I played quite a lot of Clarinet when I was young, and wasn’t too bad at it. Then I stopped; for about 20 years. Then I started again. I found that I’d forgotten lots. Even worse, I discovered that there was a lot basic stuff that I should have learned, but hadn’t.
So thought I’d share a few of the things I should have learned when I started, but didn’t; until now.
Get a Good Mouthpiece
If you still have the mouthpiece that came with the clarinet, you probably should get a new one. It is much better to have a medium quality clarinet with good mouthpiece, than it is to have a great clarinet with an unsuitable mouthpiece.
I read about this in “The Art of Clarinet Playing” by Keith Stein, then decided to get a new mouthpiece myself.
I rang up a local music instrument shop and asked if they would let me come in an try a bunch of mouthpieces. They said yes, so I brought my instrument in, with some decent reeds. Then tried a bunch of mouthpieces.
The mouthpiece should be selected on four criteria (in order of importance):
- Tone Quality
- “Security” from squeaks
- Response – how it feels to blow
Everyone will be different, so you need to try some out for yourself.