Tuesday, March 15, 2016

How Can I Be a Better Clarinet Player?

There is no secret to becoming a better clarinet player; only hard work, practice and consistent effort will improve your playing. No matter how talented you are naturally, practicing daily will improve your skill and make you a better player. There are several basic elements that all clarinet players must practice daily to improve their sound and increase their ability to play increasingly complex music.

Step 1

Increase the speed that you can single tongue. Gradually increasing your ability to tongue quickly will significantly help your clarinet playing. Start with sixteenth notes at about 60 beats per minute. Gradually increase the speed by two metronome clicks each day until you can single tongue at 144 beats per minute in sixteenth notes. This will make it possible for you to play any piece, no matter how fast.

Step 2

Play major and minor scales on a daily basis. Scales should be a part of every clarinetist’s daily warm-up routine. Learning to play scales will help increase your ability to play technical pieces. Aim for speed and accuracy. A clarinetist should be able to play all scales at a metronome marking of quarter note equals 120 with the scales played in sixteenth notes. Gradually increase your speed until you can do this.

Step 3

Practice arpeggios daily to increase agility. Start with major triads and then expand them to play major triads over the course of one to two octaves. When you have mastered major triads, move to minor triads, diminished triads, and augmented triads. Once you have mastered triads, move on to seventh chords. Memorize triads and chords to develop your theoretical knowledge.

Step 4

Play etudes daily to increase your practical playing ability. Etudes are musical exercises designed to increase the technique of a player. Get a book of etudes with pieces that progressively increase in level of difficulty. Practice each etude until you can play it flawlessly. When you come across a difficult section, play just a few notes at a time. Playing etudes helps practice going over the break in the clarinet that occurs around B in the middle of the staff.