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Clarinet Notes News, Issue #023 -- Challenge - #100DaysOfPractice
December 28, 2023

Challenge - Can you do 15-minutes practice a day for #100DaysOfPractice?

It was December 29, 2022 when I saw Hilary Hahn (@violincase) on @Twitter (or X now) mention that she was about to begin her sixth season of #100DaysOfPractice on the New Year. I thought, being a retired military musician on the edge of the Earth not playing regularly, I should try this and commit to 15-minutes a day. My reasoning was from this: Do I scroll more than 15-minutes a day? If my answer was “yes,” then I must find 15-minutes to practice.

What is the result of that? Well, I am on day #362 and am approaching a full year. It has been a major challenge, and for the first 163 days I kept a log going (the sheet ran out of space and I thought I started a second sheet, but it is lost). Many days I practiced 15 minutes and many days I did anywhere from 18 to 90 minutes.

Ok, what do I do? What do I need?? 1. Clarinet 2. Reeds 3. Metronome (preferably not on your phone) 4. Stuff to practice (scales, arpeggios, thirds, articulations, etudes, solos, play along with youtube, learn to improvise, make a video, play duets with yourself, play holiday songs, etc…)

How I started? You might know I wrote a book titled “Bumblebee Loops.” I started with it. I took one excerpt (pg. 4 measure 5) and practiced four articulations at four different tempos. Then, new days and new excerpts until I started working through more items in number 4 on the list above.

Why did I start with articulation? Articulation is the first thing to go when you get off of the clarinet.

What do I do? I set a 16-minute timer on my phone and that is the only thing the phone is allowed to do during this time (no other distractions). I know there will be a little bit of waste, therefore I set 16-minutes instead of 15-minutes. If I’m not done when the timer goes off, I set a stop-watch and let the minutes increase until I’m finished.

What were my challenges? Life!!! Chickens getting out of the coop, work trainings (not music related training), super busy days, etc… Many times at 11:45pm I made my way out to the van to warm it up so I could blow through my time. Sometimes, my minutes crossed the midnight point.

I could write twenty more pages on this and if you have read to this point, consider this as a New Year’s Resolution. The best result, consistent chops!!! I feel the best I have on clarinet since retirement from the West Point Band.

Now, for a little sneak of what I sound like currently, go see this video of Cody Fry’s Eleanor Rigby orchestration and performance with me playing the clarinet parts plus a few extra lines of music. Clarinet Rigby


Chris Jones @clarinetnow

Check out my method book Bumblebee Loops.

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