• 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…

  • Clarinet Articulation Troubleshooting Guide

    Let’s talk about tonguing, shall we? For something so simple in theory, there are certainly quite a few variables which might impede your progress. Articulation on string instruments or the piano can clearly be seen, but it is much more difficult to identify potential articulation issues on wind instrument since we must rely only on what we hear. (Unless you go high-tech and film the inside of your mouth while playing.) If you aren’t satisfied with the quality of your articulation, ask yourself these questions below to see if you can identify possible problems. Most importantly, never neglect the quality of your articulation in pursuit of articulation speed. (You might…

  • 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…