If you want to learn how to play clarinet, this is the article for you. We’ll show you everything you need to get started, from choosing the right clarinet to learning how to
What Is The Clarinet Made Of?
The clarinet family’s B Flat (or Bb) clarinet is the most extensively utilized. The components are the mouthpiece, barrel, upper and lower bodies, and bell. The mouthpiece is fitted with a reed that is held in place by a ligature. As with the saxophone, the sound is produced by the vibrating of the reed.
Other clarinets, besides the Bb, are available in various sizes. Some have a single-piece body, while others are made up of multiple components. In this post, we’ll concentrate on the Bb clarinet because it’s the most common beginner’s clarinet.
The mouthpiece (and reed) through which the player breathes air and the key system that allows you to play the notes are the most significant pieces of the clarinet.
How To Play The Clarinet
Getting to Know the Instrument
Step 1: Purchase an adequate clarinet for your needs.
It’s normal to borrow a clarinet from your school or a local music store if you’re starting in the school band. It’s far better to learn on a brand-new instrument that’s been properly kept than one that’s been collecting mildew in the attic. It’s also far less expensive than purchasing a new model.
A plastic clarinet is ideal for beginners. The Buffet B12 and the Yamaha 255 are popular models but start with a plastic clarinet because wood clarinets are more challenging to play and maintain. A soft reed is commonly used; 2 to 2 and a half will usually suffice. Once you’ve played for a while, you can use stronger reeds (such as a 3 or 4).
Avoid no-name clarinets (clarinets from lesser-known makers). Professional clarinetists and repairers have a negative attitude toward clarinet brands they haven’t heard of.
If you wish to use an old clarinet, take it to a music store and get it repaired. The pads will most likely need to be replaced to ensure a clear tone from the horn.
Step 2: Examine the clarinet and learn the parts’ names.
Most clarinets come with carrying cases with compartments for each instrument’s parts. When it’s time to pull it out and assemble it, inspect the case to ensure that all parts are in good operating order. The components are put together in the following order, from bottom to top:
The bell is the horn’s bottom component and spreads like a megaphone.
The primary body of the clarinet is made up of the bottom stack, which will only have a cork connection piece on one end.
The top stack, the second significant component of the clarinet’s main body, will contain cork on both ends. To properly align the barrel, line up the straight metal hinge on both sections.
The barrel should be a short piece, 3-4 inches length, with one end flared somewhat more than the other.
The mouthpiece is the instrument’s topmost portion and should come with a metal or leather ligature to keep the reed in place. Align the bottom of the mouthpiece with the instrument’s long straight octave key.
Step 3: Put the mouthpiece and reed together properly.
With the flat section facing in, slide the reed between the ligature and mouthpiece. Tighten the ligature’s nobs until they’re snug enough to stay on. When removing the clarinet portion, do not lose the screws; they are exceedingly difficult to replace. Overtightening the mouthpiece might cause it to strain, so be careful.
Do not place the reed higher than the mouthpiece, as this will make producing a note extremely difficult. The reed’s tip should be parallel to the mouthpiece’s tip.
The mouthpiece’s tip is exceptionally delicate. When not in use, cover it with a mouthpiece guard.
Step 4: Properly hold the clarinet.
The clarinet should be held at a 45-degree angle away from your body, with the bell just past your knees. When playing, keep your head up and your back straight. The clarinet should approach your mouth rather than the other way around.
Hold the clarinet with your right hand on the bottom stack and your thumb on the thumb-rest on the back of the stack. The other three fingers should be resting on the three keyholes.
You should hold the instrument on the top stack with your left hand. The octave key on the back of the instrument should be where your thumb rests. Your other three fingers will occupy the three primary keys on the bottom of the top stack.
Please keep your fingers close to the holes when they’re not in use to make it easier for them to reach the keys when needed. It will be tough to play quick items if you keep your fingers too far away from the clarinet.
Step 5: Before you play, wet the reed.
If you try to play on a dry reed, the tone will be poor, and the reed will squeak more frequently. Place your reed in a tiny jar or wet it with saliva before a performance or practice session.
Start with a softer reed, between 1 and 2.5 sizes. Harder reeds will be required as your mouth muscles become stronger.
When your clarinet starts sounding like a person talking with their nose plugged, it’s time to raise the reeds. Your teacher will inform you if you need a softer or harsher reed.
Step 6: After each use, disassemble and clean the clarinet.
After each performance, you must disassemble and clean your clarinet to prevent moisture from gathering inside the horn. The instrument may be cleaned quickly and easily.
Most horns should come with a cleaning rag that you may use to wipe out the horn’s body after each usage. A string should be tied to one end, which you will pull through each horn segment. It only takes a minute, but it will help keep your horn in good shape.
It’s also a good idea to clean around the connecting points with a Q-Tip now and then, where little particles and saliva might build.
Regularly grease your corks. Allowing the corks to dry up can make it difficult to assemble and disassemble your clarinet. You can oil the corks once a week if you use your clarinet a lot. It’s possible that if you lubricate the corks too much, they’ll slide off.
Performing a Note
Step 1: Properly place the horn in your mouth.
Say “whee” and “too” while holding this shape. Put the clarinet in your mouth while maintaining this shape (known as your embouchure).
Maintain a flat jaw. On the opposite side of the reed, your front teeth should be firmly placed on the top of your mouthpiece.
It won’t be easy to make a note if you put the horn in your mouth and blow. Making the appropriate shape with your mouth, known as the embouchure, takes some practice.
Step 2: Close your mouth around the mouthpiece with your lips. If you don’t close your lips tightly enough, air will escape, and no sound will be produced. To tighten your mouth, even more, try lifting the corners of your mouth. Your tongue should be directed at the reed but not touching it when you play.
This may not be easy to adjust to at first, and you will most likely benefit from lessons.
Step 3: Strive for a consistent tone.
Blow to generate a tone with your mouth correctly positioned. Experiment with different breath strengths to see how much effort is required to produce a good-sounding tone from the horn. It will necessitate some action. The clarinet will play an open G if no keys are pushed.
Don’t be dismayed if you squeaked. It isn’t easy to adjust to the clarinet’s mouth shape. Keep trying and experimenting with different airflows through the horn.
Step 4: Tighten your cheeks.
When you play, it’s tempting to puff up your cheeks, but you’ll obtain a more even and steady tone if you don’t. To avoid blowing them out, practice playing in front of the mirror.
This may make you squeal louder at first. Check where your mouth is on the mouthpiece if you squeak a lot. Make sure your mouthpiece isn’t too high or too low. This is something that your teacher can assist you with. Also, double-check that your reed is properly aligned.
Step 5: Experiment with a few notes.
Experiment with different notes by pressing other keys and noticing how the strength required to blow through the horn changes. Try to figure out what causes the sound to rise and fall. Play around with it for a bit.
Always totally cover the holes when you’re playing. The notes will not come out if you don’t. Make sure all holes are completely covered, especially while using the register key.
The Following Steps
Step 1: Get a fingering chart first.
Check out your local music store’s selection of beginner clarinet books. Band Expressions, Standard of Excellence, and Rubank Elementary Method are some of the most popular. They’ll all teach you how to play songs and finger each note correctly.
Without learning to read sheet music, it won’t be easy to progress very far on clarinet. Because the clarinet is a treble-clef instrument in the Bb range, you’ll need to understand the fundamentals of the treble clef before you can learn how to play it. School bands or private instruction are probably the best ways to do this.
Step 2: Work on scales and arpeggios.
Your technique for solos and another repertoire will be considerably smoother if you practice scales and arpeggios. Finger patterns are necessary for good clarinet playing, and you can rapidly master them by practicing these runs.
If you have a teacher, they will most likely teach you these things at some point.
Step 3: Learn songs. Start with what you already know if you’re learning an instrument for fun. There are a lot of popular clarinet pieces that aren’t too difficult. This is especially true if you prefer the more intuitive swing and jazz.
Although the classical repertoire can be challenging, some more manageable pieces can be found if you look hard enough.
Step 4: Think about getting private lessons. It’s difficult to learn to play clarinet alone by reading a book. It’s preferable to begin with, an instructor rather than on your own so that you don’t miss anything or learn something incorrectly. School music professors frequently provide low-cost classes.
Bad habits can form without your knowledge, making it difficult to advance past a specific ability level. Take clarinet lessons to learn how to play the instrument properly.
Step 5: Become a member of your school’s band or orchestra.
Find an instructor and join a band or orchestra if you want to learn to play the clarinet.
Get ready for a long journey! You won’t become an excellent player overnight. Begin with the fundamentals before progressing to more complex topics. Learning to play an instrument is a lifelong endeavor.
6 Clarinet Tips for Beginners to Advanced Players
Tip #1: Blow harder
First and foremost, blow harder! Many clarinetists, particularly just starting, do not use enough air when playing. Despite its diminutive size, the clarinet requires a lot of air to produce the cleanest, purest tones.
Fill your lungs by taking a deep inhale into your belly button and then pushing the air out as strongly as possible with your abdominal muscles. If you’re not used to strong breathing, you can build muscle memory by practicing without your clarinet throughout the day.
Tip #2: Don’t Be Afraid of the Mouthpiece
The mouthpiece, commonly known as the embouchure, is an essential component of clarinet performance. When you put your mouth against the instrument, ensure you’re using the proper technique.
Beginner musicians frequently show too much trepidation and do not place their mouths far enough on the embouchure. You’ll eventually figure out the optimal location for your playing style but start by positioning your upper teeth about a half-inch below the mouthpiece’s tip.
Note: It’s all about finding the sweet spot when working on your mouth technique, so don’t bite down too hard on the reed!
Tip #3: Use the “C” Hand Position
When playing the clarinet, you must maintain your hands tight enough to grip the instrument correctly but loose enough to play. Using a “C” hand position is one approach to ensure a comfortable grip.
Look down at your hands as you hold your clarinet. The curve between your index finger and thumb should be in the shape of a broad “C.” Adjust as needed if the shape is too narrow or angular.
Tip #4: Keep your clarinet at a 45-degree angle.
Your clarinet should have a smooth, clear tone rather than a harsh or noisy one. Consider the angle of your instrument if you’re having trouble producing the greatest tone. You should comfortably hold the clarinet at a 45-degree angle from your body.
Also, as you’re playing, make sure you’re maintaining appropriate posture. Sit up straight, but not too straight, to avoid crushing your lungs and squeezing your airways.
Tip #5: Experiment with different reeds for various tones.
You’ll want to experiment with different reeds as you progress as a clarinetist. Clarinet reeds come in a variety of materials. They are also available in a variety of lengths. As you may expect, each of these characteristics produces distinct noises.
Also, when you buy a new pack of reeds, some will sound better than others by default. Listen for variances in tone when playing the same note on each reed with the same amount of air. After that, pick your favorite clarinet reed.
Tip #6: Perfection comes with practice.
Finally, as with any musical instrument, put in as much practice time as possible! The more you practice, the faster you’ll improve as a clarinetist. When you have the opportunity, try to squeeze in an extra ten minutes of practice. If you’re having trouble motivating yourself, use a habit app on your phone to serve as a reminder.
Why Is Clarinet So Difficult?
Clarinets are more difficult to learn than non-wind instruments because they require regular practice to maintain embouchure skills. Furthermore, the fingerings are not as intuitive as on the piano, and while there are some patterns, you’ll need to master each fingering separately.
On The Clarinet, How Many Notes Are There?
To play the chromatic scale, a clarinet must have holes and keys for nineteen notes, a chromatic octave and a half from bottom E to B, in its lowest register. The clarinet’s wide range and complicated fingering system are due to this overblowing characteristic.
How To Hold A Clarinet?
With all of this information, Fidlar hope you found this article and have the tools you need to start playing the clarinet; and with a bit of guidance from a teacher, you’ll be ready to begin your musical journey!