One aspect about this online manual that is different to most clarinet books is that I will also be looking at the psychological elements of clarinet playing as much as the physical. A later chapter will address how to conquer performance nerves. This chapter will look at the approach to practice and how to maximise your practice time.
In previous chapters, I have outlined how to play with a nice tone, do staccato and play scales and technique. These skills need to be continually practised and refreshed. The best way to do this is to do a daily warm up incorporating these elements. Just as you wouldn't run a race without first stretching and lightly jogging, you don't start your practice straight in with the Nielsen Concerto. Your warmup gets you used to playing that day, and also sets the mind in the right frame for the rest of your practice.
I like to start my warm up with long tone exercises. Long tones give you the opportunity to find out what your reeds are doing, the quality of the sound, in all the registers and the opportunity to play in front of a tuner, to see what your clarinet does when it warms up. In my long tone warmup, I try to incorporate legato exercises. I mix them up, sometimes doing the Abato exercise, other times scales in 6ths or octaves, and the Rose 1st Etude of 40. This part of the warmup can take between 5-30 minutes, depending on how much time you have. Here are a couple of examples.
Once you have properly warmed up with long tones, you are breathing well, getting a nice sound, lovely legato, the next warm-up stage is to work on your staccato. Please refer to a previous staccato chapter, but when you incorporate staccato in your warm-up, it also helps to add in a staccato exercise, maybe from Stark or Rose, and then the famous Scherzo from Mendelssohn's Midsummer Night's Dream.
The following playlist shows examples of staccato warmups of mine.
And this is a very special Midsummer exercise I devised
Once you are through your staccato warm up, then it is time for a few scales. Depending on how much time you have, this can be as little as 15 minutes. For this I recommend the Klose daily warm up scales. If you have a little more time, go for the Baermann method Part III, and I do like to mix it up with Langenus, Stark and even a little Jean Jean if you are looking for some whole tone work. Please see below playlist for scale examples.
Now that is your warm up done, it's time to practice your pieces and studies.
Please refer to the next chapter.
Here is a play list of 30-60 minute warm ups
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