- Who can play the clarinet? Is there a recommended age, or can size or teeth be an issue?
- If it is not suitable for everyone, what alternative instrument would you recommend and why?
- What qualities of the clarinet are special?
- Learning to play any instrument develops lots of new skills. What are the particular benefits of playing the clarinet?
- How are clarinets similar/different to other woodwind instruments?
- Are there any famous musicians or pieces associated with the clarinet?
Adult front teeth are needed to play the clarinet. Most children start learning from age 7 onwards.
Younger/smaller children may find the recorder more suitable to begin with and transfer to the clarinet once their technique has developed.
The clarinet has a warm, mellow tone. It can blend with as well as lead an orchestra or any ensemble. Clarinets are found in orchestras, wind bands and jazz bands – it is a very versatile instrument.
Clarinettists are needed to play in all sorts of ensembles and groups. They also develop good breath control and players can develop their own tone.
The clarinet looks a bit like an oboe but can easily be distinguished by its single reed mouthpiece and the flared bell at the base of the instrument. It has a more mellow tone than the oboe.
‘Rhapsody in Blue’ by Gershwin, ‘Five Bagatelles’ by Finzi and ‘The Cat’ in Peter and the Wolf by Prokofiev are all famous pieces featuring the clarinet. Benny Goodman and Emma Johnson are famous clarinettists.