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 Beginning doubling on clarinet from trumpet
Author: kurth83 
Date:   2023-08-26 10:04

Don't see many posts about brass players learning woodwinds.

This is my first post.

Short version: I need a physically easier instrument to play that has a rich classical repertoire with access to modern genres, by those standards clarinet is wonderful. IMHO buy a good horn and a good mouthpiece to start unless you want to suffer. If you play trumpet, a lot of the mechanics of clarinet will come easily and naturally.

Long (long, long, long, sorry) version:

I'm an aging amateur classical trumpet player who is no longer able to physically access most trumpet literature, looking for a change to remedy that.

So so why clarinet?

I wanted an expressive more physically accessible instrument with a wide range of repertoire (stressing classical but good possibility for other genres) and clarinet is my first choice. It has the possibility to be a gateway to saxophone for big band work, but saxes don't have much classical repertoire so I wouldn't start there.

Been playing a week now.

Started on a CSO (Clarinet shaped object) from Amazon, played on it for a few days until my YCL-255 arrived. Bought a Clark Fobes Debut cuz ppl said I should. And stuck a 2.5 reed into it, cuz ppl said I should.

The CSO liked the Fobes, but the Yamaha did not (my lame skills likely). After a few days of struggle I bought a Vandoren BD5 cuz a lot of self-proclaimed internet classical clarinetists seemed to like it (and Dawkes music said it is their best selling mouthpiece), follow the herd right?

What a difference the BD5 made. Most of the struggle went away, tone more even, throat tones sound better, soft is easier, and loud is nice too, more control and ease of playing everywhere as a result. Takes a little more air pressure to make it work, but as a trumpet player air is one thing I have plenty of.

So my take away is student mouthpieces are for students who want to suffer (course I know nothing so take that with a huge grain of salt). But if you can afford $1000+ for a nice student horn, the $100+ for a good mouthpiece is a no brainer. I worry the BD5 may be my first hit of an addictive drug though. Is MAS a thing (mouthpiece acquisition syndrome)?

So after a week I can offer this (I'll check back in a few years if I get to where I can actually play).

The trumpet background brings these advantages:
- I can sight read treble clef in Bb in my head, I hear the pitches that are supposed to come out before they do.
- breath control and support is easy, feels very similar to trumpet except you don't have to work anywhere near as hard. I have played lower brass too, and that takes much more air with less resistance, the clarinet come much closer to the feel of trumpet there. I imagine the lower woodwinds have a similar progression, more air, less resistance, less chop strength needed.
- embouchure uses the same muscles but much easier than trumpet. 20 min on the clarinet feels like 1 minute on trumpet, this is the accessible part I was hoping for. Clarinet feels like a good warmup, limbers up the trumpet chops nicely, but no strain whatsoever.
- voicing - on trumpet we call it tongue level - comes naturally with some practice and adaptation for tone. I watched a zillion clarinet videos on this so I was prepared and they were pretty much spot on.
- oddly, the break is quite similar to trumpet, conceptually at least. I can hit progressively higher harmonics just like on a trumpet, but easier to do it on clarinet. Maybe a bit too easy (squeak...).
- trumpet lip vibrato works perfectly on clarinet, I was able to do a decent vibrato in the first 60 seconds of playing. Too bad classical clarinet style doesn't use vibrato. I could get away with it on trumpet for lyrical solo orchestral passages (there aren't many of those though). But much of the more recent trumpet solo literature would shine when played with a tasteful classical vibrato.
- double tonguing actually seems to work on clarinet, although it isn't traditionally used. Still will be fun to see how far I can get with that, definitely easier in the lower registers so far.
- The long and short is I can make a clarinet sing beautifully after just a few days of playing (for very simple passages), and have pretty easy access to the entire range of the instrument. "just" need to work on the technique. The no-vibrato style of classical clarinet has it's own beauty too, so this instrument will be a joy to play.

The downside.
- the break.
- having to use all 10 fingers (instead of just three) and all of them have to hit those tiny gopher holes exactly right, this is going to take a while... But I have a love of practicing, and method books and etudes are my best friends, so I hope old fashioned hard work will take care of these difficulties.
- my thumb hurts, even with the lightweight plastic clarinet... The one physical thing that is bugging me, so I bought an elastic strap in case the thumb doesn't adjust and get stronger. But I am toughing it out for now.

So that's my hello.

My master plan for clarinet is to buy a YCL-CSVR sometime in the next year or so.

I am searching for a teacher too. We have a few good players in the area who teach beginners.

Aging classical trumpet player beginning to learn clarinet as a second.

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 Topics Author  Date
 Beginning doubling on clarinet from trumpet  new
kurth83 2023-08-26 10:04 
 Re: Beginning doubling on clarinet from trumpet  new
kurth83 2023-09-04 00:46 


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