Friday, November 4, 2016

Clarinet Games to Improve Technique

The clarinet is a great instrument with many possibilities for games. Playing games on the clarinet in groups or as an individual is a great way to make practice enjoyable and conducive to advanced learning. Whether you are playing the clarinet in high school, college or professionally, these games will help to improve your skill on the clarinet.

Break Game

The clarinet break game helps a clarinetist learn to go over the break. With this game, a player has to compete with another player to see how many times she can go smoothly over the break. The first person to make a mistake loses the game. Practice this game by selecting one player to go first. Have her start on an A in the middle of the staff and play quarter note slurs up to C. If she is successful, she has to do it again until she makes a mistake. Adjust the tempo depending on the ability of the players.

Scale Competition

There are 12 major scales and 12 minor scales, not including their enharmonic equivalents. (Enharmonic scales are scales that sound the same but are written differently, such as C-sharp and D-flat.) Players should attempt to play all of their scales from memory as quickly as possible. One person should be responsible for timing the players and keeping track of the times. Keeping a record of the best overall time is a great way to motivate players to improve. Individuals may play this game to attempt to beat their own records.


Improvisation requires a pianist to play chords. Alternatively, you can purchase a CD of chord progressions or have members in your section play a series of chords for the soloist to improvise on. This will require you to write out the chord progressions and print parts ahead of time. The soloist should have the score that shows the chord progressions and should be asked to improvise on top of the chords. One student should judge the competition and reward the winner.


Pass-out is a quick game that may be played individually or as a group. Individuals will simply record their best times and keep track. In a group setting, all of the players should start standing up. Each player should play a single note on the clarinet and hold the note as long as possible before running out of air. When a player runs out of air, he must sit down and wait for the others. The last person standing wins the competition. To make it more interesting, one person can set a timer, and you can keep track of the best time.