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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000490.txt from 2001/02

From: Richard Bush <>
Subj: Re: [kl] Jennifer's beginning student
Date: Tue, 13 Feb 2001 13:17:41 -0500

When I start a beginning student, I first do the following:

1) Using Sterisol, I clean the mouthpiece and reed so that I can test
the student's set up.
2) I evaluate the quality of the reed and its strength, clipping and/or
do basis balancing if needed. This need not be fancy, as the reed
probably won't last too long, but it needs to be functional and in the
ball park so the student can successfully experience tone production.
3) I evaluate the quality of the mouthpiece.
4) I perform both vacuum and pressure tests on each joint.
5) I visually inspect the instrument for any problems, paying particular
attention to the adjustment of the bridge key, the crow foot and the
need for minuscule lost motion between the throat tone A and G# keys.
6) I play the student's instrument, using the mouthpiece and reed the
student will be using.
7) I again sterilize the student's set up before handing back the

All the above should be done BEFORE having the student attempt even one
note. You, the teacher need to know that all is well and working
properly. It is particularly important to know if the mouthpiece is up
to snuff. If not, the parents should be put on alert and guided in the
purchase of a piece that will work.

Next comes an explanation of forming the embouchure, followed by initial
attempts to blow a note. I choose first space E and have the student
grip the thumb rest with the right thumb and forefinger.

If all goes well, I have them add fingers and play down to C.

An explanation of tonguing comes later in the lesson, followed by an
explanation of foot tapping and how to think and count through the
length of a whole note.

I almost always send them on their way with the first page of the Rubank
as their assignment.

I will also often schedule them for a follow up lesson within the week,
as too much can go wrong in the very beginning.

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