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How to Play Our Clarinet

Remove the metal 'ligature' on the mouthpiece and place the flat side of the reed against the flat space on the mouthpiece. Align the curved end of the reed flush or slightly extended over the curved end of the mouthpiece. Hold the reed by the thick end and slide the ligature (metal screw-band on mouthpiece) carefully over the reed and mouthpiece. Loosen the ligature if necessary to completely slide it onto the thick end of the reed, and mouthpiece. Tighten the ligature, being sure the reed remains flush with the tip of the mouthpiece (do not over-tighten). You are now ready to play. Place roughly 1/3-1/2 of the exposed portion of the reed into your mouth, with your lips comfortably tight. With a deep breath, blow with a strong, sustained breath, releasing pressure on the reed enough to allow it to vibrate but not enough to just let air pass through or around the reed. You may have to try several times to get a clear tone. Don't be discouraged. Just experiment with pressures and depth of lips and breath on the reed (it may tickle at first, but that will go away). You will find subtle but interesting changes in pitch and tonality with changes in lip and breath pressure which can be incorporated in your 'style' as you develop your playing techniques. Your first tone should be reached with all fingerholes open. Experiment with first the upper thumbhole, then each successive fingerhole covered, from the top down (left hand over right) until you can play the entire scale. If you lose the sound, begin at the top again, with all holes open. Then by using the attached finger positions you can use our simple songbooks to learn a few songs until your own experimentation gives you enough feeling to go on with your own musical journey. Do not be afraid to make your own tunes, just experiment with a few simple sounds, and tie them together. The key is to go slow, not try to play like a pro the first time out. You can also try to play along with friends (ask them to play in the same key as your clarinet, or play along with your favorite CD or tape. Feel free to give us a call if you feel you need any help! We want you to enjoy your musical journey! We wish you the best on your Magical Musical Journey!!!!