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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000532.txt from 2002/02

From: "Patricia Alison Smith" <>
Subj: Re: [kl] starting beginners
Date: Tue, 26 Feb 2002 09:40:10 -0500

This is in reply to Jennifer and Desiree:

Clarinet is NOT, despite what a lot of people say, one of the easier
instruments to learn. Sure, it IS one of the easier instruments for
students to get a sound out of. But to play it well, it takes time.

I would suggest having them use a bit less bottom lip, and to bring the
clarinet in, closer to the body, so the angle between the horn and the body
is not so great. Also, encourage them to flatten the bottom lip more, and
keep the chin flat as well. And opening the throat to make a nice "O"
sound, is excellent.

I also do not see a problem with them playing with double lip if it works
for them and they get a good sound with it. Some people achieve a much
better sound that way, and are able to open the throat much better, as well
as solve the very problems Desiree mentioned.

Pointing the chin downwards and opening the throat should get rid of the
puffed cheeks. And closing the angle should help as far as the pinching
lips are concerned.

Lastly, but most importantly, you will want to check the diaphragm area to
make sure that the students are breathing in deeply and not putting air in
their cheeks to support the sound. I have had students do this in the past.
The sooner this dreadful habit is broken the better. Your band may not get
as far in the method book right now, but I can promise you proper breathing
will pay off later down the road.

Patricia A. Smith


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