I have been playing the clarinet for 8 years and I have recently switched lesson teachers. My new teacher has told me that my embochure is incorrect (and it is, after i read your responses here). My embochure sometimes produces a Dwoop sound, especially in the higher registers, and my pitch always gets flatter as i play louder (like in long tones, for example). This is probably because I play the clarinet without using any toungue – it just rests at the bottom of my mouth. My teacher did not realize this until he asked me and now insists that i fix it. I can play fast passages pretty well on my current embochure. After 8 years of this habit, I am finding it difficult to fix.. Where should the “tip” of my toungue be touching the reed? Could i “ease” in to using my toungue so it feels less strange? And do you think I’ll be able to fix my problem? I am pretty discouraged so far. Much thanks in advance.
Lordy,lordy, that is a very familiar story. So familiar, I have to tell you that when I started back in High School, I advanced ver very rapidly because I did not use my tongue, JUST LIKE YOU) I could move really fast and made no tongue noise, because gosh it was ugly and raspy and yuckee!. Right?
I have written maybe six or seven articles about this and answered literally hundreds of questions because I suffered from the very same problem. But in retrospect, it was a problems that was not without its good things.
Staccato simply didn’t bother me and I was able to advance very rapidly, and I have found that after a half century of playing the clarinet that there are many times when you simply di not use the tongue on the reed to start a very pianissimo sound…..true.
BUT,you MUST learn to tongue correctly. Really you must and that too I have written several articles on. Please find them in the archives and look them up and read them, please.
Here are keys:
1. Low register for a good long time.
2. Always play very slowly.
3. Never play at tonguing for too long a time.
4. Stay away from the high register at the beginning, it is more difficult to articulate there.
5. Do not get discouraged.
7.Beacause you will be concentrating on your weakest point. and
8. When you do that, tonguing wil one day become the strongest aspect of your playing.
You must seek out the other articles, and make sure you do not spend too much time, also one more thing:
Practise with a mirror on the stand. You must not move your jaw when you tongue, and there will be a tendency to do that. Not horrible, but you should move toward no discernible movement in the jaw.
Trust ne NN, for I have been to that place. Don’t play fast either, only slowly, and beautifully, and that is the most important part.
You tongue incorrectly because you want it to sound better, now make it sound better by tonguing correctly. It will come, good luck, sf