Monday, October 18, 2010

New York Job Offer for Philadelphia Orchestra's Principal Clarinetist -

Big stuff happening in the clarinet world.

New York Job Offer for Philadelphia Orchestra's Principal Clarinetist -

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Video of the Day

Sorry for missing yesterday! It was ridiculously busy for me. Anyway, today's video is of Martin Fröst performing Peacock Tales. It's VERY modern and includes choreography and other extended techniques. While this is not my type of music, I do have a great deal of respect for someone who can perform this and perform it so well. I love Martin's sound and his recordings of the Brahms Sonatas, Trio, and Quintet are by far my favorites. Well, without further ado, here is Peacock Tales.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Video of the Day

Mark Nuccio, acting principal of the New York Philharmonic, shares about his reed break-in process. Break-in methods are unique to the player and come in many different forms and sometimes even border on superstitious. Overall, most people agree on slowly breaking in a reed; playing it very little at first and working your way towards a full rehearsal. We would love to hear what your personal methods are! Please share in the comments!

The Magic of Scales

Since I have been playing I have had many people tell me that scales were important. I did believe them, but I still never worked much on my scales, finding them boring and and tedious. I wanted to play pieces and etudes, not put in the work to learn scales. Since starting conservatory, my teacher has listened to me play all of my Baermann scales every week. This is definitely an incentive to start practicing! Well, lo and behold, as I practice my scales, all other aspects of my playing improve. Tone and legato are improved by using more air support as I traverse the different registers. Technique improves as the fingers begin to move with a machine-like precision. Today, I pulled out a piece which is very technical, and I was able to play it without much difficulty. I realized that many of the parts I had had troubles with were simply scales and arpeggios; things that my daily scale work had made easy. I now, more than ever, have total faith in the power of scales to improve a player and to improve them faster than any other kind of practice. Deep and consistant scale work helps players of all ages to improve by leaps, rather than small steps. Scales are the building blocks of all tonal music and must be worked on daily, from new student to seasoned professional.


Thanks to all of you who have answered the poll question. For those of you who answered "other" may I ask what reeds you use and why? Thanks!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Video of the Day

Ricardo Morales is undoubtedly one of the greatest clarinet players alive. In this video he shares about his favorite orchestral excerpt, as well as the one her fears the most.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Video of the Day

Eddie Daniels is an incredible clarinet player. His ability to play both classical and jazz so well makes him unique. I chose this video because it showcases both of these styles and the mastery with which he plays them.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Video of the Day

Jose Franch-Ballester is one of my favorite clarinet players at the moment. He has many great videos on his YouTube account. You should go give them a listen!

Also, I would love to hear your thoughts of the performances and pieces included in these videos! Thanks.

Video of the Day

This video was recently posted on Facebook by Morrie Backun. It's a beautiful piece with a wonderful performance by Ricardo Morales. I hope you all enjoy!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Reeds and the Plethora of Clarinet Accesories

There are few things as frustrating to a clarinetist as reeds. If you all are anything like me, you are constantly searching for the perfect reed. I buy different brands, different strengths, and different cuts, all trying to find the ideal reed. That is, one that suits my mouthpieces, feels right in terms of response and articulation, and matches my tonal concept. This task is perhaps one of the most baffling and often ends with a frustrated clarinetist with a messed up idea of what they want in a reed.

No matter how many brands I have tried, I find myself always returning to the same brand and cut of reed. This certain reed has always worked well for me, but I keep trying other brands for the chance of finding something better. I had a teacher who once told me that one could get lost trying to try all the different reeds in the world and that one would do well to find some that work and to stick to them. I believe this to be good advice, to an extent.

I think it is very wise of clarinet players to always be on the lookout for something that can make their jobs easier, whether it be reeds, mouthpieces, barrels, ligatures, clarinets, etc. I think the real danger comes when a person becomes obsessed with trying equipment, constantly being captivated by the "new" and the shiny things that come along. We must always turn a keen ear to everything that we try, to avoid being deceived by the beautiful appearance, or being swayed by the long list of A-list players who use said piece of equipment.

Each person, clarinet, and reed is different. Even if a piece of equipment works for most people, it may not be ideal for you. You, and you alone will be the final judge of that, but never pass up opportunities for input. Have other people listen to you play on different things, record yourself and listen very, very carefully, for often, the changes in the sound will be very subtle, if even present. There is a huge, dark forest of clarinets and accessories. Before you venture into it, be sure that you have the skills required to get back out. If you are not listening carefully and looking for the input of players that are wiser and better than you, you will likely get very lost. Always trust your ears. They are the truest judge of any piece of equipment.

The Genesis of a New Project

Hello all! I am very excited to start this blog. I hope that it will become a place where clarinetists of all ages, skill levels, and backgrounds will be able to learn, contribute, and grow together. I, as a student, have SO much to learn and am incredibly open to ideas of all kinds about the clarinet and music. I hope that we can all work together to spread information regarding our mutual passion, which is in part the clarinet, but in a much larger sense, music.