds of clarinetists. The lessons have great content, and are presented in a video format so that you can watch them again and again. If you would like to play with more ease and have a clear understanding of the fundamentals of clarinet playing, you can get more information on the Clarinet Is Easy course here (including some free preview videos):
Click here for the free preview videos to Clarinet Is Easy
If you are curious about this, you can try these lessons with a 100% 30-Day  Money-Back Guarantee . (That means that you can try a full 5 lessons before you decide if you have received great value from the course.) If it is not the right style for you, you get your tuition refunded, no problem. I invite you to try it now! Many students have received amazing results so far from this course (and you can read their comments on the order page).
From The Clarinet Mentors Community
I receive many interesting emails from folks in the Clarinet Mentors Community. I will be regularly sharing some of these things with you in upcoming newsletters.
I received a note from Mike Getzin, who reminded me of the World Clarinet Alliance. Their mission is to serve the clarinet, the music and each other. There are many interested clarinet resources available to you, and there is no charge to join. Many knowledgable professionals share their wisdom through this site. You can find it at:
About Michelle Anderson
Michelle Anderson, the founder of Clarinet Mentors,  is a professional clarinetist and teacher who currently lives in Vancouver BC. Her professional career spans  30 years and she currently plays regularly with the Vancouver Opera Orchestra, the Pacific Symphonic Wind Ensemble and the West Coast Chamber Music series. She has performed with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, the CBC Vancouver Orchestra, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet Touring Orchestra and many other groups. Michelle currently specializes in teaching adults to play clarinet more easily and quickly through online resources, and conducts the Vancouver Clarinet Choir.
Michelle Anderson, Clarinet
Thanks for reading this biweekly newsletter.
Helping you to find success on your instrument with sound teaching techniques, and useful learning systems.


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