• Quick Fix Friday: Maintain the Momentum on Long Notes

    Happy Friday! Another week, another quick fix! You might think that long notes are easier to play – after some technical fireworks, you can hang out on a few whole notes and relax. If you’re guilty of doing this, you’re missing out on some nice phrasing opportunities. Let’s talk about my theory of musical magnetism for a second. I believe…

  • Reed Advice for Beginning Clarinetists

    This post originally appeared on the Jellynote blog. Jellynote is a great website to find sheet music, articles, and other resources for musicians. I’ve enjoyed exploring their website using Jellynote Premium (which was generously gifted to me) the past few months, and I hope you’ll check out their website! The clarinet is a wonderful instrument, but it certainly does require…

  • Quick Fix Friday: Play Between the Notes

    Happy Friday! This week’s quick fix will help you direct your air while creating more compelling musical interpretations. If you’ve ever noticed that your sound is choppy or disjunct, it’s probably because you are slowing or stopping your air flow when you change notes. This is especially common if you are articulating notes, as the tongue can often interrupt the…

  • Clarinet History Story Time: When Heinrich Bärmann was questioned by the police

    When clarinetists think of Heinrich Bärmann, the famous Weber clarinet concerti usually come to mind. But did you know that he once had an unfortunate encounter with a Venetian canal, a petty concert organizer, and the Venice Police? This tale is recounted in the English translation of Louis Spohr’s autobiography. This entry is from October 12, 1816, and this story…

  • Quick Fix Friday: Play with a slurred sound

    Happy Friday! One of the most common queries I receive is how to improve clarinet articulation. Many people focus so much on the tongue that they neglect the air. I truly believe that 90% of clarinet problems can be traced back to air, and articulation is no exception. (Don’t get me wrong – there are certainly issues that can arise…

  • Overcoming clarinet undertones

    Clarinet players everywhere are quite familiar with the dreaded squeak. But what about the squeak’s distant cousin, the undertone? Squeaks are easily identifiable – shrill, piercing, and distressing to any dogs in the nearby vicinity. An undertone is more subtle – it is the grunting, hollow sound that is literally under the tone you are trying to play. Undertones can…

  • Quick Fix Friday: No squishy lower lip

    Happy Friday! Do you ever feel like your tone is lackluster, unfocused, or just a bit blah? If so, your lower lip could be the culprit. Away from the clarinet, hold your mouth in a relaxed position, as if you were sleeping. Now gently touch your lower lip. It should feel squishy. This is fine most of the time, but…

  • Quick Fix Friday: Follow the beam

    Happy Friday! You might be a bit confused about the title (no, I’m not referring to the beams in Stephen King’s Dark Tower series, although this is a great series). I’m referring to beams in regard to rhythm. A beam is the horizontal line which groups certain notes together, such as two eighth notes or four sixteenth notes. Now, on…

  • Quick Fix Friday: Breathe from the corners

    Happy Friday, and welcome to another installment of my Quick Fix Friday! This week, I have a simple fix to allow you to take fast breaths without disrupting your embouchure. When you take a breath, make sure you breathe from the corners of your mouth and avoid moving your jaws. I commonly see students remove their jaws from the mouthpiece…