Musical Alphabet

I wanted to create a musical alphabet for Elinoah’s playroom and I was pretty happy with what I came up with. I used Staedtler Lumograph Drawing and Sketching Pencils, micron pens, and inktense pencils with a water wash on 6×4″ matboard.

I would like to run these through photoshop/illustrator and maybe pitch them as alphabet flash cards, an alphabet book, or maybe a fun pattern for something else?

Clarinet Practice Routine

A musician’s practice schedule is a very personal thing. Everyone has their own expectations and motivations for practicing their instruments. In this post, Micah shares his practice routine.

M practice 2

Clarinet Practice Routine (Standard)

  • Long tones for information and tone – 5 minutes.
  • Chromatic scale for speed – 5 minutes. (132)
  • Major Scale of the Week – 10 minutes.
    • F# major
  • Mechanical and Daily Excercise – 10 minutes.
    • #47, #34 – 80 bpm
  • Sight Reading – 10 minutes.
  • Klose Etude #1 – 10 minutes.
  • Polkas – As much as you can stand.

Clarinet Practice Routine (Lazy)

  • Long tones for intonation and tone – 5 minutes.
  • Chromatic scale for speed – 5 minutes. (132)
  • Major scale of the week – 5 minutes.
  • Mechanical and daily exercises – 5 minutes.
  • Sight reading – 5 minutes.
  • Klose Etude #1 – 5 minutes.

Micah records parts of his practice so that he can hear where he needs improvement.

M practice 3 M practice 4

Sometimes Micah practices outside and Ein listens.

PracticeSchedule PracticeSchedule2

Here is a sample of what Micah’s practice generally sounds like.



The Mouthpiece Chooses the Musician

We caught wind of a potential clarinet find at an Pennsylvania Trading Co. estate sale. When we showed up, the clarinet wasn’t in very good condition, but there were around 15 mouthpieces all different styles and qualities.

20140715-110057-39657740.jpg 20140715-110058-39658269.jpg

We went back to our house to pick up M’s clarinet and then back to the estate sale this time to try out all of those mouthpieces.

20140715-110057-39657922.jpg 20140715-110058-39658123.jpg 20140715-110058-39658419.jpg

M tried out every single one of them and picked three of his favorites: Vandoren, Stowell, and Selmer Magnitone.

mouthpiece mouthpiece6 mouthpiece3

M: The Vandoren, Stowell, and Selmer Magnatone all have a good natural intonation and there is not a lot of resistance. All of these clarinet mouthpieces play with great projection – moving fluidly through the registers. They all have a bright, round tone.

Vandoren B45 ($15) – M: The Vandoren is easy to play. A noted general mouthpiece – can please everyone and suits a variety of sounds and playing styles.

Stowell H2 Chicago ($76) – M: The Stowell is most lively and responsive. It can get a little out of hand because it is sensitive to embouchure and accepts a much harder reed than I use currently. The Stowell mouthpiece is responsive to articulation.

Selmer Magnitone New York ($125) – M: The Selmer Magnitone is the liveliest of the three. It is bright and round and really blows across all the registers.

When asked about advice M would give to those searching for their own mouthpieces he says, “In the end, the mouthpiece chooses the musician.”

mouthpiece5 mouthpiece4 mouthpiece8

Mouthpiece Holders DIY
I used an old Smartwool sock that didn’t have it’s match anymore and made two mouthpiece holders. I cut the sock in half and sewed the bottom of the top half. I inserted a cardboard piece in both sock halves. In the top half of the sock, I sewed on a button on the inside of the sock, and cut a button hole opening on the front. On the bottom half of the sock, I used fancy yarn from Munich to sew off the frayed part of the sock that was cut. I folded the heel of the sock over and cut a button hole. I sewed a button on the front of the sock, underneath the folded over heel.

mouthpiece9 POMouthpiece2
POMouthpiece5 POSew7