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Thread: Flat and late

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    Default Flat and late

    Does anyone have a cure for a clarinet player who plays very flat and slightly late all the time? Sitting next to them is very off putting. What are they doing wrong? Is it due to them not blowing the air fast enough through the clarinet or is it due to the wrong reed? All suggestions would be helpful.

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    Sounds like it's an embouchure and tongue combination problem. By tightening up the embouchure, they can resolve the flatness issue.

    As for the lateness....the tongue control may require closer approximation of the tongue to the reed, as well as having the air column on standby; literally adopting the stomach out, air in poise, ready to explode the reed.

    You could suggest that the player practice kissing a girlfriend for practice. If none is available, a sally-ann blow up doll should suffice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Head_case View Post
    You could suggest that the player practice kissing a girlfriend for practice.
    Hmm. So kids could get school credits for making out. That advice alone should double the size of the average high-school band.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Manxfeeder View Post
    Hmm. So kids could get school credits for making out. That advice alone should double the size of the average high-school band.
    If there's any justice in the world, that's the way it should figure

    Flute players get to go first - they make the most attractive embouchures - sensually smiling like the Mona Lisa trying to get that elusive air column directed. Recorder players tend to pout like they're on a drinking straw.

    I suppose the late entry clarinet player could ask the conductor to come in late

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    Quote Originally Posted by Head_case View Post

    I suppose the late entry clarinet player could ask the conductor to come in late
    I wish it was only on occasional entries that she plays late but unfortunately she does it on every note and every note is out of tune usually flat, but high notes are always loud an sharp.........

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    Lateness with any wind instrument, including voice, can be a matter of initiating the sound 'on the beat' where it should be initiated just a hair prior, depending on the length of tubing, etc. That is 'the time it takes the instrument to speak,' and most inherently musical people do this reflexively.

    Singers, intuitively or taught, learn to get the consonants out a hair early, so the open vowel, the actual air producing the pitch, is in time.
    Last edited by PetrB; Nov-23-2012 at 00:19.

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    It could be a matter of the length of the breath prior to the entry. For example, the piece is in 6/8. The clarinet enters on the second eighth note of the second beat. To enter on time the breath must be only one eighth note long.

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    Many potential issues with flatness

    Reed
    1. Reed is too soft. (I.e. 2-1/2 or lower). All HS should be on nothing less than 3. And stay away from Vandoren reeds!!!
    2. Reed is too old, split, etc.

    Embouchure/ air
    1. Corners of lips should be tight and slightly below top teeth.
    2. Not supporting air flow with diaphragm. What I call warm, slow air. Should be cold, fast air. Not too fast though!

    I suggest having them try blowing air through a McDonalds straw. Then blow air through a coffee stirrer/straw. The air should be like blowing through the stirrer. It's more about supporting the air with stomach/ diaphragm on clarinet

    Good luck!

    Lateness. Well, do they play in tempo or are they all over the place? If the former, then they need to start air sooner. If the latter, then they need help with counting, etc. get a metronome
    Last edited by BRHiler; Jul-08-2014 at 00:50.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BRHiler View Post
    Many potential issues with flatness

    Reed
    1. Reed is too soft. (I.e. 2-1/2 or lower). All HS should be on nothing less than 3. And stay away from Vandoren reeds!!!
    I am intrigued - why don't you recommend Vandoren reeds? And what would you recommend?

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    Goodness me... How do you even go about starting such a conversation?!

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