Clarinet/Clarinet Basics

Clarinet Basics


The clarinet is one of the harder woodwind instruments to learn how to play well. One must balance tone, embouchure, tonguing, and good technique all at the same time, while trying to adjust the clarinet the way you want it due to it having the most variables of any other woodwind instrument. It is believed that clarinetists should have a list of priorities that they need to accomplish in a certain order to become refined clarinetist; this particular order is the same order that's in this chapter.

The clarinetist needs to create a good solid airstream; without airflow, the clarinet doesn't work. This is its "breath of life", both literally, and metaphorically. Without a good solid airstream there is no possible way that any clarinetist can produce the desired fluid tone that the clarinet is famous for. A good solid airstream is one of two key elements in creating a good tone.

After the player can give a consistent airstream, next is acquiring a good embouchure. Embouchure is the second aspect of creating a good tone and is the airstream's doorway into the clarinet. The embouchure holds the reed and mouthpiece in check, regulates the tone, the tuning and poises the tongue to articulate when necessary.

Once a clarinetist has achieved the first two objectives, next is learning how to poise the tongue and how to articulate. Most clarinetists aren't taught how to correctly articulate. Thus the articulations are sloppy, usually fat, and it becomes easier and easier to fall behind in tempo when it comes to playing.

Now that everything is right with the face of the clarinetist, he or she can now work on technique. This is when the clarinetist learns what fingerings should go with what note combinations. How to get past complex rhythms, and just become an all 'round better musician. This step must not be the focus until the preceding steps are completed.

The above is a lay out of how the clarinetist should approach learning this fine instrument. Theoretically the clarinetist should work on all of these aspects at once. Although, beginners should concentrate on one step at a time, while still touching the others, then go in order from there.