The Tooth Chronicles: Countdown


I haven’t played my clarinet in seven days, and only played sparingly before that. UNT faculty and I have decided that it is best to move my surgery up and have my juries in January after I’ve healed. I’m so ready to get back in the swing of things–I’ve had DREAMS about practicing my clarinet!

For those interested, before I stopped playing I used Ezo and copious amounts of extra-strength Oragel. It’s amazing. However, its incredible numbing power wears off after about 20-25 minutes and is a bit messy. And if it gets anywhere else (like your tongue, it numbs that part of your mouth too…but it’s better than pain!)

Practicing Techniques

Here are the promised techniques I’ve accumulated since becoming practically useless. 🙂

  1. Slow-mo mental practice. You sit in a chair with your palms on your thighs and slowly finger through the music–in your brain, NOT with your fingers. You don’t move them. Sounds stupidly easy, right? But the point is to FOCUS super hard on the notes and mentally seeing yourself phrasing, fingering, moving through with dynamics, etc. And believe it or not, this works better withOUT the clarinet. When I tried it with the clarinet, I got caught up in the fingerings, not the music.
  2. Regular fingering. I can’t let my fingers get slow, so I practice my scales and patterns, or anything else that is super repetitive. My 7ths are going to slay.
  3. Listening to recordings. I’m not going to lie, I have often found this tedious–I want to use my time to practice, not listen to someone else! But I have found that listening to Harold Wright play Rossini’s Introduction, Theme, and Variations about 30 times has helped me gain some insight into phrasing, breathing, and those cadenzas–wow. I feel like I know the piece more, even though I haven’t played it in a while.
  4. Exercising. This one I need to do more of–I need to keep my air going. Watching an entire season of The Crown in one sitting is probably not helping my lung capacity. So a few trips to the Rec are in my future this week! Hello treadmill, my old friend…

These are my non-playing tips. I don’t know what I am going to do to not lose my chops and tonguing. I play double-lip, so I am freaking out about what a long-term rest is going to do to my embouchure. But I’ve promised everyone that I won’t try to start playing too soon.

My surgery is set for December 7th, 9am. I will write my usual Sunday post about how amazing I feel.


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