Thanks for your focus this week! It was nice to meet you, Jackson. I’m looking forward to a productive and fun school year together.

A Note on Homework in my Lessons

Generally, the homework I give you will be divided into three parts: 1. longtones, 2. technique (scales, arpeggios, etc.) and 3. repertoire (pieces of music). Right now, you should spend about the same amount of time on each. Getting into the habit of practicing daily is much more important than trying to sit down for an hour at a time every few days and force the music out. At this point I would suggest sitting down for 15-20 minutes for the 6 days you don’t see me in a lesson and playing through the homework material once or twice, focusing on the parts that are hard for you. If you are able to put in more time, great! If you are busy and have to put in less time, try to focus on one thing for the short time that you have instead of jumping between all three items.


Here are some things to look at this week:

  1. Continue Descending longtones (G, F, E, D, C in low octave). Open up your throat and loosen your embouchure when playing low notes! Remember, we want to play with zero tension.
  2. F major scale – low octave up to high C – remember to keep pointer finger on bis Bb all the time!
  3. Rubank lessons 6 and 7 – starred items. Follow the breath marks!
  4. Check out this version of Woodchopper’s Ball: Listen to how the band plays the rhythm at the beginning of the tune and try playing along. Your music will be different in the middle – starting when the clarinet starts playing, the soloists are totally improvising. Listen to what they’re saying! The end of the song should be the same as your music starting at 2:55 (after the bass solo).


Good work this week. Here are the goals we talked about for the first semester:
– Get better tone on the clarinet – learn to play with fewer squeaks
– Learn major scales
– Learn some basic melodies and work up from there. Think about pop songs you’d like to play.

*Please pick up the Galper Clarinet Method, book 1*. Long and McQuade carries it or you could order it through Amazon or St. John’s Music in Leaside. If you could come with a homework binder for our loose sheets next week that would also be great.

Homework (10-20 minutes a day):

  1. Aim to play with our embouchure goals in mind:
    1. Aim for the ‘witch chin’ – a pointed chin that pulls your lower lip muscles down, smoothing out your lip. Practice in front of a mirror this week to develop this further.
    2. Warm up using just the mouthpiece and barrel in your left hand, and use your right hand to feel for the smoothness of the ‘witch chin’. Aim for a clear, steady sound.
    3. Play with the clarinet at a 45 degree angle from your body.
  2. Longtone exercise:
    1. Sit up straight on the edge of your chair, exhale completely.
    2. Inhale completely: start low in your lungs (belly) and breathe up to the top of your lungs without tensing your shoulders.
    3. Prepare your embouchure (use your right hand to feel for witch chin).
    4. Play a note (D or C for now) for your whole breath.
  3. Mary Had a Little Lamb – handout. Try to play with the same deep breaths you just played with your longtones.
  4. F major scale descending, low octave. As you go down, focus on covering all the keyholes completely. Watch out for your left hand middle finger and play with the pads (not the tips) your right hand fingers.
  5. Melody in F major – handout.


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