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 when's a good time to start clarinet?
Author: sfalexi 
Date:   2003-03-30 02:03

My little sister is ten and 1/4 years old. She wants to start a musical instrument and like every loving older brother, I'm going to allow her to choose whatever instrument she wants. And like every loving sibling I've already broken out my old clarinet method books and bought clarinet "how to" videos for beginners.

I'm a little worried about starting her this young. She does want to play, but I remember reading somewhere to wait till most of the "adult" teeth have grown in and she still has a few teeth that she's losing. I belive this is to make sure that the jaw growth is not impeded and that it grows at a normal rate instead of forming itself around a bad embouchre (which she will doubtfully have as a beginner). Can I start her this young? Should I begin lessons anytime soon?


US Army Japan Band

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 Re: when's a good time to start clarinet?
Author: Neil 
Date:   2003-03-30 03:30

I started at nine which was normal in my school as band started in fourth grade. I don't recall myself or any of my coevals having any physical problems. As long as her hands are big enough to reach all the keys and support the instrument, as I expect they would be at age 10ΒΌ, she should be fine

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 Re: when's a good time to start clarinet?
Author: PJ 
Date:   2003-03-30 05:19

Start her now; here's why...


Good luck with her!

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 Re: when's a good time to start clarinet?
Author: allencole 
Date:   2003-03-30 11:11

Add one thing to that...she should be able to reach the keys and seal the tone holes. If this is in place, she's good to go.

Allen Cole

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 The recorder is a fundamentals instrument...
Author: Synonymous Botch 
Date:   2003-03-30 12:35

Before investing the effort in clarinet studies, start with the recorder.

It is inexpensive (she should pay a token portion to prove interest), durable and a similar layout to the clarinet.

It is also light enough that a first time music student can handle one without tremendous struggles.

Julian Bliss to the contrary, clarinets are difficult 'starter' instruments and can frustrtate a budding musician's drive to improve.

3-10 weeks on the recorder (you can play duets if she's on a simple melody line) and introduce the reed/mouthpiece/ligature/barrel 'duck call'.

Don't be surprised if a ten-year old waffles about practice.

The trick is in getting her to come to you for more play.

(It is called 'playing' after all.)

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 Re: when's a good time to start clarinet?
Author: Ted 
Date:   2003-03-30 14:38

This is a difficult subject, as there are as many answers as there are people. I've been a teacher for many, many years and I've seen mixed results with kids starting young, on any instrument. In our modern society we seem to think that if we throw everything at our children they will be enriched, gifted and talented. It doesn't always work that way. Many kids will buckle and flounder from , what seems to them to be, an enormous learning curve and pressure. Some kids take to it readily and easily. It depends on the kid and how it's handled at home. Some kids are late bloomers and florish in there own time, I myself was in this category. That being said, ten is the start of a good age for clarinet, IMHO, if the child has reached some maturity in physical develpopment, meaning hands strong enough to hold the instrument for some duration, fingers to curve and cover holes, enough breath to regulate and control tone, teeth developed enough to form embouchure (teeth don't have to be perfect as they are always moving and changing anyway). I don't mean to sound dogmatic, all this is just a sugestion. I've started kids on instruments (at their and their parents insistence) that I thought they weren't physically ready for and, most times, it didn't work out, but there have been exceptions. Some old Italian clarinettists have told me that they started out on Eb clarinet , as it is smaller, and it worked out great. Good luck - TD

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