Almost Christmas!

I’m finally starting to feel settled in at the band (I’ve been there almost two months!) and things are going pretty well. I’m getting used to the routine of going on gigs, and I’ve been on quite a lot. I’m not complaining though, this is definitely what I signed up for! I just love playing clarinet, even if all we play are marches!

Lately I’ve been practicing tons of scales using a book that was given to me right before I joined the Navy (while I was in Colorado), and this is the first time I’ve been able to sit down and really start practicing with it. The book is a REALLY old Leduc publication (didn’t check the copyright date…but it’s pretty old), and it was written by Fernand Gillet. He is actually a oboist who played with the Boston Symphony back in the day and he was a very influential teacher for all woodwinds. You can read more about him and how he approached woodwind technique here if you would like. I’ve been working out of the book for a couple weeks now (I think…kind of lost track of time, LOL) and I am still working on the first exercise! But I feel like its really helping my technique…A LOT! The only thing about it is that it is very time consuming…I usually will work out of it for an hour or more a day (and like I said I’ve still yet to go on to the 2nd exercise!). But it addresses so many technical issues that it is definitely worth the time spent working on it. Here are some snapshots of the book:

Cover of the book
The first page of #1 - basically play these patterns in all keys and all prescribed articulations. I do one key a day to keep it simple. There are patterns of 4s, 5s, and 6s included...whew!
First of the "5" patterns
First of the "6" patterns.


















I just put my metronome on 60 and go!  It’s really making my technique better – especially in the high altissimo register, some of the patterns go all the way up to double high B!

Other than that, I’ve been working on Rose Etudes – mostly to cleanse my musical palate after playing scales for an hour. But instead of working front to back of the book, I started with #32 because I have never actually done much of those harder key etudes in the back! Its been pretty fun discovering them. That book is so timeless!

I’ve been also working on some excerpts just for fun. Yes, I just used the words excerpts and fun in the same sentence! Hahaha…just a few a day, to keep my excerpt chops up. My husband Ben is auditioning for the President’s Own band on Monday, and if he wins the audition…then I’d better be able to win the next Navy Band audition! All joking aside, I think eventually I want to be in the premiere band and that’s why I’m practicing the excerpts.

Anyway, I only have a couple more days of work before I go on leave for two weeks for the Christmas holiday. I’m very much looking forward to that. Just the idea that I won’t have to do anything, and just relax is very appealing to me! Especially after working so hard for so many months to get where I am, I feel like its very deserved! I’m not even going to force myself to practice. Only if I want to 🙂 I haven’t been able to do that in awhile!

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