Clarinet Basics – Breathing, Holding and Playing

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 101,006
    Professional wood-wind performer and instructor Ariana Lamon-Anderson demonstrates breathing, holding and playing on the clarinet.

    Ariana Lamen-Anderson

    Ariana Lamon-Anderson is a professional clarinetist and pedagogue. Her performances include solo, band and orchestral throughout the US. Ms. Anderson’s teaching experience include classical, jazz, and popular with children and adults of all ages, including children with special needs. She is on the faculty at the International School of Music (ISM)in Bethesda, where she teaches clarinet to all ages, levels, and styles. With a distinguished faculty of 55 teachers, ISM provides students with a rich music education experience. The ISM faculty’s friendly personalities, insightful approaches, and individually tailored teaching methods have helped students become complete and versatile musicians. ISM provides an atmosphere that is warm and supportive so every student can achieve his/her best.

    Hi, I am Ariana, wood-wind performer and instructor. Today we are talking about clarinet basics and now I would like to talk about breathing. Breathing is an essential part to the clarinet, being a wind instrument.

    You want to be filling your lungs all the way to the bottom. Most people on the regular basis breathe very shallowly. You want to breathe most people breathe only up to here.

    We want to breathe all the way down so that we have enough air to support the sound and to play long phrases. So, first of, you want to be sure that your shoulders are not moving. If you are breathing in and your shoulders are moving up, you are pinching up your lungs and not allowing enough air in, so relax the shoulders. You want to breathe all the way in, your diaphragm will expand.

    A good way to know if you are breathing properly is to lie on the ground and place a few books on top of your stomach. As you breathe in, the books will rise and as you breathe out, the books will fall.

    And now I would like to show you how to hold the instrument and get ready to play. So, first of, it doesnt quite hold it, what you need to do with this reed is you need to wet it, in order for it to vibrate correctly against the mouth piece, the cane needs to be wet.

    So, wet as shown, put on the mouth piece and you want it to line up, so its flush with the top of the mouth piece and square with the sides, then you bring the ligature down just under the cut of the bark and tighten it on. So, you are ready to go. Next you are going to sit up straight, nice arch back and chin almost parallel to the floor, to allow the airways to be open. Next, you bring the clarinet to you at a slight angle, not out like this, not too far in like that. So, wherever its comfortable for your teeth and just get your teeth, kind of quarter of an inch on, get your lower lips curled over your bottom teeth and you are ready to go. Next I would like to talk about how to blow through the instrument.