Are you preparing music for college auditions or juries? The sImple changes below will make an immediate difference in a live or recorded audition.
Even a bit of dehydration can make our fingers and mind sluggish. Increase water intake the day before an audition by drinking 10 glasses of water spaced throughout the day. Waiting until the day of is too late. Runners have a saying: ‘drink for today’s practice run and tomorrow’s race.’ Think of an audition as a race!
Do you fervently work with a tuner only to hear from someone that your sound is still uneven or intonation is still problematic? Investigating the amount of up-and-down bell motion will be helpful. Excessive motion alters clarinet timbre and changes the pitch. Bell motion creates a Doppler effect that is exaggerated in resonant spaces. (Watch this 2-minute video explanation of the Doppler Effect here.)
To test, video-record and watch the bell. Is it moving up and down when taking a breath or when playing over the break? Record again in a reverent space and listen for minute pitch or timbre changes. The goal is not to eliminate all motion, but to find a way to move that does not cause pitch issues.
Second, be certain the bell is not buried between the knees in bulky clothing, as it will deaden the tone and flatten the pitch of the long B natural. Let the bell rise one inch above the clothing while playing a long B. Learn to let the bell gently fall back into resting position on other notes.
We will continue our series on better auditions, examining several excerpts where pitch is often a problem. Happy practicing!