How do I get Long Life from My Reeds?"
I soak my reeds to hydrogen peroxide. Yesterday, I soaked my reeds, which I had used for 3 months, in hydrogen peroxide. I soaked them for 2 hours. I think that two hours is enough. While soaking the reeds into hydrogen peroxide, bubbles appeared. At the same time, I realized that my reeds were getting very clean. When I picked them up they were like new reeds. I dried them. And today, I used them. The tone quality got better. I suggest that you should soak your reed once per several months
Care of Mouthpieces
These days, I see many clarinetists who swab their mouthpieces. However, that is normally very bad for the mouthpiece. There is a way to carefully swab the mouthpiece; nonetheless, I don't swab to my mouthpiece. The reason I don't do it is that the swab can rub on the tip of mouthpiece. If your swab rubs the tip of mouthpiece many times, the tip of mouthpiece will be worn away. It means that you will cause serious problems in tone quality. For that reason, I don't swab my mouthpiece. Instead, I wash my mouthpiece very carefully with lukewarm water and soap once per a week.
The Necessity of Practicing on Major/Minor Scales, Broken Chords, and Thirds
I started taking clarinet lessons last year. The teacher made me play scales, broken chords, and third intervals on each keys, using Carl Baermann's method book. At first, I thought playing scales was easy since I was playing the keys that don't have many sharps or flats. However, I started having problems when I started playing the scales and broken chords that have many sharps and flats. I had been told told that practicing on scales and broken chords were were very important many times by many people. But I could not realize what they meant until this summer.
I went back to Japan and stayed there for about a month. I had a chance to go to the Junior High School where I graduated from, to see the wind ensemble activity. They were practicing on the Lullaby, and the Lezginka from the "Gayne Suite" by A. Khatyaturian. I got the sheet music , and I practiced also. I felt that the pieces were difficult, however, I was almost able to play both pieces by the end of one week, even though I did not go to the school every day and stay for a long time. I did not practice it really. I surprised myself. Nonetheless, the clarinet players in the wind ensemble were more surprised than I! They got the music sheet 7 months ago, and they were almost able to play entire pieces without mistakes at the time when I arrived at the school.
I thought "Why I am I able to learn the piece so fast?" The idea came up in my mind instantly: the scales. The Lezginka consists mostly of scales. The reason I could play the piece without feeling any difficulty was that I had already practiced the scales in keys that were used to the piece. By practicing the scales and chord progressions, not only will you be used to playing in the key, but also you can decide what key or lever of the clarinet you have to use for the note instantly in your head.
However, it is a fact that many clarinet players don't want to practice the scales and chords in each key. The real problem may be how to make it fun to play the scales and chords. That's something that needs a solution!
I did not mention about third intervals, however, there are many examples of pieces using third intervals. Therefore, we should practice those as much as possible, too.
Yoshiaki Onishi was born in Hokkaido, Japan. He started to learn the clarinet when he was in 7th grade, and has now played the clarinet for 4 years. Many people say that he is practicing very hard. They think that he has played the clarinet for a much longer time, and are surprised when they heard that he has played the clarinet for only 4 years.
He has also started to learn how to compose music. He is learning this by himself because he can't find anyone presently who can teach him how to compose. Yoshiaki has composed a Flute Sonata which is 16 minutes in length and is currently composing a Concertino for Clarinet and Symphonic Band.
You can reach Yoshiaki at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his Web page at http://www.angelfire.com/ca2/yoshdog
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