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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000590.txt from 2003/10

From: "Gene Nibbelin" <>
Subj: RE: [kl] Starting a youngster
Date: Wed, 22 Oct 2003 22:40:45 -0400

Karl -

You are absolutely correct. 7 years old is too young. When I started in
1938, I was ten years old and had all my front permanent teeth. My teacher
would not start me until all these teeth were in. In my opinion, age 9 or
10 is still the best starting age for wind instruments.

I suggest that the 7 year old should be started on piano to learn the
rudiments of music, if this has not already been done.

If choosing to continue on clarinet at age 7, double lip might help her get
started getting a sound out of the horn. It is a more "natural" embouchure
and might be more understandable to the youngster.


Gene N.

-----Original Message-----
From: Karl Krelove []
Subject: RE: [kl] Starting a youngster

I hate to throw a wet blanket on the enthusiasm a couple of other responders
have shown, but my answer is - wait at least a year or (depending on her
size and apparent interest) two.

Just getting a sound is not all there is to playing a clarinet. That even
this basic preliminary is, for any reason, proving difficult suggests that
she just isn't physically ready. I don't have a strong opinion about using
small clarinets with very young children because I've never tried it. But,
though your daughter may be different, 7-year-olds with whom I've had
experience are not grown enough to cover holes on a full size clarinet (or
any of the other standard orchestral/band wind instruments, which don't come
in tiny sizes the way Suzuki-style string instruments do). Children that
size *can* handle tonettes, melody flutes, even recorders - all of which can
be used to teach and build the basic concept of fingering without the
complexity, weight or stretch of a full-size clarinet or the muscular
demands of a reed or standard flute embouchure. My advice would be to find
another less effortful means to teach her the basics of music and let the
clarinet wait until just getting a sound is not a barrier that needs

My $.02.

Karl Krelove

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Vic Brincat []
> I would love the get my 7 year old daughter started playing the
> clarinet.
> What can I do to get her to make a sound?

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