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A Volume of Specific Clarinet Intermediate Studies

For the Development of Strength and Digital Independence in Fingers and Hands

By Kalmen Opperman

Woodwinds Clarinet in B-Flat, piano
For the Development of Strength and Digital Independence in Fingers and Hands. Composed by Kalmen Opperman. SWS. Back To School. Book. With Standard notation. Carl Fischer Music #WF91. Published by Carl Fischer Music (CF.WF91).

Item Number: CF.WF91

ISBN 9780825874918. 9 x 12 inches.

From the world-renowned clarinet pedagogue, Kalmen Opperman, Carl Fischer Music publishes a book of studies meant to deconstruct and rebuild finger and hand technique for players at the intermediate level. The book is broken into three sections: Studies for the Left Hand, Studies for the Right Hand, and Studies for Both Hands. According to Opperman, athis book consists of specific studies, which, if applied as directed, should greatly enhance the strength, flexibility, independence and accuracy of the fingers and hands.a.
This book consists of specific studies, which, if applied as directed, should greatly enhance the strength, flexibility, independence and accuracy of the fingers and hands. Each study must, early on, be mastered accurately at a very comfortable, slow tempo using light finger pressure and a firm embouchure. After the studies become comfortable at a very conservative tempo with connections (i.e., intervals) smoothly accomplished, a modest increase in tempo may begin. Ultimately, the same basic approach should be applied to all the studies. Slowly work the studies in this fashion until the book is an integral part of your adailya bag of tricks. There are individual students and players who tend to be more comfortable playing each study until they reach their desired ultimate tempo before moving on to the next, thus making their work more meaningful. Other players prefer to work the complete book, successfully playing each study very slowly until the book is mastered at a modest tempo. They then return to the beginning of the book and proceed with each study, slowly raising the tempo until the optimum speed is attained. Remember, play slowly and rest often (each measure or two if necessary); then, as you progress, rest every four measures, etc. If the embouchure becomes fatigued, it is time to rest. When the beginning student (not using a harness or neck strap) takes a break, the clarinet should be out of the hands and placed on a peg or other safe resting place, absolutely not in front of a heating or air-conditioning vent. Clarinet sockets should be dried and separated if practice sessions continue for long periods. This may also be possible during intermissions of long concerts or breaks in recording sessions. Perhaps rest is one of the best antidotes in avoiding Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Silk swabs are highly recommended, since they do absorb moisture without causing much wear and tear in the bore. Silk swabs are also less abrasive than cotton swabs. Swabbing often helps avoid water in the pads of the left hand. The following is an additional approach to practice worth considering. In the beginning, play for three to five minutes; then rest for two or three minutes. This is also a viable pattern for good finger and hand development. Occasionally, use a mirror to check embouchure, fingers, hands, clarinet and body positions. It is outrageous giving B? clarinets to children ages 7, 8, 9, 10 and some 11-year olds whose finger pads are too small to comfortably cover the tone holes. Teachers and parents must refrain from continuing the blunders that have been perpetrated these many years! There are those fingers which fall into the holes and others that cannot manage the large stretch between tone holes and must press so strongly that the finger nails turn white. The solution is simple. Each school or private teacher should own an E? clarinet to loan the student, or rent or purchase one from the local music store until he/she agrowsa into the appropriate-sized instrument. If the E? clarinet is, by chance, too large for the child, the next move is to the A? piccolo clarinet pictured on the cover of this volume. My son, not quite age three, is the aperformera preparing for his first recital. You see, there is a simple, viable exit from the instrument-size problem. The C clarinet may solve the problem since its size rests between the B? and the E? clarinet. Remember, a string teacher would not expect a 9- or 10- year old to play a full-sized cello. We must not persist in discouraging or destroying young talents with an over-sized instrument. This is a common practice that must be eliminated. These instruments, the B?, C, E?, or A? clarinets, should tune reasonably well, and be in good repair. Pads should seal, springs should not be so strong as to cause difficulty for the student and mouthpieces must not be too resistant or too open to blow comfortably with a medium no. 3 reed. Hand problems or injuries, major or minor, are often the result of young students working with instruments too large or in poor repair. Consider the lack of frequent rest periods as a prime contributing factor in hand and/or finger injuries. Those who practice Monday, Wednesday and perhaps Sunday may find themselves in grave hand, finger, reed, breathing and posture difficulties. A sudden escalation in practice time minus the necessary additional resting time must be considered detrimental. Excessive tension or pressure in the fingers, hands or arms can cause muscles to overwork. When practice time is extended, overall resting time should be similarly increased. Springs that are too heavily tensioned must also be considered detrimental. An adjustable thumb-rest improperly positioned or minus the appropriate cushion may be considered a potential hazard. A non-adjustable or an adjustable thumb-rest in an improper position can be devastating to a clarinetistas hands (especially to the young). Hanging a bass clarinet from a neck strap as opposed to using a floor stand, peg, or a preferred shoulder harness is a consideration to be examined early in oneas training. The basis of serious overuse can occur early in the young artistas training. A neck strap may be a valid, serious consideration for the beginning or intermediate player. Starting the young student too soon, generally under age eleven, will often invite hand and/or finger problems of a serious nature. If, for some obscure reason, the clarinet must be played at so tender an age (unless the student is in a stage of advanced growth for his/her age), the student should begin on a carefully set-up, easy-blowing E? clarinet, with springs appropriately adjusted (light). The first mouthpiece must be relatively easy to play and a compatible reed and barrel should help maintain the gentle resistance, color, and intonation of the clarinet. Well-seated pads are a must. The weight of the E? clarinet on the right-hand supporting thumb is considerably less devastating than the weight of the B? clarinet and the finger stretch is much less taxing. A Vandoren 5RV Lyre mouthpiece, for instance, or other mouthpiece brand of similar facing and an appropriate reed should work well if it is not overly resistant. Remember, all 5RVs are not alike, and neither are all no. 3 reeds. A more fundamental and positive approach in avoiding early hand problems in a very young, eager, beginning clarinet student is a temporary shift to piano or recorder for a year or longer; then, on to the E? clarinet and finally the logical progression to C or B? clarinet when the hands are more reasonably developed. These instruments may be rented through catalog houses or major city stores. For players, teachers, and students, it is not difficult to adiscover a problem in the making,a or to notice an already existing problem aflaring up.a Early manifestation of naked abuse or overuse damage may not be devastating pain. Perhaps the only sign of a problem may be stiffness or numbness each time the clarinet is placed in a playing position. At this point, there may be no pain; nevertheless, a trip to the hand doctor could be your best move. Pain at a specific place that occurs only while playing or writing is a possible indicator of overuse. Try to solve these problems before pain spreads into multiple areas. Seriously consider long rest periods. Eventually, the pain, if not resolved, may extend beyond clarinet playing and spill over into daily functional activities. Simply carrying weekly staples from the supermarket could be enough to aggravate an overuse problem that has already begun. Again, it would be prudent to consult a hand specialist at a qualified facility such as those found in most major cities. Lifting, pushing or pulling items of any consequential weight should be assumed off limits. Remember that playing the clarinet requires many, many joints and muscles in the elbow, wrist, forearm, palm, and fingers be brought into action. These ligaments, muscles, tendons, bones etc. must ashape upa (i.e., be trained to function at their most extreme levels of development). Consider changing a tire, pushing a vehicle, lifting weights, etc. off limits. There are other exercises that can take up the slack. In fact, B? bass, EE? contra-alto and BB? contra-bass clarinets should be carried in a backpack or wheeled, and played while resting on an instrument stand. Before playing, the following studies should be adry runa (perhaps holding the clarinet in the hands, not in the mouth, then reading, singing and fingering the study). This procedure will avoid much lip awear and tear.a Establish fingering positions, hand and arm positions, light finger pressure and a firm embouchure at the beginning of each study. If a very young student or adult with unusually small finger pads is unable to cover properly the clarinet ring-holes, there is a Bb clarinet currently being manufactured by Leblanc (Vito model) that may remedy the problem. It is called a B? Plateau Key clarinet with a 0.584 bore, nickel-plated plateau keys and is made of ABS plastic. Perhaps this may solve a major problem for certain individuals. It is notable that during the 1930s the French firm Martin Freres of Paris made Plateau (covered key) clarinets. A simple test that can be performed by players and their repairmen consists of placing the clarinet in front of the player as normally done when first assembling the instrument. Assemble the instrument setting the lower joint 1/8a beyond point zero (away from the body for players with long fingers). The repairman should then adjust the 1/1 bridge key cork connection to once again line up the upper and lower joints. If the adjustment was inadequate, repeat the same test but realign the upper and lower joint connection an additional 1/8a off center and once again line up the upper and lower joints. The setting may be correct after the second adjustment of the cork. Those with short fingers should repeat the same test but reverse the procedure by turning the lower joint connection an additional 1/8a off center and realign both upper and lower joints, adding or removing cork from the bridge key as necessary. Remember, for short fingers rotate the clarinet joint toward your body. Assuming twelve minutes a day is insufficient time for math or language homework, neither will this amount of time suffice for mastery of the clarinet. Always aim for the best sounds you can produce. Remember: light fingers, firm lips is the away to go.a.

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  • Ratings + Reviews

  • 5

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  • July 27, 2017 Another great Opperman book

    Specific exercises for strengthening different fingers, exercises specifically over the break, rapidity in passages, LH thumb exercises for flexibility, promoting finger independence - this is a great book if used.

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