• How to make your clarinet articulation lighter

    In my opinion, one of the most difficult clarinet techniques to do with polish and pizzazz (and eventually speed) is articulation. Once you’ve gotten the hang of the basics (click here for my complete guide to clarinet articulation), a common complaint I hear is that the articulation is too heavy. Playing with heavy articulation presents a few problems: It lessens the musical effect of playing well in all styles of music (such as lyrical and expressive works). It seriously limits your maximum articulation speed. If you’ve already read my articulation troubleshooting guide and think your articulation is still too heavy, here are a few common causes and solutions: You aren’t…

  • Band directors: Should your clarinetists be double tonguing?

    Throughout the years, I’ve taught quite a few sectionals and have worked with many school clarinet programs, and a common question band directors ask is if their clarinetists should be double tonguing. There are no definitive answers because it depends on the ability level and repertoire of your band program, but here are my thoughts: (Disclaimer: These are my opinions as a clarinet performer, researcher, and pedagogue. Band directors reading this know the ability levels of their students and can make specific recommendations and decisions based on their musicians.) If I had to give a universal answer, I would say that no, clarinetists shouldn’t be expected to double tongue (at…

  • The Complete Guide to Clarinet Articulation

    There are more than a few…controversial…clarinet topics. Once you learn the basics, you learn that nothing is really as basic as it first appears. One of these hot topics? Articulation and tonguing. This is why I’ve waited so long to publish this complete guide. I’ve done guides on tuning, resonance fingerings, long tones, and other clarinet fundamentals, but discussing articulation to an audience of predominantly clarinetists seemed a bit ambitious, to say the least. Please note: Before we dive into this complete guide, I want to make it very clear that there are many different articulation beliefs, philosophies, fundamentals, and concepts in the clarinet world. Ask a room full of…