How to Set Up Your Hands on a Clarinet

Clarinet hand position is straightforward. The clarinet consists of six main keys with two sets of extension keys. The basic hand position requires the clarinetist to learn the position for each of these main keys. From this initial hand position, you can learn all of the fingerings on the clarinet. Learning correct hand position will make it possible to play fluidly and without cramping your hands.

Step 1 Hold the clarinet with a relaxed and curved left hand. The thumb should rest underneath the clarinet on the tone hole. Most notes will require covering the tone hole.

Step 2 Place the left index, middle and ring finger on the first three keys on top of the clarinet.

Step 3 Position the pinky so it can play the two extension keys towards the middle of the clarinet when necessary.

Step 4 Hold the second half of the clarinet with your right hand. The right thumb should be placed underneath the clarinet at the position where the front and back of the clarinet connect.

Step 5 Cover the first three holes on the end section of the clarinet with your right index, middle and ring finger. Step 6 Position your right pinky on the extension keys at the end of the clarinet.


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