Thursday, October 15, 2009

You don't have to do it all. Really.

I just had an epiphany akin to hitting Myself with My own Clue-By-Four™ -- Specifically, the musical version of that particular device.

Sometimes when I ponder the subject of practicing a musical instrument, it's just too much: The day's too short, and the to-do list has too many to-do's on it.

So tonight I tried something different: Rather than running through the list entitled "Absolutely Everything I'm Supposed to Know for My Clarinet Exam", just so I can check off everything on the list, I decided to just play, and listen, and tinker.

I deliberately picked a reed that's just a smidgen too hard, and used it as a springboard for working on My staccato. It actually got to the point where I could deliberately cause My horn to squawk, by hitting the reed too hard on purpose. I also had a mini-epiphany regarding the timing of the staccato tonguing. (Think "anticipatory grace note" and you'll be in the ballpark.)

Better yet, at the end of a mere half-hour, I had gone through a couple of scales with a slur-two, tongue-two articulation pattern, worked some more on the Langenus Page 22 staccato exercise, and played all the way through one of the exam studies.

The moral of this episode: There's always time to fix something, and that means one less thing to fix later.

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