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Discussion Starter #1
So I've been playing clarinet for a total of three days now for HS concert band. Last night I practiced for about half an hour, and I woke up this morning with this aching pain in my jaw, in the fleshy part just beneath my chin and above my neck (underneath my tongue?). it especially hurts to swallow, do sit ups, and play clarinet. I asked my clarinet clinician about it and he says it's due to the high resistance in the clarinet that i'm not used to from sax, and suggests I go down in reed strength. I'm playing 3.5 vandoren trads (following in the advice of my band director).

is there any additional advice to offer, or perhaps other hypotheses as to what is going on?

in the meantime, i'm taking a break from clarinet and sanding down my reeds.

thanks,
 

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3.5 sounds relatively hard to me if you've just picked up the clarinet, but of course it would depend on your mouthpiece (it sounds hard because I play 1.5's on a mouthpiece with a bigger tip opening).

It's interesting that that you're feeling discomfort under your tongue. Did you feel blown out while you were practising the previous day? I would have thought that you'd also notice the pressure in your cheeks, embouchure and perhaps also the neck muscles supporting your windpipe if you're really blowing so hard. Are you sure you haven't caught a bug or something?

But yeah: the one piece of definitive advice is not to play through discomfort. It's definitely not worth it in the long term, so you're doing the right thing there.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I'm on a vandoren B45. I only actually practiced for a half hour the previous day, and I felt alright afterward. this feels nothing like a cold to me either. It's not that I'm extremely tense, as staying relaxed is easy for me. my cheeks and my neck feel fine, it's just that tiny area under my chin.
 

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You didn't mention how old you are or what else you do, but if the problem doesn't go away in a day or two get thyself to a doctor.
 

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Anyone in your school with Mono? Is your band director a clarinetist? From the reed strength suggestion, I think maybe not.
Drop that reed strength down to about a 2.5 in the Vandoren trads. (If you like them)
I've found that a Mitchel Lurie in a 3 is actually a better match on the B45 for beginning clarinet players.
Check your horn angle and head position. You may be holding it out too far and having to tuck your chin to 'look' like a clarinetist. Tucking really messes with your throat in the tongue area.
Get that head up and drop the bell so that it's somewhere between your knees when playing in the sitting position.
Too bad you live so far away. I'd be happy to set you up with a few freebie lessons to get you started.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
alright, well I will sand my reeds down. I'm already much better today, most of the pain is gone and I expect full recovery by tomorrow.

barisaxdiva, as for what else I do, I have been playing sax for 4 years, alto for 3, now I'm devoting myself to tenor. I have had excellent private teachers, and my technique is pretty good. does this answer your question or did you mean something else?

bandmommy, my band director is an excellent saxophonist and a very competent clarintist who has quite a good idea of my skills, however I recently discovered that he did not know I am new to clarinet, so I understand his mistake. I would love a few pointers, especially from someone who has witnessed the Sax->Clarinet switch and all of it's techhnical repercussions, but the commute for a lesson would be killer, and I have jazz band tomorrow morning :p.
 

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Hey, Good to hear that you're not sick!
Using a softer reed will help get you used to the different embouchure.
It would be a good idea to have your director give you a couple of pointers on the 'correct' clarinet embouchure. You have to remember that it isn't a skinny black version of the saxophone. :)
I'm one of those who has made the Clarinet to Sax switch. Some old 'habits' die hard, but with patience and practice they can be overcome. I can now swap horns within 4 measures and not have to worry about which 'face' I need to use.
 

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I agree the reed is likely too hard according to Vandoren's recommendations

http://www.vandoren.fr/en/mentonniere.html

I have never cared for the B45. I find that it is often much more difficult for students to control. While clarinet has a bit more resistance, the idea that it is highly resistant is often due to problems with the set up. Finding the right strength reed is key. You should be able to control the reed not have it control you. You could try a relatively inexpensive mouthpiece, such as the Fobes Debut, which plays great and is very comfortable to play.
 
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