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Getting a sound out of a clarinet.

17 replies

Bunch · 23/09/2008 12:55

My DD, aged 8, started learning clarinet last Tuesday with her class at school. She was sooo excited prior to this but came home almost in tears because only 2 in the class couldn't get a note out of theirs and she was one of them!! I had warned her it was difficult and would take a while to get used to but apparently the rest of the class laughed at her! It has really put her off this week so I was wondering if there are any tips from clarinet players I could give her. Incidently, she doesn't have one at home, they only get to try them once a week.

OP posts:
thequietone · 23/09/2008 13:02

Maybe she's not applying enough pressure (or squeeze) with her mouth. There's a reed that sit atop the mouthpiece. When she blows, she also needs to push up just a little (the reed is underneath the mouthpiece). I'd recommend she plays around next time with squeezing when she blows. It's a case of too much and too little will get no sound. Good luck and...bless her!

stealthsquiggle · 23/09/2008 13:15

She needs to 't' into the mouthpiece as well, just like with a recorder.

The rest of the class are being blue meanies - it's not easy and it takes a while to get the hang of it.

Could you try freecycle or sim to see if you can get/borrow her a clarinet?

WilfSell · 23/09/2008 13:21

When I started playing the clarinet (many geological aeons ago, and I do have to add the health warning that I played for three years and then promptly gave up when I discovered boys) my teacher told me to practice by sticking my tongue out slightly, as if about to blow a raspberry, then to pull it back (the T-ing bit I guess) as I blew. Practicing first by blowing raspberries with the mouthpiece might help?

MadameCastafiore · 23/09/2008 13:21

You have to not puff out your cheeks apparently - so DD tells me - she has just started and can get a sound out as can I but DH can't - it is normal - can you try and hire one for her to practice on at home - we hire one for DD it is about £30 a term fromt he councils Music Dept.

islandofsodor · 23/09/2008 13:23

8 is very young for a clarinet. Has she got her 2nd set of teeth yet?

Lio · 23/09/2008 13:23

Or she might just have had a crappy reed.

cupsoftea · 23/09/2008 13:25

put her bottom lip over her teeth & use the tongue against the top gum to make a ter with the air blowing through - iyswim. Could she borrow a clarinet and just have a go at home - good on her for trying. Also the strength of the reed - if it's too tough or weak for her - it will be harder to make a sound. Bet she'll be really good - how awful for the others to laugh.

TheFallenMadonna · 23/09/2008 13:25

Hard in a big class I expect. DS (7) had his first clarinet lesson yesterday, and needed quite a bit of help getting his mouth right.

Bunch · 23/09/2008 13:49

Thank you everyone. I knew I'd get some help on here! I'll let DD read your replies when she gets home and hopefully it'll help. I thought 8 was a bit young for the clarinet TBH, I would have thought they'd have started with something simple like the recorder! That's nothing tho, next year they get to try brass and the following year strings! OMG at cello!!

OP posts:
SmugColditz · 23/09/2008 13:53

clarinet is, i reckon, one of the hardest instruments to get a sound out of. why have they started them on something so hard/

brass is easy peasy after a clarinet, she will already have some breath control and mouth muscle control, brass will be a joy ride after clarinet

FleurDelacour · 23/09/2008 13:59

It sounds gross but moistening the reed by licking it (or taking it off the mouthpiece and sucking it) helps to make the reed work nicely. A dry reed is likely to squeak. The plastic clarinets are quite light- hopefully she is using one of these rather than a wooden one. Her right thumb will get sore either way. I think mine has a permanent dent in it now.

whoops · 23/09/2008 13:59

I think the reed has something to do with it as if I ever had to borrow someones clarinet I couldn't get a sound out of it but I never had a problem with mine (my family may disagree though

kitbit · 23/09/2008 14:04

Tell her to unclip the reed and suck it for a bit first. I presume she has her own reed and not a shared one?? (bleargh) Also tell her to clip the reed on so it pokes over the top of the mouthpiece a couple of millimeters. Maybe the reed is too hard? Softer ones are easier to play when you're just starting. Perhaps you could take her to the music shop and buy her her own soft reed? She could then suck it for a few mins before class.

Stream of consciousness, sorry...

Bunch · 23/09/2008 14:20

This is great. Just what I wanted! I'm hoping she'll come home today after lesson number two with more success. I did tell her to put her hand up and ask for a bit of extra help but she's not confident enought (new teacher).

OP posts:
Bunch · 23/09/2008 15:49

Shes just come home from school with a big smile on her face! She made a sound today!! She informs me she can play notes G, F and C!! Thank you for all your tips. She has read them all!

OP posts:
kitbit · 23/09/2008 15:54


cupsoftea · 24/09/2008 15:03


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