The Clarinet is a hugely popular instrument due to its playability and versatility - a fantastic way to introduce yourself to the woodwind family. Clarinets are relatively inexpensive to buy, have low maintenance costs and are easy to handle, making them the ideal instrument for young musicians or wannabe band members.
Here are a few examples where you can hear the clarinet in action...
Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto in A major shows the clarinet’s ability to project its sound over an orchestra.
This clarinet features in George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Bluedemonstrate the flexibility of the clarinet and the effects it can create.
The clarinet is very flexible with regards to performance opportunities. It is not only classical music that can be performed on the clarinet, but it is also greatly appreciated in the folk and jazz music scenes around the world.
Balkan Traditional music
Jazz Clarinet – Glenn Miller, Moonlight Serenade.
FUN FACT: The word Clarinet literally means little trumpet. It's related to the word 'clarion', which is a kind of little trumpet that is loud and clear!
As a beginner you will require a B Flat Clarinet. The clarinet itself can be purchased or put on a hire/purchase scheme. It comes in one standard size, we recommend...
If you're spending money on lessons, books etc. it is not advisable to buy a poor student model that is difficult to play and has bad tuning. This particular model is reliable and relatively inexpensive.
There are a vast array of helpful clarinet accessories on the market than can really make a difference to your development and comfort.
The essential accessory to your clarinet is a reed as this is what produces the sound at the mouthpiece.
To start, we recommend Rico Bb Clarinet Reeds. Rico is currently the world’s most popular manufacturer of reeds, we stock them in packs of 3 and boxes of 10.
Cleaning and Care
Like all members of the woodwind family, the care and maintenance of your clarinet is hugely important in order to keep it working well and minimizing repair costs. Here are some tools we recommend to ensure the maintenance of your instrument:
Reeds are susceptible to chipping and breaking if they are not protected properly, Reed Guard's by Rico are small plastic cases in which to store and protect up to 4 reeds that are not in use. A very inexpensive investment that can save you frequent visits to your reed supplier.
Here are the best selling clarinet tutor books for beginners:
Abracadabra Clarinet guides a complete beginner from the earliest stages of musical education to become a competent and self-confident clarinettist. It is full of exciting musical styles and popular short songs. There is also Abracadabra Clarinet with CD available which includes fun backing tracks to play along to.
Team Woodwind Clarinet begins with a step by step guide that talks you through the instrument and basic music theory. It moves through the notes of the clarinet, gradually building up your ability to play the variety of short pieces included towards the end of the book. The book contains a wide variety of musical styles with which you can play along with the CD, from the Baroque and Classical eras to film, folk, jazz and Latin American. The variety makes it fun to learn and shows you how flexible the flute is and the opportunities that are available.
Clarinet Basics by Paul Harris starts at absolute beginner level and progresses to about Grade 2. There are 22 stages, each section includes a wonderful variety of concert pieces from the great composers, traditional tunes and fun, original exercises, 'finger gyms' and 'warm ups' to help establish a sound technique, 'factfiles' and 'quizzes' to teach notation and general musicianship, helpful, clear 'fingering charts' and 'rhythm boxes' and great illustrations. There is also a Clarinet Basics with CD edition available which contains fun backing tracks to all the pieces as well as providing additional parts for the duets and trios.
Finding a Clarinet Teacher
Music Centres - playing in orchestras & ensembles
This resource was written by:
Sarah Hayward Bmus (hons), MA
Sarah is a sprightly coloratura soprano and active violin and viola player who enjoys interacting with other musicians and teaching her students. Sarah is part of DS Music’s Education Outreach & Marketing Team and is passionate about the expansion and Educational Outreach of the company in order to help give everyone the opportunity to access music. Be the change you wish to see in the world. Music has the power to change people so help me use it to change the world!! :)