How to Read Clarinet Sheet Music

Learning to play clarinet sheet music makes it possible to read any music that is written in the treble clef. Clarinet sheets, also known as sheet music, use the same standard notation as most other instruments. There are specific qualities of clarinet music that require knowledge of special techniques. Learning about these techniques and memorizing the fingerings for each note will make it possible to play any clarinet sheet music.

Step 1

Begin each clarinet practice session by starting with a warm-up on long tones. Long tones are tones that are held for at least four beats. This will help you develop a consistent sound and help you memorize and concentrate on your fingerings.

Step 2

Start by learning to associate notated pitches with the fingerings that will create the desired note on the clarinet. If you need to write down the fingerings, that is OK. Use T for thumb, R for the register key, the numbers 1 to 6 for the top keys, and LE and RE for the left extension and right extension key.

Step 3

Learn how to count the basic note values used in clarinet music: whole, half, quarter, eighth and sixteenth notes. The whole note is worth four clicks on a metronome; each value after that doubles in speed. The half note is worth two beats, the quarter note one beat, the eighth note one-half of a beat and the sixteenth note one-quarter of a beat.

Step 4

Practice clarinet each day by reading major and minor scales until you can play the scales without looking at the fingerings. If you need to write down the fingerings, that is OK. Write them with a pencil so that you can easily erase them later.

Step 5

Study the different types of articulations that the clarinet plays. The clarinet can slur notes together when the player relaxes the tongue and can make hard accents when the player hits the tip of the tongue to create the articulation.

Step 6

Continue developing your ability to read sheet music by practicing short etudes that use only basic note values. It is best to stick with whole notes, half notes and quarter notes at first. These slower note values will help you to develop your tone and teach you the fingerings.


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