30 Things Every Clarinetist Should Do Before 30

By now, faithful readers should know about my love for lists, so I’ve created the clarinetist’s version of 30 before 30.

If you’re looking to create a clarinet-inspired bucket list, here are my suggestions for 30 things every clarinetist should do before 30 (in no particular order):

  1. Perform a solo recital
  2. Teach someone else how to play the clarinet
  3. Attend a clarinet event, conference, or festival
  4. Have a group of BCF (best clarinet friends)
  5. Cultivate a signature skill (such as great rhythm, fast articulation, crazy technique, etc)
  6. Choose “your” piece, which you can perform on a moment’s notice
  7. Perform in a masterclass
  8. Perform in a band or orchestra (or both!)
  9. Develop strong opinions about your favorite orchestral excerpts
  10. Contact your clarinet idols to tell them how they’ve impacted your musical journey
  11. Practice occasionally just for fun, not because you have to
  12. Try a variety of products to find a great setup for yourself
  13. Find your favorite YouTube channels, blogs, or social media clarinetists to follow
  14. Watch the livestreaming of an international competition
  15. Take a lesson with a clarinetist you deeply respect
  16. Read a book about the clarinet (here are my favorites)
  17. Discover your favorite method and etude books
  18. Join an online clarinet forum to connect with people from around the world
  19. Record yourself regularly
  20. Have a photo shoot with your clarinet (amateur or professional)
  21. Replace your swab and sanitize your mouthpiece on the regular
  22. Try yoga, tai chi, Alexander Technique, Feldenkrais or other program to raise body awareness when you play
  23. Organize your music collection
  24. Play duets regularly with friends
  25. Learn basic clarinet repairs
  26. Try your favorite auxiliary clarinets
  27. Volunteer your musical skills to organizations where they’re appreciated
  28. Step outside your musical comfort zone by playing a different style, song, or technique
  29. Choose a go-to performer or piece that inspires you
  30. Keep playing the clarinet for the next 30 years!

What’s on your clarinet 30 before 30 list?


  • Margaret Marie Coulter

    I love this list. I performed a solo recital in April 2018. I already did items 1, 8, 11, and 19 on your list. I plan to perform another solo recital before I turn 32, hopefully before turning 30. I plan to do the first five items and number sixteen. I like number 24 but I’m not sure when I will do it. Number 24 needs some additions like playing trios, quartets, or quintets. Thanks for posting.

  • Dan

    What if I’m already 30? ;)

    Additions for everyone:
    * Learn to diagnose reed problems and adjust reeds.
    * Use the money saved using the previous step to throw a party.

    I definitely have some additions though…
    * Make a reed from a blank.
    * Learn how to fix cracks.
    * Write a clarinet sonata.

    • jennymaclay

      If you’re already 30 you can add items as necessary ;) And great suggestions for other things to add to the list! Thank you!