Beginning clarinet: the very start
Like starting with any instrument, beginning clarinet is a process of learning that involves both great achievement and the occasional setback. However, if the beginning clarinetist follows a few tips relating to clarinet care and clarinet playing, the success is sure to outweigh the setbacks.
The first thing that a new clarinet player should learn is to put together their instrument properly, and how to hold it. One of the important things when putting a clarinet together is not to force any part into another, and that the side lever is up when the lower and upper parts are put together, otherwise bent keys could be the result.
This type of care should be extended to all parts of the clarinet – while it is inevitable that reeds will eventually split, they will last longer with careful care. The clarinet itself will last longer and have less need for repair if it is looked after properly, which includes cleaning after each time it is played and being put in its case properly.
One of the most difficult things for the beginning clarinetist is getting the embouchure correct. The embouchure is how the lips are shaped to hold the mouthpiece and create the correct vibration of the reed. Make sure that the bottom teeth are covered by the bottom lip and that the top teeth are touching the mouthpiece, but not clamping down too tight. It is normal for beginner clarinet players to have a lot of squeaking! As you continue to learn and practice, this annoying part of beginner clarinet playing should disappear.
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