Don’t talk to me about gadgets, please.

Hello again. I hope I can bother you with another question. I have been playing now for about 2-1/2 months. I play a YCL 450 that is in very good new condition and has been checked and adjusted by a tech but I am having a terrible time with high notes. When I play high notes especially middle B all is well for a few minutes of playing but then I start getting squeeks and squawks and notes that just won’t play at all. To be specific, I was trying to play the beginning of Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto, 2nd movement and everything was ok at first but after a few minutes the trouble began. I am using a Yamaha 4C mouthpiece and Rico Royal 2-1/2 reeds. I have also tried VD #2 trad but they are worse. I have tried a VD 5RV Lyre mouthpiece but it is much worse than the 4C. Do I need more playing experience to try the higher registers? I am at a loss and hope you can help.
Hello Paul: Thanks for your letter and the first thing I can think to say is congratulations for playing the Mozart Concerto after playing just a couple of months!
Now that is amazing, and it is also amzingly wrong and will lead you being
extremely frustrated with whatever progress you can make, and you may make much progress ,however it will be fraught with building many many bad habits of incorrect playing. In short, you will not play very well and you will have also deluded yourself for no good reason.
The reason I say repeatedly “playing correctly” is not just something to say, but is based upon spending a lifetime learning and playing the clarinet. And the best way to learn to play is to play correctly,
embouchure, fingers,tongue and all the rest. Any deviations from the way of correct playing will lead you to a dead end and much frustration.
You must have a teacher ,if possible, something which is almost always
possible, someone to guide you to correct playing.
The reason we do not start with Mozart is that it is one of the most
difficult works to play for a clarinetist, and because the melody is easy to hear, we fool ourselves into believing that it must be the same to play.
Any movement of the Concerto must be played with the discipline of practice, the correct kind of practice.
Do not talk about equipment, please, for changing mouthpieces, clasrinets, reeds, ligatures, literally everything is the worst
trap, known usually as a slippery slope
The more gadgets you festoon your clarinet with , the more you are just diddling, nothing more. Diddle diddle diddle, this is whats done at many so-called schools of music. No listening to music, no studying of scores, nothing as simple as that. Just diddle diddle diddle.
Any medium Van Doren mouthpiece can be played upon in order to learn correct embouchure, breath control tonguing and all the rest. Using many will get you a headache quickly.
Teacher is one thing, a clarinetist and or student of clarinet is best.
Second is a method book, even Klose, the large comprehensive volume will last you for years, and you will always have something to practice.This small list of suggestions , you must take literally.
You may learn to blow the horn a bit without them, but you will lay the foundation for a good technic, sound, articulation and beautiful playing with them.
Take me seriously please.
best of all good luck and play well, my friend.


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