Hi everybody,

It was so great to meet you all this week and I look forward to  an exciting semester of playing music and learning our instruments! It was great to hear you all play and hear your individual goals. I’m very excited to be helping you achieve your musical goals this year! I advise all of you to invest in the preferred method books I have listed. As well, many of you didn’t have a mouthpiece patch on your mouthpiece. These can be purchased on Amazon and your local music store/Long and McQuade or Cosmo for as little as $10 for 5. The mouthpiece patch will alleviate tension on the teeth from the vibrations of the mouthpiece and will make playing a whole lot easier for everyone – highly recommended!

Riana Kassam

It was great to meet you on Thursday, you sound great! I apologize for the miscommunication and error in scheduling; we will be making up for the lost time in the coming two weeks (I will be at the school at 4pm both of the coming weeks).

The higher register on clarinet can often seem daunting and challenging, but adjusting your posture, embouchure, and breathing will help greatly. Remember to keep the clarinet at a comfortable position in front of yourself (almost a 45 degree angle).

Don’t forget to keep your right pinky over the keys instead of under the clarinet – this will help later when you have passages of music that require more finger movement.

Start your practice routine with long tones, as this will speed up your understanding of breathing, tone, tuning, dynamics and the relationship between all. Start with a low C and remember to time your breathing and dynamics, so you don’t run out of breath at the end. Maintain a consistent tone on the clarinet and remember to breathe from the diaphragm.

When blowing into the clarinet think cold and fast-moving air, as if you are trying to cool down a cup of hot chocolate. Remember to almost have the shape of a smile at the edges of your mouth, with your lower lip slightly curled over your teeth. To check that your lower lip is in its correct place, play an open G and put the pinky of your left hand under your curled lip like I showed you. We will get more in depth when we have more time next week! Best of luck with practicing this week!


Dylan Lam

It was great meeting and hearing you play this week, Dylan! It is a great idea to start every routine with long tones, as they will help with understanding the tonal qualities and tendencies of the instrument. You have a great sound already, so this will help bring it to the next level. Play  a C/B in the middle range or low F#, starting at nothing and gradually growing in dynamics, then decreasing back down to a whisper. Remember to take a deep breath from the diaphragm, and timing the quiet-loud-quiet in a way where you don’t run out of breath at the end.

For improving with your tonguing, remember that the tongue is a muscle and just like any other it needs to be warmed up and takes time to strengthen. Be patient, and the lightness/speed of your tongue will increase with time. Start by playing one note very slowly, and only tonguing quarter notes; you want them to come out as smooth/light as you can. As you feel comfortable, move on to tonguing a string of eight notes, and eventually triplets, as we did in lesson. Remember this will be hard at first, but softening the attack of your tongue will help with increasing the general speed of articulation.

Practice playing the C major scale as well as in thirds like we did in lesson (groups of four with two notes tied and two notes tongued). Keep working on chromatic scale, and try practicing your tonguing (each note, every other note, etc) as you play it! See you next week, good luck!

Sebastian Vettese

Great to hear you and meet you, Sebastian. I’m looking forward to a fun semester!

Remember to adjust the strap of your saxophone so that you sit with a comfortable posture and don’t have to slouch. We want to make playing music as natural and relaxed for our bodies as possible. The same will apply to our mouth and embouchure, so don’t forget to loosen up in your jaw and mouth so that you don’t tense up (this can sometimes make us play with a bright tone or jump to a higher note accidentally).

Start your practicing with long tones, picking one note in a comfortable range and playing it from the lowest-highest-lowest dynamic on the sax. Remember to have a fair amount of mouthpiece in your mouth (not too much, but not too little), and think warm air when you blow into the sax, as if you are fogging up a mirror. Breathe from the diaphragm and support your sound as you play a musical note/passage; try to keep your air moving forward, so as not to overshoot the note you want to play.

When you practice scales (such as C major that we played in lesson), remember to try and think of the note names as you change fingerings/notes. This will help connect the musical notes to their respectable fingering, and greatly improve down the line with reading!

We will work on reading some musical passages (feel free to bring any music that you might have that you want to look at) and we’ll review a fingering chart next week! Good luck and see you then!