Week 1 -
Chestnut class thoroughly enjoyed their first Clarinet lesson last week! During the session, we played musical games to help us learn more about finding and repeating the pulse and rhythm in a piece of music.
As beginners to the clarinet, the first thing we learned to do was how to put the 3 pieces of the mouthpiece together. This involved soaking a reed with our lips to make it more flexible so that the sound could vibrate along it better. Next, we loosened the ligature (a metal band that holds the reed in place) and attached the reed to the mouthpiece. By the end of the lesson, some of us were even able to make a sound from the clarinet too (our music teacher was very impressed as it had taken her two whole weeks of practice when she was younger!).
We’re very proud of our progress so far and can’t wait to grow our skills and confidence even further as the weeks progress.
Week 2 -
We got even better at making a sound from our clarinets by remembering to keep enough reed in our mouths so that the reed can vibrate and create the soundwaves that we can hear!
Next, we learned how to set up the body of the clarinet and create the finger pattern using our thumbs to hold the back and using our pointy finger to cover the hole at the front.
We learned more about the musical term pitch - the holes in the clarinet can be used to let more or less air move around (vibrate) inside which creates higher and lower notes! The first note we learned today was called E and sits on the bottom line of the stave.
Week 3 -
Our first job was remembering how to put the pieces of the clarinet together - these included the 'bell' (which is the bottom part of the clarinet) which attaches to the lower body joint. We had to make sure that the bridge key was pressed down when putting the lower and upper body joints together to ensure they didn't get damaged. This was a bit tricky at first and took plenty of patience and concentration!
This week we practiced our tonguing technique to help us create a crisp and sharp sound. Our top tips were remembering to have about 1/2 the reed in our mouths and to SMILE when we played. We also found that if we pressed down too hard with our lips that the sound became squeaky so we're going to practice using the right amount of pressure to play the note 'E' in the right tone.
We revised what we learned about dynamics in music - these describe how LOUDLY or quietly the music is played.
p = piano = quiet mp = mezzo piano = medium quiet pp = pianissimo = very quiet
f = forte = loud mf = mezzo forte = medium loud ff = fortissimo = very loud
Next, we learned about the musical term tempo - this is when the pulse of the music speeds up or slows down. Miss Livesey set us a challenge to listen to different pieces of music and identify whether the pulse was speeding up, slowing down or staying the same.
Later, we played a fun game to help us learn to hear the change in the pitch of notes. Miss Livesey introduced the notes we are going to learn this year and we had different actions to show each one.
C (LOWEST) - Curl Up
D - Sit Up
E - Hug
F - Shoulders
G (HIGHEST) - Hands Up
We had a listen to her play these on the clarinet and then try to match our action to the note - we found this easier when they were played in order from low to high so she challenged us and played them in a random order. This is our next step as something we can get even better at!
Week 4 -
We are getting more and more confident at creating the crisp 'ta' sound when we play the mouthpiece of the clarinet by using our tongues.
We are also finding that we can put the different pieces of clarinet together more easily and we learned some checks you can do to make sure we have correctly assembled the clarinet. Miss Livesey was really impressed with our effort and how kind we were at helping each other.
Then, we recapped our finger patterns for making the note 'E' before learning how to play 4 new notes, 'C', 'D', 'E', 'F' and 'G'.
These made a scale which went from a LOW to HIGH pitch, like walking steps.
We then got better at applying these new notes to read a piece of music and using what we learned last week about the value of different notes.
At the end of the lesson we played a fun game called 'hide and seek' to help us practice playing the clarinet using different dynamics (how quiet or loud the sound is). The Hider hid a piece of the clarinet in the classroom and we had to play our clarinet softly if the Seeker was far away and increase our volume as they got closer. This required lots of puff!
Week 5 -
This week, we go better at learning a song by ear – we did this by listening to Miss Livesey play notes and repeating these after her. Using this method, we were able to play ‘Hot Cross Buns’ using our new notes C D E F and G.
To help us make sure we're playing the clarinet mouthpiece correctly, we learned the paper trick - this is where you can put a piece of paper between the mouthpiece and the reed to show us where our bottom lip should be resting!
We recapped our understanding of the different dynamic terms in music and used these to play our clarinets at different levels.
We learned more about the different musical families in a western orchestra - especially the strings. We watched a video of a piece of music played on the cello - she used 'looping' to record different samples of music as she was playing them which she then played new notes over the top. This created a beautiful and multi-layered piece of music.