I'd started to realise how much I missed playing clarinet. But then the exams came and I barely had time to do anything. So I didn't play a single note for over 2 months. Let me say, I wouldn't recommend it. 2 weeks ago I took my clarinet, some books with studies and I went to the conservatory and asked for the clarinet classroom. I started with long notes. After 4 notes all the muscles around my mouth started hurting. I rested a few second and then continued my way up the chromatic scale.
This first practice session didn't last longer than 30 minutes. I sounded horrible, I felt really uncomfortable, and afterwards everything hurt. But I went back the next day, and the next, and the next. Well, not counting the weekends, because that's when the conservatory is closed. So now I've been playing for 12 days and today was my longest session yet. I arrived at 9:30 at the conservatory and didn't leave until 12:15. Of course I took a lot of small breaks while practising, but I didn't loose lip pressure, my thumb didn't really hurt, and I could at various times even control my sound.
What I've learned from this experience:
- A clarinet callus can really shrink and soften. I even developed a small blister.
- Doing technique is really helpful, and it's a good way to measure your improvement.
- Studies can be fun. I'm currently doing Gambara and Klosé and they are well written (= nice sounding).
- It can be a real reward to finally start with a 'real' piece (von Koch's Monologue).
- I love playing clarinet and will never go so long without playing again.
- I have an extraordinary feel of phrasing. I even surprise myself sometimes.