Quick Fix Friday

Quick Fix Friday: Maintain the Momentum on Long Notes

Happy Friday! Another week, another quick fix!

You might think that long notes are easier to play – after some technical fireworks, you can hang out on a few whole notes and relax.

If you’re guilty of doing this, you’re missing out on some nice phrasing opportunities.

Let’s talk about my theory of musical magnetism for a second. I believe that all notes in music are either moving away from previous notes or moving towards upcoming notes. I think that notes either repel or attract each other, much like magnets.

What does this have to do with clarinet?

I hear many students who flatline or lose the momentum on longer or slower notes. The quick fix? Always make sure you have a clear idea of which notes you are moving away from or going towards in the music. Once you’ve got that, make sure that you reflect that on the long notes by adding slight crescendi, descrescendi, or other bursts of momentum to create a more interesting phrase.

If you’re in the learning stages of a new piece, it might take some musical experimentation to find out which notes repel or attract each other, but that’s the fun part about practicing!

Happy practicing, and I hope you have a great weekend!