How to Improve Rhythm Counting on the Clarinet
Composers trying to learn to play the clarinet must learn how to articulate properly to ensure clean and distinct rhythms. Learning to play the clarinet is a good idea for composers that want to understand how the instrument works and learn to avoid the many pitfalls involved in writing music for the instrument. One of the most common issues involved with learning to play the clarinet is the ability to accurately articulate clean and clear articulations.
The clarinet requires the use of a special tonguing technique to ensure that each note is heard clearly. When proper technique isn’t used, the sound of the rhythm won’t come out clear and distinct. Mastering the ability to accurately play and count rhythms on the clarinet makes it possible to develop an increased ability to sight-read music and analysis rhythms in your own compositions. Composers that are learning to play the clarinet to achieve a better feel for how to compose for the instrument should use the technique to improve their ability to write idiomatic and appropriate music for the clarinet.
There is no special technique to the actual counting of rhythms on the clarinet. If you can’t clap or sing the rhythm, you’re not going to be able to play it correctly. Before you pick up your instrument, set a metronome to the appropriate tempo for the piece and clap the rhythm until you can accurately play the rhythm without making mistakes. If you need to set the metronome at a slower tempo while learning the rhythm that is okay, but make sure you play the rhythm accurately and without making any mistakes.
When articulating notes, make sure that the tip of your tongue lightly touches the reed of the clarinet. Practice saying the word “dee” and you’ll have an idea of the proper technique you should be using on the clarinet. The clarinet requires a softer articulation than brass instruments. As you increase the speed of the rhythm, you’re going toned to move your tongue in closer to the reed to receive the best results. If you still have trouble performing the rhythm, remove the pitch element and just play the rhythm on a single tone. This can help you articulate the rhythm and eliminate the added complication of playing the correct notes.
One way to improve your ability to perform on the clarinet is by practicing articulation exercises and scales. The technique is something that you should devote a certain amount of time to daily. By practicing scales, arpeggios, and etudes, you develop the necessary skills to address a wider array of complex and highly technical works. Set aside time each day to practice, so that when it comes time to play music, you’re not encumbered by a sloppy technique.