Here are some samples from Chapter 5A. Getting Started on Clarinet:

1. Clarinet Overview

The clarinet is a single-reed woodwind instrument. The reed, attached to the mouthpiece by a ligature, vibrates against the mouthpiece to create a sound. The clarinet is considered the most flexible and dynamic of the wind instruments – in fact, the clarinet section of a symphonic band has been equated in importance to an orchestra’s violin section. Clarinets have an impressive range of almost four octaves, and an enormous capability for dynamic contrasts. Capable of blending with almost any instrument, the clarinet can also be heard singing over an ensemble in classical, folk or jazz settings.

United States Marine Band Clarinet Section

The B-flat soprano clarinet is the standard clarinet used in instrumental programs. It is part of a large family of instruments. The most common clarinets found in school music programs are the E-flat soprano clarinet, the E-flat alto clarinet, the B-flat bass clarinet and the A clarinet, which many orchestral works require. The A clarinet is the most like the B-flat clarinet, pitched a half-step lower and using the same mouthpiece and reed.

The clarinet is used in a wide range of ensembles including concert bands, marching bands, orchestras, and pit orchestras. It is also played in chamber ensembles — clarinet ensembles (trios, quartets and clarinet choirs) and woodwind ensembles (trios, quartets and quintets) – and in some jazz ensembles.

Clarinet Choir, Conservatoire de Luxembourg

  This clarinet choir includes almost the entire clarinet family.

Prospective clarinet students should have large enough fingers to cover the tone holes, and should be able to hold the instrument up with their right thumb. Many beginners benefit from using a neckstrap to help hold some of the weight. Students with small fingers, an underbite, or very large tongues are not good candidates for learning the clarinet. Students should have good memorization skills, since each octave of the instrument has its own set of fingerings.

To reduce the frustration of beginner clarinetists, be sure their reeds and instruments are in good working order. Make sure that each student has two to four playable reeds in their reed case, ensuring they always have a backup reed available as needed. When a student is struggling to get a sound, check the reed and mouthpiece, then the instrument, and finally the player to diagnose and fix problems quickly.

The clarinet has a rich and diverse history in orchestral, band, chamber, jazz and folk music. The clarinet chapter includes methods, tips, tricks, and examples to you teach your students how to develop a good sound and a solid technique. It will also provide the tools you need to help more experienced students conquer increasingly advanced literature.

2. Parts of the Clarinet and

3. Assembling the Clarinet

The first step for getting started on clarinet is to assemble the mouthpiece, reed and ligature and learn how to make a sound on it. In Chapter 5B. First Clarinet Notes we’ll assemble the rest of the instrument and play the first notes.

Parts of the Clarinet (student model)

Parts of the Clarinet (student model)

Remove the mouthpiece from the ligature and mouthpiece cap. Check to see if the cork is dry or slippery. If the cork feels dry, add a thin coating of cork grease to the cork. Palm the barrel and gently twist the mouthpiece onto the barrel.

Slide the ligature onto the mouthpiece with the screws toward your right hand side. Loosen the screws on the ligature slightly and slip the flat side (table) of the reed between the mouthpiece and the ligature by wiggling the bark portion of the reed down behind the ligature. Carefully line up the tip of the reed with the curved top of the mouthpiece with a fingernail’s width of black mouthpiece shows just behind the reed. Line the top of the ligature up with the lines on your mouthpiece, or just under the cut portion of the reed where the bark starts. Tighten the ligature screws so that the ligature holds the reed securely in place on the mouthpiece, but does not squeeze the reed.

Download Sample Pages from the Clarinet Chapter of the Book