• New Year, New Gear! Clarinet Equipment Information

    Happy New Year! I hope this year brings you health, happiness, and a lot of great music! If new gear is on the horizon for you this year, I’ve rounded up my articles about upgrading clarinet equipment to help you take the next step. Accessories Clarinets Leave a comment below with other articles you’d like to see about clarinet equipment!

  • How to choose a new clarinet mouthpiece

    Welcome to the wonderful world of clarinet mouthpieces! If you’re looking for a new clarinet mouthpiece, here’s everything you need to know: How do you know when it’s time to replace a clarinet mouthpiece? While mouthpieces can be played indefinitely (as long as they’re not broken), I recommend replacing your mouthpiece every 5-10 years, although this greatly depends on how much you play. If you notice that your sound seems lackluster, you experience more resistance when you play, or reed selection is more difficult than normal, it could be the mouthpiece. It’s always a good idea to have a back-up mouthpiece, so if you’re undecided about replacing mouthpieces now, you…

  • Cane vs. Synthetic Clarinet Reeds – What’s the Difference?

    Let’s talk about one of the most frequently discussed clarinet topics – reeds. Reeds are an essential component to producing a sound on the clarinet, and there are many different brands, cuts, and varieties available in today’s market. Today, synthetic reeds are becoming more and more popular among all levels of players, from beginners to professionals. Here’s my complete guide to everything you need to know: Click here to skip to my opinions on synthetic reeds. What are cane reeds? Cane reeds are made from the Arundo donax cane, which can be found in different regions around the world. Many reed companies get their cane from the Mediterranean basin. (Fun…

  • My Winter Clarinet Essentials

    Winter weather can wreak havoc on clarinets (and reeds) if you’re not careful, so here are a few of my winter essentials for clarinetists: protective case cover – Make sure your clarinet case is warm and well-insulated with a padded case cover. (You can even wrap a scarf or towel around the case inside for an added layer of protection.) humidifiers – These are important to have in both your clarinet and reed case to maintain a consistent humidity level. There are many different humidifiers available, and a few of my favorites are Oasis, Dampit (I use the violin one), Boveda, and sponges cut to fit inside a toothbrush holder.…

  • Equipment List 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! Congratulations on beginning your journey to learn the clarinet! I might be a bit biased, but I think it’s the best instrument, and I’m so excited that you want to learn to play the clarinet. Before you start playing clarinet, you should check to make sure that you have everything you need so you can focus on music-making (instead of struggling to find a mouthpiece or…

  • How to make your own clarinet thumb cushion

    Sometimes clarinet can be a pain in the…thumb! If your right thumb is sore from playing clarinet, you can use a thumb cushion on the thumb rest to alleviate some of the pain. (Note: If the weight of the instrument is causing pain or discomfort, you should consider using a neck strap). Although clarinet thumb rests are inexpensive and can be found online and in most music stores, you probably already have the materials to make your own! Here are a few options you can use to cushion your thumb: pencil grip – choose between foam and rubber grips, select your favorite color, and cut to size rubber tubing –…

  • Let’s talk about reed rotation

    What is reed rotation and why is it important? Reed rotation is just what it sounds like – rotating the reeds you use when you practice or perform so that they all break in evenly. As a reed player, rotating your reeds is one of the simplest things you can do that will yield more consistent reeds and extend the lifespan of your reeds. Reed rotation is important because it provides you with more reed options in any given musical situation. If you rotate your reeds, you will have several good reeds in your case at a time, as opposed to one good reed which might vary from day to…

  • How to assemble a clarinet

    The clarinet certainly does have its fair share of pieces, equipment, and accessories. Here’s everything you need to know to properly assemble your clarinet: Parts of a clarinet from top to bottom Mouthpiece (with ligature and reed) Barrel Upper joint Lower joint Bell Steps to assembling a clarinet Lay the case on a stable, flat surface and ensure that the case is not upside down before opening Attach the bell to the lower joint, being careful not to press any keys (silver parts) Attach the upper joint to the lower joint, being careful to not press any keys with excess pressure Make sure the bridge key is aligned (this connects…

  • How to break in a new clarinet

    If you are the proud owner of a new clarinet, congratulations! I wish you and your new clarinet a happy future filled with many wonderful musical memories. To increase the longevity and quality of your clarinet, here are a few tips to help you properly break in your new clarinet: Is it a plastic clarinet? If so, you don’t have to follow any formal break-in process. Break in processes are only necessary for wooden instruments to help the material adjust to its new environment. Is your wooden clarinet used? Hopefully, its previous owner already broke in the clarinet, but it never hurts to break it in if you aren’t sure…

  • Should clarinetists use a neck strap?

    Chances are, if you’re a clarinetist (especially one who watches videos of other clarinetists on YouTube or social media), you’ve probably seen comments regarding someone’s decision whether or not to use a neck strap. So, should clarinetists be using neck straps? Are neck straps a sign of weakness (as I’ve seen many comments suggesting)? Spoiler alert: Each clarinetist gets to form their personal opinion about whether or not they choose to use a neck strap. Here are a few things to consider before making (or re-evaluating) your choice: Have you ever experienced upper extremity pain while practicing? Many clarinetists have chosen to use a neck strap to alleviate pain resulting…