Welcome to the Clarinet Mentors newsletter. I enjoy sharing my best clarinet pointers with clarinetists all over the world, and I appreciate that you are part of the Clarinet Mentors Community!
I have recently returned from a few weeks of family holidays in Minnesota and Manitoba. Activities included lake cottages, camping, and some family projects. It was lovely to have a change of pace and spend time with family and friends.
Now, I am getting reacquainted with my clarinets, which came on holidays, but only came out to play a few times...Good thing I have some good routines to get back in shape fairly quickly! I'm sure enjoying my new Backun clarinet - it almost plays itself, but I guess I do need to add some of the ingredients myself!
Up next for me is a return to my regular musical groups and a Canada-wide tour with the Turning Point Ensemble in early October.
I hosted a Clarinet Mentors online masterclass with some of the Beta Testers for my new clarinet course, and it was a pleasure to hear a variety of players, all with a passion for playing clarinet well, and enjoying it. I am lucky to be part of such a great community of clarinetists, and I'm glad that you are here too.
Thanks so much for being part of my Clarinet Community.
Double Lip Embouchure - you should experiment with this, even if just as a training exercise...
I have been hearing more and more about some of the best players using a double lip embouchure (one where the top lip lightly covers the edge of the top teeth). It has some definite advantages. People who play with a double-lip embouchure rarely "bite" too much on the mouthpiece, which is a common bad habit. This style of playing also helps to create a rounder mouthpiece, which produces a warmer tone. Ricardo Morales (who doesn't use double-lip most of the time) has declared it to be the best embouchure out there, and recommends it to his students.
|I think there is value in exploring it as part of a regular warm-up routine. In this video, I explore this technic and share my observations with you. I don't think that I sound better on it, but that is mostly my unfamiliarity with it. I have decided to experiment with it to discover if it does improve anything in my sound. For me, fast articulation is tricky using the double-lip embouchure, which is why I prefer the more conventional "teeth on the mouthpiece" approach. However, anything that helps us to develop a better sound is worth pursuing. For me, if I warm up a bit with a double lip embouchure and then switch back to my regular one, I find that I naturally bring my top lip down more, which is a good clarinet habit.|
Free Training Video: [ https://youtu.be/fZJFlY-c9iE ]
Who knows? Perhaps after exploring with this technic more, I may be recommending it more to students, and using it more myself. At this point, I introduce it to you, and I am curious to know your thoughts on this.
I am very excited to be finally nearing the end of a two year project to create a clarinet course for you that uses ALL of my favourite clarinet pointers and combines them with a very organized set of lesson plans to help you master them.
This course will be designed for players with an intermediate level of clarinet skills. (If you are newer to the instrument, or basically self-taught, the Clarinet Is Easy course, below, is a great starting point to prepare you for this upcoming course.)
There are still lots of video edits to do, and worksheets to finalize, and the huge task of loading it all up to a website where you can access all of the great lessons. I am not announcing the exact release date yet, but I am hoping for the next month or two. It is currently about 80% recorded, and the rest should be recorded soon if all goes well.
When this is complete, I will be ready to celebrate! I want to invite you to the celebrations. I will be hosting a series of special events, including some live online trainings that will allow members of the Clarinet Mentors community to have some live mini lessons, and ask me your clarinet questions. I'll also be sharing some great sample lessons from the course with you. If you are interested in taking part in any of these events, the best way to get the advance notice is to sign up for my VIP Clarinet List. It only takes a minute, and then I will know that you are interested in some great new training (and during my celebration week, it is all at no charge to you) to help you play clarinet more easily. I have a quick (less than one minute) video with directions on how you can sign up. VIP Clarinet members will receive special discounts and exclusive offers, so please sign up now by clicking here!
Daniel Bonade Clarinet Tone Production
Shannon Thompson, a clarinetist from Western Carolina University, has complied a very interesting lecture which examines the teachings of Daniel Bonade related to clarinet tone. There are many helpful pointers in the video that illustrate how influential Mr. Bonade has been in creating the concept of the modern classical clarinet tone. There is some very technical discussions of equipment, such as mouthpieces and it gives some interesting perspectives on equipment and sound.
When it comes to gear, we are fortunate that there are many new barrels and mouthpieces currently in production that make things radically easier for clarinetists. It is interesting to hear about how some of the early clarinet technicians made their contributions to the evolution of the clarinet.
I recommend that you listen to this, and experiment with some of the concepts here in your own playing.
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 thousands 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):
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).
Michelle Anderson, the founder of Clarinet Mentors, is a professional clarinetist and teacher who currently lives in Vancouver BC. Her professional career spans over 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 is a Backun Musical Services Artist and plays on Backun clarinets and mouthpieces.
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As a member of Michelle's Clarinet Mentors community, you will receive invitations to special live online trainings, the Clarinet Mentors newsletter which has video lessons as well as recommendations on helpful clarinet gear. There is no charge to join, and you can un-signup very easily if it is not a good fit. If you haven't signed up for the community before, you are missing the regular Clarinet Mentors trainings!