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Covid practicing

A year into Covid I can honestly say that my clarinet chops are feeling quite ok as I have been faithfully practicing 5 days per week.
To make things easier on my wallet (without gigs to fund supplies) I purchased 5 Legere European Cut (3.50) to save on my usual Vandoren V12's.
The Legeres work for my practicing needs.
With time to think/analyze/ponder about my playing I have revisited some of my past method books: Kell Staccato studies plus two kinda odd-ball ones that I have found invaluable:
The Kell book is for obvious reasons.

The Chesky book is from my sax-learning days and is delightfully odd. The intervals (aside from the 4th/5th) get a bit "out there" and are a challenge to play technically at moderate/brisk tempos but more so staying in tune. (I find this more useful than standard maj/min triadic patterns in most clarinet methods.)

The Taffenal book was borrowed from my flute-learning days.
I especially like to use pgs: 2-9. I use these exercises to speed up my fingers (all slurred). I do all of the exercises in more than one octave (an example: on pg 2; the first four staves are done in two octaves while staves 5-6 are done in 3 octaves).
In doing these exercises in octaves I have work different parts of my technique; right hand, left hand, break, the upper break, etc.

All of the above is an attempt to emerge from the Covid break "in a better place" clarinet-wise.

Carl H.

Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
I hadn't touched anything until I got a call to do some recording. I played just enough to get my bearings, but not so much I physically could not play. The recording sessions were fine on the recording side but brutal on my hands. I should mention this was on upright bass not a WW. The engineer was also a woodwind player and he was glad he wasn't playing as he hadn't touched anything in a long time either.

I survived the session with mostly single takes and no blisters, but incredibly sore hands. 10 days out now and my hands feel fine. I have some callouses but they are starting to peel. I too am glad they didn't call me to do WW tracks.


Striving to play the changes in a melodic way.
Staff member
Did recordings for a number of ensembles, man hearing recordings of yourself can be brutal. Can't wait to get back at it when the band gets together again. Suzy (wife) and I practiced against some recordings for a half hour last night. Felt good.


Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
As mentioned elsewhere, I retired from singing and playing many years ago because of health problems. I kinda miss practicing. Except for the soul-crushingness that is Rascher's 24 Intermezzi. Example attached. These ones don't have double-sharps in the key signature, so they're the easier ones.

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Mrs Notes and I serenade the squirrels and neighbors at least 3 days a week, and have done so since our last gig in March 2020. We're learning new songs too (I record my own backing tracks as well).

Playing and singing are similar to athletic skills. If you don't use the muscles, you lose them. Especially the voice. I can get back to speed on sax, wind synth, flute, or guitar fairly quickly, but if I take a month off, it takes 2 months to get my vocal range and control back.

Now that the vaccines are rolling out, our targeted audience, the senior citizens are coming out of hibernation, but it's too late for this season. Here in Florida the season dies at Easter as the winter residents go back 'up north'.

I'm getting bookings for the 2021/2022 winter season already.

We'll be ready.


Striving to play the changes in a melodic way.
Staff member
Our GOLD classic hits ensemble (5 horn) has a gig for the end of July. It pay well too. They have been practicing since the beginning of April. I've been providing subs for me as I wait for Suzy (my wife, she's younger so had to wait for the state to allow inoculations) to get her second shot. I start practice tonight, two hours will kick my hindermost! And I've done recordings and practiced a bit too. I think I was luck to miss the first practices according to the ensemble director. :cool:
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