Learn to Play the Clarinet

The clarinet is a fantastic and incredibly popular place for many people to begin their musical journey. This wonderful instrument is not only fantastic for players of all ages, but allows for both solo play and play as part of an ensemble for a whole host of musical genres. Today we’ll be writing a complete beginners guide to learning the clarinet and breaking down some of the key beginner concepts that every aspiring clarinet player can use!

How To Hold A Clarinet

Before you even begin making sound, you’ll want to make sure you are holding your instrument correctly! Make sure you are holding the instrument with your thumb under the thumb rest towards the back of the instrument. If your clarinet has an adjustable thumb rest experiment with different positions to ensure that the instrument feels comfortable.

Mouth Position or Embouchure

Embouchure is a term that you’ll learn to love inside and out! It is essentially creating the training of the muscles in your mouth to be able to create sound in your clarinet. You need to get this just right in order to play. Your top row of teeth should be sitting on top of the mouthpiece and your lower lip should be touching the reed at the bottom. Your lips should seal around the mouthpiece to create an almost fully closed ring around the reed to allow the maximum breath possible to travel through the instrument.


Unsurprisingly, woodwind instruments need breath in order to make sound (although less so than you might think!) Inhale deeply and try to blow a note. If it doesn’t sound good then experiment with the length of mouthpiece in your mouth. You should also ensure the reeds are suitable, an older reed could be chipped or cracked and you will never get a good sound out of it which can be very discouraging. Read our guide to finding the right reeds for you here!

Holding The Clarinet

Try to find a mirror or even a window when it is dark outside, check the angle at which you’re holding the clarinet. It should be around 30-60 degrees and the exact angle will depend on the player but not straight out. This will help to ensure you form the most secure embouchure.

Keeping in Time

When first getting started with any musical instrument, one thing that many people can find tricky is keeping in time with other players. It’s a good habit to get comfortable using a metronome to slowly increase the tempo until you can reach a comfortable speed. Whether it’s a physical metronome, or a click via a phone app, it will help you focus on keeping a beat, highly essential for any clarinet player!

Easy Pieces for Clarinet

It’s no good diving into some incredibly complicated piece, you’ll only become disheartened. There is a whole range of music available online, or available for downloads. Many series such as Guest Spot have a backing track which will help you keep in time.

So there you have it, an incredibly friendly introduction to just a few terms you’ll need to begin playing the clarinet! The clarinet is an incredibly fun and rewarding instrument to learn, if you’d like any further information, or would like to learn more about renting a clarinet from us, our team would be happy to help!

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