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A clarinet is a musical instrument, approximately cylindrically shaped, which is part of the “woodwind” family. It is played by vibrating a piece of reed placed upon the mouthpiece. It was invented in circa 1680 - 1720 by a German named Johann Christoph Denner. The clarinet is used today in jazz and classical music.



A clarinet closely resembles a saxophone in terms of playing it. In fact, some of the “fingerings” are the same! To play the clarinet, you must first find a chair in which you can sit up straight and tall. Sit up, and make sure your lungs can expand to the fullest. Good posture is key to good playing on the clarinet, and in fact, on any woodwind instrument. To correctly position your mouth and hands on the clarinet, continue reading. You first put your mouth on the mouthpiece, which is the part below:


Make sure your mouth does not go past the end of the beak, or else your sound will not come out as easily. Once you place your mouth upon the mouthpiece, place your hands on the instrument, your right hand covering the three holes on the upper part of the instrument, appropriately called the “Upper Section,” and place your left hand on the bottom part of the instrument, the similarly named “Lower Section.” Make sure your fingertips cover all of the holes, or else when you first blow you may produce a shrill, “squeaky” sound.


Once you are sitting straight and tall and have your hands correctly positioned, cover the first three holes, leaving the last three holes, the ones which are on the lower section, open. If you correctly blow, you should have played a mellow, low note, which you can replicate by playing a B flat on the piano. On the clarinet, the note is known as a “C”. If you produced a squeaking sound, then your mouth may not have been positioned correctly. Position your lips as if you were saying the letter “M” and then bring your lower lip into your mouth, almost as if you were biting your lip, except you are not. Then, try to blow again, covering the three holes on the upper section but leaving the three holes on the lower section uncovered. If you made a soft, mellow sound, congratulations! You've played the clarinet. If not, look below at the pictures for guidance. Do you see how, on the left, the man's mouth is bunched up? When playing the clarinet, you want to relax yourself, as is shown on the right.



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