Building stamina

Hello Professor Friedland,

What can or should one do to build up their playing stamina? After 45 minutes or so I’m no longer able to maintain my embrochure. If I take a break from playing,even an hour or so, I can play again but the loss returns quickly.
Also, I read in an answer to someone else that when using a double lip embouchure
“You must use softer reeds, with less resistance.” How much softer? I have been using Vandoren 3s and didn’t make a change with I switched to double lip.
Thanks again for keep up this repository of clarinet wisdom.

In attempting to build playing stamina, or the length of time you can
maintain your embouchure at any one given time, the first thing you must do is to determine just how long is the duration for which you are aiming?
Let us take for instance, the Brahms f minor sonata for clarinet and piano, Opus 120, #1. It is about 20 or 22 minutes in duration, divided into 4 movements, the first being the longest at around 8 or 9 minutes, the 2nd being the most sustained on the embouchure, slow and long and sustained. The third faster and lasting a shorter time, the last an allegro, employing some fast technical playing, but not too difficult for the
When I am preparing for a concert with let us say, three or 4 pieces of this length, I play each movement of each work all the way through, counting the rests where the piano plays alone and simulating a performance.
At the conclusion of such a concert I am tired but it would be possible to play more if needed.
I can do this, but as you can see, it is not constant blowing into the instrument.
So, perhaps there is a start for endurance.
Now I use medium reeds, specifically #3.
The mouthpiece you are playing can make it easier or more difficult to sustain, and when you pick one, you must pick it for the ability to hold and sustain notes, and intune as well.
This is another step. Everyone has a different mouthpiece and all of the mouthpieces you will try are a bit different, even ones of the same numbering or facing. No one is better than another, much of it is dependant upon the maturity of your embouchure.
There is no particular point in trying to play solidly for hours, using some sort of measuring in length of time you are blowing because regardless of the work or kind of ensemble in which you are playing, there are many rests and places where others are playing.
So, it is difficult to determine the exact response. It would depend on how
long you have been playing, what type of ensemble, music, etc.
I would practice long tones for 15 or so minutes at every practice session, then intervals, scales, and the repertoire you are playing last, with breaks, many breaks in between each segment of practice because that is the
way opf music. You do not just blow forever or when they carry you off in exhaustion, it being a human art after all.
I hope this helps you in determing the kind of practice, mouthpiece, reed and length of time needed in order to lengthen your stamina.
best wishes,
Sherman Friedland


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