Beginning Clarinet Tip
A friend and colleague who I met at a school band rental night is a superb teacher and has his beginning clarinets assemble the instruments without the lower joint (mouthpiece, barrel, upper joint, bell) during the first few weeks. It eliminates quite a few problems and creates a much simpler learning sequence for young students: (1) don’t have to worry about the bridge key (2) assembly and disassembly is quicker and easier (3) students don’t learn bad habit of resting side keys on right hand index finger (4) focus is on good embouchure set by holding bell with right hand and barrel with left (5) once embouchure is set then left hand moves to proper position and focus is on left hand notes A, G, F, E, D and C (the C will be out of tune). A lot of technique and music can be learned with those notes. And this teacher’s beginning band students have to “earn” the lower joint by properly demonstrating good embouchure, tone and left hand playing technique. It’s amazing how hard these beginner clarinet students will work to achieve that.