Reed: Rinyin 2.5 (ebay purchase)

My goal for picking up my clarinet practice again was twofold. First, practice consistently. Second, get better! There was a third goal, which I didn’t realize until I started playing — get my lip and mouth muscles back. I know, you probably don’t think of your lips and mouth has having muscle tone. Sure, we eat and speak. Our jaw has muscles which enable us to do this. However playing a musical instrument requires some muscle memory, and let’s be honest, with more than a year of not playing consistently — I’d lost mine.

I’m working through the Klose book, as I’ve heard that’s good for building up technique. I am literally on the first exercise. The first page. The goal is to use long notes (held for a count of 9) to build up your stamina and tone. Boy did it. I’ll try to take some videos, because with my tremor, both in my hands, but also in my mouth, it can be interesting. But after daily practice, I really started to see improvement, especially yesterday as I moved onto the second exercise.

The long notes help both in building that muscle memory, but also in building my lung volume. Ever since I got whatever it was last October, I’ve had chest tightness and breathing issues. To let you in on a secret, one of the best ways I could think of to build that stamina back so I wouldn’t be so winded, was musical practice. In this case, the long notes become an almost zen-like meditation for me. And I find myself relaxing at the same time. It’s beautiful.

And it’s important to keep practicing. Hopefully by this time next week I’ll have turned the page and moved onto the next set of exercises.

Hi, my name is Mary Caelsto, and I’m addicted to reeds. I love trying new brands, even those cheap Chinese knock-off reeds, and of course collecting accessories for my clarinet (collection). If what I’m doing here speaks to you and you’d like to support it, I’ve curated an Amazon wish list of things that would be helpful to my journey. Feel free to browse.

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