A little Inspiration 

Sometimes in the midst of the slow process of lessons, mistakes & practice it’s good to be reminded why we take up an instrument. Driving home from work & Debussy’s Rhapsody for Clarinet (& orchestra) was on the radio. Ah…Love it. 

Didn’t catch who was playing it but there are plenty of versions on YouTube. 

Now to practice!

Brahms – a year on

After taking a year to learn my ‘little tune by Khachaturian ‘ I said check back and see if the Brahms took as long….so now one year later…with some time out and reduced practice due to hand operation…..the beautiful first movt of the second Brahms Sonata certainly didn’t take me as long to learn but I think it may take me a lifetime to play well.

Tick at the end of the first movement of Brahms Sonata
The all important tick at the end of the Brahms

As for the Khachaturian, pleased I could still manage to get through it after the hand operation but it really needs constant practise.  I may have to play this piece everyday for the rest of my life!


Just keep practising, just keep practising…

Carpel Tunnel – 8 Months Post Op Lament

8 months of pain in both hands…..is this actually an improvment from hands that were constantly numb?

It has been very frustrating, one of my main issues before the op was that I felt I was loosing control of he fingers, I seemed to be fumbling.  Sadly that hasn’t improved, there are so many things that I find really hard to do, doing up buttons and writing is even worse than it was before the op.  Gave up trying to pick a pin up off the floor, impossible.  Can play Squeak (clarinet) for a maximum of 30 minutes, not sure if that is good or bad for the hands but not giving in, might be better for the neighbours!

The hands were worse 6 months ago so I guess it is improving, just soooo slowly that I don’t notice. Not the quick fix I had been hoping for.  Got 12 months in my head….just give it 12 months and maybe it will be ok. – will it be the 12 month Jig or Dirge?

Post Carpel Tunnel Blues

8 weeks since the operation and I am still getting a lot of pain in both hands but it may be showing some signs of improving…..or I may just be trying to convince myself that it is.

Certainly hadn’t been prepared for such a long recovery period. Surgeon doesn’t seem too concerned, though I have now apparently also got tendinitis in both wrists to add to the fun.  

Driving is painful, holding a pen is even more difficult than before but I have managed a couple of brief sessions on Squeak (clarinet). So be warned neighbours the peace & quiet may not last!

Carpel Tunnel

Going off at a bit of a tangent to my normal blog posts but still relevant to my progress (or lack of) in learning to play clarinet .

For many years I have had carpel tunnel syndrome, this makes the hands go numb when not in use, especially at night.  As it got worse over the years I felt I was losing control of my fingers.  First I had problems holding a pen, then found I could no longer touch type. Couldn’t be helping with my attempts to learn clarinet but didn’t want to make excuses.

Continue reading “Carpel Tunnel”

Clarinet Mouth – Or Embouchure vs Blowing Raspberries!

The embouchure, or mouth position, for playing clarinet doesn’t just happen. When I first started playing clarinet I found after a short while my mouth would just go slack, no way could I hold it there any longer, completely useless and impossible to play any longer.  Continue reading “Clarinet Mouth – Or Embouchure vs Blowing Raspberries!”

Poco a Poco – Little by Little

Another tick at the end of a piece, well end of the movement.  This is the Khachaturian trio, which I love, but looking back I can see it has taken me a year to reach this point.  It really has been Poco a Poco, little by little, just keep working away and at last another milestone is reached. Really thought I had over extended myself with this one.

Khachaturian Trio, Clarinet.

Khachaturian Trio, end of 1st mvt, clarinet part.

I have now started on a Sonata by Brahms, slower, beautiful and hopefully won’t take me so long to learn (come back in a year and check on that!).


Hard slog

Ok so I haven’t uncovered some hidden musical talent.  This is about hard slog, working on something, repeating and repeating it only to have a fit of nerves in the lesson and stuff it up.  However looking back I can see progress. Slow maybe but progress. I can play 3 movements of the Weber  Grand Duo except for the last page….yeah well I’m not actually up to speed on the rest of it and that last page is crazy.

Khachaturian Trio just seems to get harder and harder, there were all those groups of 9 to fit into one beat and then you get groups of 10 and groups of 11 oh and lets throw in a 6 or a 4 just to keep you on your toes. Love the piece and determinded to keep plugging away at it. More hard slog but when I think how far I have come it is so worth it. I even feel I can say I play clarinet, I used to say I am learning clarinet, of course I am still learning but now I think If I can tackle pieces like these then I can say I play clarinet.