After taking a break for the clarinet for two years I am back. My embouchure is giving me problems as it always have. Great tone and pitch for the lower two register. Go past G the third register my tone and pitch go out the door. No, I am serous. My embouchure changes.
During my college days, I was able to get a scholarship for music. Even got paid to play for pep band. Man, I miss that job. Didn't like the basketball games, but loved to play. (I have been out of college for two-years.)
Question: How do I stop changing my embouchure when playing the higher register?
Congrats on returning to clarinet. We are glad to have you back. So, you are having trouble with G the space above the treble staff. My recommendation is to get a mirror and follow these steps.
1. Play at low C in the left hand as a long tone. Fill the sound up well. Then stop. Confirm that you have a nice solid sound on that note without and waives in the dynamics or tone quality. When you do this check the mirror and study your chin and embouchure and see if you have even the slightest movement.
2. Now, play the low C again, look in the mirror, keep the embouchure firm and steady, then pop the register key to go the G above the staff. Did it come out smoothly or was there a break in the sound? Did you see a chin movement as the upper note spoke?
3. Do this a few more times and analyze your chin. If it is moving, do your best to hold it steady. You might need to push up a little pressure with the right thumb against the upper teeth. Bring the bell of the clarinet closer to your body (between your knees).
4. With no movement, how is the sound quality of the upper G? Hopefully, with you focusing on this and playing long tones, it will improve. For all of this to work, you have to have air support.
5. Now, try this chromatically on C# and up the twelfth via register key to G#. Then to D popping to A. Then D# popping up the A#. Then E to B. Then F to high C. On every interval change, check your chin. Honestly, your fingers should be able to move without chin movement.
6. Other ways to ascend is to take your scales up into this range and practice the chromatic scale up to high C and above often.
7. While we here are focusing on chin movement to the range you asked about G and higher. I would recommend you try even the lowest notes. You say your sound is good in the bottom register (known as the chalumeau register). Play a low E and pop up to the B a twelfth higher and really watch and feel your chin. If you are doing even the slightest chin movement, you will need to try to fix it.
8. I have only one video online and it discusses the ascending crossing of the break. I have plans for more videos but just do not have the time right now to make them. Hopefully that all helps.
9. Good luck with clarinet and do not forget to reference the Clarinet Embouchure and Poor Clarinet Embouchure pages.
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