Assembling the Clarinet
The clarinet has many different parts and is also considered quite a fragile instrument. Take extra care in assembling your clarinet the first few times you put it together. By using the following guidelines, you should be an expert in no time.
- Grease all the corks with your cork grease. Carefully twist the cork end of the mouthpiece into the smaller end of the barrel.
- Twist the end of the upper joint, which is free of keys, into the barrel. Be careful not to damage the keys.
- Hold the upper joint and carefully twist the lower joint on the tenon, making sure that the finger holes line up.
- Gently twist the bell onto the end of the lower joint.
- Place the flat side of the reed on the mouthpiece, carefully slide the ligature over the top and tighten the screws on the ligature.
For the first 6 months of playing the clarinet, you should use reeds 1.5 in size, and change them every 2 weeks. After 6 months, you should move up to size 2, and should only need to replace it every month. A neck strap or harness is recommended when playing the clarinet.
Cleaning and care
You will need to purchase cork grease and a cleaning pull-through cloth from your local music retailer or online.
To clean your clarinet, follow these simple instructions:
- Disassemble your clarinet in the reverse order to setting up.
- Drop the string of the pull-through cloth into each joint and pull the cloth through. Do this carefully otherwise the cloth will become stuck. If you have trouble, pull it back out and drop the string through the other end.
- Make sure you have taken the reed off the mouthpiece before you clean it. The reed should be stored in its plastic case to prevent bacteria from building up. The reed will need to be changed at least once a fortnight when you first start playing. By the middle of the year you should be changing your reed once a month.
- Make sure each piece of your clarinet is back in the right spot before you close your case. Don’t force your case closed – if it doesn’t close properly, check how you have packed your clarinet away. Do not put your book or anything else on top of your clarinet as this will damage the keys.
- Make sure your case is closed and locked properly before you pick it up.
- Be sure to grease all the corks with your cork grease before assembling your clarinet.
The sounds of the Clarinet
From Bernstein’s Rhapsody in blue to Mozart’s clarinet concerto, the clarinet has it all. Range, endurance and versatility. It’s a compact licorice stick that never fails to impress. It’s a great choice for young woodwind players, with the option to progress to the big bass clarinet or a double reed instrument down the track.
What type of clarinet does my child need?
When you are first starting out on an instrument, your child just needs a basic student model of their chosen instrument.
The clarinet you will start on will be a B-flat clarinet. Some brands and models that are perfect for students starting out are: Yamaha YCL255, Jupiter 631N and Buffet B12.
Helpful videos and tutorials
- Setting up your clarinet & reed tips
- Cleaning & care, embouchure & producing a sound on your clarinet
We also have our own YouTube Channel, where you can find a collection of useful videos and tutorials.