How to Articulate on the Clarinet

Articulating on the clarinet requires a special technique not used on other wind instruments. Most wind instruments require that the player hit the roof of the mouth between the gums and teeth. With a clarinet, the tip of the tongue must make contact with the reed. The amount of force applied to the reed requires careful control; if you hit the reed to forcefully, you will break the reed. Too light of a touch will prevent you from getting a solid sound. Daily practice and a consistent approach is the best way to improve your ability to articulate on the clarinet.

Step 1

Pronounce the syllable "dee" several times in a row. Pay attention to how little the tongue moves when pronouncing this syllable.

Step 2

Mouth the syllable without actually saying "dee." Just imitate the motions with your tongue.

Step 3

Insert the tip of the clarinet mouthpiece and begin by starting the tone with your breath.

Step 4

Slowly use the motions from the syllable "dee" to lightly touch the tip of the reed. Practice this several times until you get a clean clear sound.


To tongue faster, place the tip of the tongue closer to the reed. The closer your tongue is to the reed, the faster you will be able to tongue.


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