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Tue Sep 11, 2012, 05:20 PM

I've decided to learn how to play the clarinet.

As a child, I wanted to learn the clarinet but was forced to take years of piano lessons.

So, now, well into my 50's, I have found and purchased a clarinet on the internet.

There is no one around here to teach me, so I ordered a "Dummies" book to get the basics. I also ordered a fingering book and 1.5 reeds.

Any advice from others would be greatly appreciated. This could be a huge flop, but it might be the breakthrough my right brain has yearned for my entire life. I am so left brained, it's a surprise that I can even walk upright, lol.

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Reply I've decided to learn how to play the clarinet. (Original post)
cbayer Sep 2012 OP
dhill926 Sep 2012 #1
cbayer Sep 2012 #2
Scuba Sep 2012 #3
cbayer Sep 2012 #4
BerthaWarsitz Sep 2012 #5
Flashmann Mar 2013 #37
Bladian Sep 2012 #6
cbayer Sep 2012 #7
TrogL Feb 2013 #23
cbayer Feb 2013 #24
TrogL Feb 2013 #30
cbayer Feb 2013 #31
cbayer Sep 2012 #8
BudHardener Jan 2013 #17
cbayer Jan 2013 #18
cbayer Nov 2012 #9
kydo Dec 2012 #10
cbayer Dec 2012 #11
kydo Dec 2012 #12
TrogL Feb 2013 #33
TrogL Feb 2013 #22
popcorn83 Jan 2013 #13
BudHardener Jan 2013 #14
cbayer Jan 2013 #15
BudHardener Jan 2013 #16
TrogL Feb 2013 #19
cbayer Feb 2013 #20
TrogL Feb 2013 #21
cbayer Feb 2013 #25
TrogL Feb 2013 #32
TrogL Feb 2013 #34
cbayer Feb 2013 #35
klook Feb 2013 #26
cbayer Feb 2013 #28
ret5hd Feb 2013 #27
cbayer Feb 2013 #29
Bonhomme Richard Mar 2013 #36
cbayer Mar 2013 #38
Bonhomme Richard Mar 2013 #39

Response to cbayer (Original post)

Tue Sep 11, 2012, 05:59 PM

1. good for you....

is there no band director or retired band director around? If not, I would search online for some video lessons to augment what you have. See and hearing things demonstrated can be very helpful. And good luck....fairly complicated fingering system!

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Response to dhill926 (Reply #1)

Tue Sep 11, 2012, 06:10 PM

2. I live in an area without anyone around that might teach me.

I will check out on-line lessons, though. The book comes with a disc, but I think it's just audio.

Thanks so much for the support, though! I am pretty psyched about this.

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Tue Sep 11, 2012, 07:18 PM

3. Go for it! I took up guitar at 61 and love it...

If you google "clarinet lessons" you'll find a bunch. You'll need to sort through them to find the ones that are right for you, but you can get a good start that way.

You may also be able to find a Skype-based instructor.

Good luck and have fun.

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Response to Scuba (Reply #3)

Tue Sep 11, 2012, 07:27 PM

4. Thanks Scuba!

My husband and a lot of our friends play guitar and other strings and get together frequently to play. I am always left out and, even though I enjoy it, I would love to participate.

I can read music, so I am hoping once I get the fingering down, I will be able to play some classics as well.

Perhaps I am being overly optimistic, but I am motivated and have plenty of time to practice.

And I live in a place where I am unlikely to scare or annoy anyone!

Thanks so much for your support. I will post updates over time. Should get the clarinet by the end of the week.

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Response to Scuba (Reply #3)


Response to Scuba (Reply #3)

Sat Mar 16, 2013, 08:59 AM

37. I took up guitar at 61 and love it...

First of all,major kudos to Cbayer on taking up an instrument...I wish her all the best in her learning....

I took notice of your reply,being,myself,a "late bloomer",beginning to learn guitar a year ago at age 58..I'd be very interested to hear how that's going for you and perhaps comparing notes on progress from time to time......

I don't want to hijack this thread any further,and will begin a fresh one,should you care to respond...

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Thu Sep 13, 2012, 01:10 PM

6. The reeds might be too thin...

even for a beginner. It sure doesn't hurt anything to start low, but maybe buy a small set of 2's to try out. Vandoren reeds are generally regarded as the best. Don't get lazy and leave the reed on when you take the instrument apart. I've done that before, it doesn't end well.

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Response to Bladian (Reply #6)

Thu Sep 13, 2012, 01:13 PM

7. It comes with some 2's, so I will start there. I had read about starting with 1.5's,

which is why I ordered some.

I plan to take care of it once I get it. I live in an environment (marine) that is quite unkind to metals of all types, so I will be extra careful.

Thanks for the advice! Should be here by tomorrow, i hope.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #7)

Thu Feb 14, 2013, 12:42 PM

23. I had my band students start with 1 1/2

Adults might be able to handle a 2.

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Response to TrogL (Reply #23)

Thu Feb 14, 2013, 02:45 PM

24. I am doing pretty well with the lower register, but lots of squawking going on as I attempt

to move up, lol.

I'm working with 2's right now and I can get the notes, now I just have to make them cleaner and get that fingering worked out.

Overall, It's great to be learning something brand new at this age.

Lol, I just remembered a dream I had last night. I opened the book of music I recently bought and the pages were all smudged or empty. Now, that should be a clue, wouldn't you say?

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Response to cbayer (Reply #24)

Thu Feb 14, 2013, 03:36 PM

30. Squawking is caused by the instrument trying to jump registers

Generally it's caused by having the bell too high and/or overblowing.

Also, check your fingers. After a few minutes of playing, you should see nice clean round marks on all of them that cover holes. If you get an oval or a broken circle, you're leaking air, another reason for squawks.

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Response to TrogL (Reply #30)

Thu Feb 14, 2013, 03:39 PM

31. Great advice. Can't thank you enough TrogL.

Will pay more attention to the fingers during tomorrows practice session (and point that bell down!).

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Fri Sep 14, 2012, 08:26 PM

8. So, it is here.

I found directions on how to assemble it on the internet. The very end piece seems very tight, but I did manage to get it on and off.

It only came with one reed, which seems a little split or something.

I found instructions on how to place your mouth on the reed and....

I managed to make sound with it, found out where you keep your fingers and played my first scale!

I have an instruction book on the way and I am going to try and wait for that, because I don't want to learn the wrong way, then have to break a habit.

The sound wasn't so bad that the birds flew away, so I guess that's a start!

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Response to cbayer (Reply #8)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 09:08 PM

17. All kidding aside

We would prepare our reeds by soaking them overnight in a water glass and then, before playing, while assembling the instrument, was to put the reed in your mouth to moisten. If the reed is split it's toast.

You will see marks on the mouthpiece that should indicate where the reed holder goes but you may want to experiment with actual placement.

Pressure for playing is directed from chest diaphram (like you're showing off your abs, hehe).

Hmm, what else.

Nope, that's it, will have to surgically extract any further knowledge. Hope this helps.

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Response to BudHardener (Reply #17)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 09:49 PM

18. Thanks!

I am leaning rather quickly about reed placement and adjustment. I haven't tried actually soaking a reed, but will check it out.

The breathing is a lot more critical than I had thought. In particular, the seal is the most challenging for me, but once I get it I am pretty happy with the tone.

I am struggling with getting into higher registers but have become very comfortable with the lowest. Just got a book of solos which start with some pieces that use notes I am comfortable with.

As I was raised on piano, the lack of logic in fingering has been a challenge, but a challenge is what I wanted.

I have no high aspirations here. It's just something I have always wanted to do. I would greatly benefit from a teacher I could check in with every few weeks, but don't have access to one.

Thanks for your input. I often find myself with groups of musicians and it's nice to be able to play, even if just a little, along with them.

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Thu Nov 8, 2012, 05:33 PM

9. Update - I am loving it.

The instrument itself is not very elegant, but I can make a decent sound and am learning to sight read with it.

I got the Rubank elementary book, which is very good and upgraded my reeds.

I was very interested to learn that a Bflat clarinet plays a full note up from other instruments. I was trying to hit my notes right using a downloaded tuning app and got very frustrated, so was really glad when I figure this out.

All in all, great experience so far. Practicing every day and working out a few simple melody lines. Husband and I working on a House of the Rising Sun duet, but transposition is tricky.

Anyway, thanks to all for your support.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #9)

Sun Dec 30, 2012, 08:21 AM

10. cool, now you will basically

know how to play most woodwind. Flute, pic, all clarinets, oboe, all saxophones have basically the same fingering.

I played sax and oboe in hs and college. I play guitar and bass now. My daughter plays clarinet and my son's primary instrument is trumpet. He is a music ed major at ucf and marches with the boston crusaders (he gets to go to the inauguration).

his your clarinet wooden or plastic? Wooden gets a much better sound but costs more.

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Response to kydo (Reply #10)

Sun Dec 30, 2012, 03:34 PM

11. I didn't know that the fingering was the same, but that is great news~

My clarinet is some kind of plastic resin. I did not invest a lot in it because I was unsure whether I would like it. But I am hooked and will probably look for something better in the next year.

You know what is cool? I can now much more clearly here the clarinet when I listen to music. It gives me great inspiration.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #11)

Sun Dec 30, 2012, 04:43 PM

12. the wooden ones sound so nice

they are pricey but used ones work great. I payed 400$ for a used wooden one.

And on fingering, there are some extra keys here and there but that doesn't long to learn. My daughter used to get mad at me cause I'd play here clarinet. She said I thought you played sax. I said yup but same fingering. What really pissed her off is when I would whip out the 12 major scales. You just never forget those things.

The hardest thing will be the ambrishores (sp?). I suck at flute. Oboe I can do. Sax and clarinet are very similar.

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Response to kydo (Reply #12)

Thu Feb 14, 2013, 03:47 PM

33. embouchure

I can't play flute. I've got a tear-drop lip.

Actually I can't play much of anything anymore with no front upper teeth. I could probably still handle trombone or tuba.

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Response to kydo (Reply #10)

Thu Feb 14, 2013, 12:40 PM

22. Oboe is not the same fingering

Boehm never not around to fixing it.

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Sat Jan 5, 2013, 12:23 PM

13. cool

great instrument

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 07:19 PM

14. Trade it for a flute

I played clarinet and switched to piano, lol (well, and guitar), but decided to get back into winds (sax) and flute. The sax is a bugger and I'll tell ya, your chops are gonna hate you forever, squeezing that silly reed. Try flute, the fingering is similar and amateur is totally more fluid instead of scawqing away the rest of your days wanting to sound like Benny Goodman but only achieving Patti Smith. Just sayin".

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Response to BudHardener (Reply #14)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 07:29 PM

15. No, thanks. I am loving the clarinet.

I have tried flute and didn't like it at all.

Welcome to DU.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #15)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 08:57 PM

16. Oboe??Bassoon??

I'm just bitter cuz I originally wanted to play sax like Boots Randolph and all I got was a darn licorice stick and stuck in third section orchestra.

The overall education was priceless but I never bonded with with my Le Blanc and traded for a Hammond and Strat.

Had a buddy who played Bassoon and taught me double reed so I picked up oboe for awhile. I like flute cuz I can cheat on it, lol.

But all the best and thanks for the welcome, wish I could direct you to some cool clarinet site but I'm still bitter, hehe.

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 06:28 PM

19. An ill wind that nobody blows good

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Response to TrogL (Reply #19)

Thu Feb 14, 2013, 10:01 AM

20. It's a lot harder than I thought, but I'm getting there.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #20)

Thu Feb 14, 2013, 12:37 PM

21. I used to teach band.

Keep the bell as low as possible. Benny Goodman holds it wrong.

Start with a 1 1/2 reed and work your way up slowly.

I'm not liking these new ligatures that just use a strip of velcro. Get a proper two-screws ligature.

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Response to TrogL (Reply #21)

Thu Feb 14, 2013, 02:47 PM

25. Even though my instrument is basically a "toy" (student grade), it came with the two screw ligature.

Someone told me to insert the reed with just the smallest sliver of black showing over the top. Is that correct?

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Response to cbayer (Reply #25)

Thu Feb 14, 2013, 03:44 PM

32. I actually like it to be even with the top

That may cause some of the squawking you're experiencing.

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Response to TrogL (Reply #32)

Thu Feb 14, 2013, 04:11 PM

34. Here's an excellent picture of what everything's supposed to look like

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Response to TrogL (Reply #34)

Fri Feb 15, 2013, 04:00 PM

35. This is great and holding the instrument lower made a HUGE difference during

my practice today!

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Thu Feb 14, 2013, 02:56 PM

26. Suggestion for inspiration

Listen to Anat Cohen -- incredible female jazz clarinetist. Teri Gross interviewed her recently for Fresh Air (Wed. 2/6/2013 show).

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Response to klook (Reply #26)

Thu Feb 14, 2013, 03:29 PM

28. I heard the interview and was indeed inspired.

I need to download some of her music.

Recently, when I hear something I like, I improvise a little and that is really fun!

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Thu Feb 14, 2013, 03:06 PM

27. Shouldn't take more than 10 minutes of your time.

A bit longer if you want to play well.

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Response to ret5hd (Reply #27)

Thu Feb 14, 2013, 03:30 PM

29. Lol. I think it took me about an hour to put the darn thing together the first time.

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Fri Mar 15, 2013, 02:29 PM

36. Congrats. It certainly shouldn't bother any of your...

neighbors. LOL...they could move.

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Response to Bonhomme Richard (Reply #36)

Sat Mar 16, 2013, 11:27 AM

38. Fortunately, I live in relative isolation most of the time and no one can here me.

Have you done any sailing lately?

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Response to cbayer (Reply #38)

Mon Mar 18, 2013, 07:12 AM

39. Not yet this season. It's going to be tough....

scheduling during the spring with the band and all the other stuff going on.

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