Pain while playing: Mouth, wrist and arm

Dear Sherman,

After I read through several articles on tonguing and double lip
embouchure, i have three questions:

1) What is double lip embouchure?

2) on double tonguing it suggests using tuk-kut.can I assume the
on kut sound, the tongue does not touch the reed at all. it seems
the kut is a throat sound. Am I right?? (i have not try it yet)

3) someone talk about wrist pain. However I have forearm pain. I
have this pain for a almost a year now (one year on july this
year). I had seen my doctor and try therapy treatment (but therapy
has no solution). Do you know anyone who had the same problem and
a solution? I now practice using a rest for my clarinet but my
tapping on the floor with my feet causes movement in the clarinet
which is annoying. I am 67 years old and have play the clarinet
for four years (no musical background before that time). I also
have one problem I like to get rid of. that is on high register my
tonguing creates a noticeable tuk sound on releasing the tongue
from the reed. I tried very light touch with tip of tongue and it
is still noticeable by me. Hope you can help

Hi Kim Chow

Thank you for your interesting questions concerning various
physical problems concerning playing the clarinet.

1. Double lip embouchure is taking the mouthpiece into the lips
and covering it with both the upper and lower lip. The majority of
players play with single lip, simply out of tradition, but
historically speaking and as a natural fact, the double embouchure
is the most normal for the lips to accomodate and it is always a
way of playing that will assist in avoiding pitfalls in
positioning of hands, banging of fingers, and biting , simply
because one cannot use these bad habits and play the clarinet
comfortably.

2. The double-tongue method of rapid articulation utilizes mostly
both the tongue on the first syllable and not on the second as you
say, however I have met players who use the method quite
sucessfully never touching the reed with the tongue (as wrong as
that sounds, it can be done). Most importantly, it is hardly
necessary to use double-tonguing on the clarinet. Most passages
can be achieved with single tonguing. My advice is “you have other
things to accomplish which are more important”.

3. Forearm pain is not unheard of, however I would ask if it
occurs on one or in both forearms? It can be, grasping the
clarinet with too harsh a grip, or over-practise, or bad hand or
finger position. It can also be ccaused by carpal-tunnel symdrome
or dequairvains syndrome, both of which can be solved by simple
surgery. I have had the latter and the surgery for it, which was
done as day surgery with complete recovery.

Probably you have neither of these, simply practising too much or
too instensely could also do it. In your case, my feeling is that
your problems are due to bad hand or finger position.

4-5. The noise of the sound of the reed being struck by the tongue
in the higher register is beause you are using too much tongue on
the reed, not supporting the sound, and not moving your tongue
away from the reed quicky. This is a problem which can take a
while to fix, however results are completely dependent upon
effort, quality of practise and your ability to hear the nuance of
slow improvement. If beating time with feet are disturbing to you,
beat time inside of your shoe….sounds simple, f ixes simple
problems. Try it.

I hope that these responses can be of assistance to you.

Thanks again for your letter. sincerely, sf

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