Weakening Embouchure

by Linda

Hi Chris,
I have been playing clarinet for more than 30 years. I practice at least an hour a day. This past year I've been having a very hard time finding reeds I can play on for an extended period of time, without my embouchure weakening and quivering. I don't know if that my embouchure is getting weak (I'm in my 40's) or if the reeds are just lousy. But no matter what I try (other reeds, etc) I can't find the solution. Thanks!


Hello Linda,

It is entirely possible you have a poor box of reeds. Or, the reeds in that box just happen to be on the hard side of the strength. So, I have to ask, have you tried reeds of a lower strength?

Sometimes, if I know I'm going to practice for a really long time, I'll drop a reed strength so I can do the entire session. Or, if I’ve previously had a long day of practice and rehearsal, the next day I’ll drop a reed strength.

Another question, when you practice, do you blow a solid hour without breaks? Now, practicing an hour a day for the last 30-years is a real accomplishment and dedication to music and the clarinet. That is admirable. But, you might consider some breaks during that session.

When I was studying with Kalmen Opperman and complaining to him of mouth and hand pain, he gave me a good "break system" to help build my endurance. I've already written responses on this and here are the links: My Lips Can't Cope! and Jaw pain.

Please let me know if any of these suggestions work for you. Good luck practicing.


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