Clarinet Now

Learn, Practice, Perform Clarinet Now

Culminating from years of schooling, performance, teaching, and reminiscences of amazing lessons from the master teacher, Kalmen Opperman.   Clarinet Now is your go-to for learning clarinet.

Clarinet Now is number 1 on Google, Yahoo!, and Bing on these keywords: 10 clarinet goalsbest clarinet scale booksclarinet air leakclarinet air supportclarinet parents guideclarinet tuning chartpoor clarinet embouchureprofessional clarinet articulation, and clarinet leadership.

On the same search engines, it is in the top five for these key fundamental clarinet pages: Clarinet embouchureclarinet left hand positionclarinet right hand positionclarinet articulationclarinet goals, and clarinet scales.  You can explore the numerous topics on clarinet via the menu.


Get your copy of Bumblebee Loops here (on Kindle it is next to nothing).  Ratings change hourly, but this week it hit No. 1 Brass Instrument Music, No. 1 Woodwind Instrument Music, and No. 4 on String Instrument Music. See exercise videos in right column.

I Did it Wrong and Learned

During my clarinet experience, I pretty much learned how to do things wrong.  I had great teachers along the way to help guide me, pull me up, and proceed to the next step. I’ll give a few examples (can’t list them all and probably forgot most of them):

1.     Public Middle school – moldy reeds (wrong); rotate my reeds (right)

2.     Public High school freshman – didn’t know all scales (wrong); major scale plan (right)

3.     Public High school sophomore (first private clarinet teacher) – articulated from the back of my throat with a cuc cuc cuc sound (wrong); learned to articulate using tip of tongue to below tip of reed (right - refined much more at the professional level)

4.     Undergrad – learned a new world including best clarinet booksbest literature, refined all the basics.

5.     Undergrad – attended my first clarinet symposium and picked up a true “sound concept” of the clarinet.  You can do that here starting with Famous Clarinet Players.

6.     Grad school – really learned how to work and describe flattening out the chin on the Clarinet Embouchure.  Performed in every possible ensemble widening my musical range and took sight-reading to new levels.  Entered the world of auditioning for jobs and to my surprise, won one!

7.     Professional – you would think the learning stopped here, but it just started.

a.     Quicker turn-over music literature

b.     Playing in a section of masters and working intonation and uniformity

8.     Kalmen Opperman – a true guru moment - think of “wax on, wax off.”   Mr. Opperman broke me down and built me back up again all while I was a performing professional.  I switched to double-lip clarinet embouchure which did not happen over-night and this switch and gave me more knowledge on embouchure descriptions than I ever imagined I could learn. True professional articulation.  True clarinet hand positions (left and right).  Sound concept.  It is beyond words what I learned from Mr. Opperman.

9.     Retirement from the West Point Band and moving to the edge of the world where professional musicians do not exist - #100daysofpractice.  The power of regular practice.  Do you ever retire from music?  Nope!


So, if you relate to any of the above performance issues, please look around and ask questions.  You can contact me or reach from various sources: ClarinetNow ContactFacebook @clarinetnowTwitter or X @clarinetnow, or YouTube @clarinetnow.

Subscribe to the Clarinet Notes Newsletter here and follow the Clarinet Now Blog.

Also, find Clarinet Now on Amazon and Zazzle

Bumblebee Loops

I am also the author of Bumblebee Loops: A Practice Guide to Performing a Lightning Fast Flight of the Bumblebee.   So you might think, I don’t want to learn bumblebee, that is WAY too hard for me. 

Well, do you want to learn and perform any musical passage without error and have the confidence to play it beautifully and musical? If so, this is the book for you.

You can learn more about the book here and a wacky performance of the Flight of the Bumblebee here with a toy giraffe.

With Bumblebee, I could also say this, “You need to practice your Chromatic Scale!”   Or, I could say, “let’s have fun practicing all of these Bumblebee loops licks (which will help you slay the Chromatic Scale).

Clarinet Now Embouchure Example

Okay, you want one example about the clarinet embouchure, here it is. How about the bad habit of ducking your head while playing the clarinet?  Learn more about proper Clarinet Embouchure here and how to correct Poor Clarinet Embouchure here. Ducking Clarinet Embouchure photo

Videos by Clarinetist Chris Jones
Clarinet Now Author

Here is a live performance of The Flight of the Bumblebee with my alma mater at the University of North Alabama.

Here are some Hand Position Videos based off a few Bumblebee Loops excerpts:

Clarinet Exercises 1 - E LOOP Left Hand Position

Clarinet Exercises 2 - E LOOP Practice Eighths 100-200

Clarinet Exercises 3 - E LOOP Practice Sixteenths 100-200

Crossing The Break on Clarinet G to D


Chris Jones as Clarinetist and Drum Major with the West Point Band from 1992-2018 highlight video – with awesome ‘clarinety’ Old Glory Triumphant March


What’s the big deal with Brahms and Mühlfeld and Mozart and Stadler?   Well, clarinetists Mühlfeld and Stadler were each responsible for inspiring major composers Brahms and Mozart into composing the most beautiful clarinet music ever.  You might not get it, but your clarinet teacher will.  Need a gift for a clarinet teacher???   See below…

Brahms and Mühlfeld T-shirt

(Brahms is on the back of the T-shirt)

Brahms and Mühlfeld Poster

Mozart and Stadler T-shirt

(Mozart is on the back of the T-shirt)

Mozart and Stadler Poster

Thank you!

Sometimes, students just need validation. They do not believe their teacher, so they search for supportive information on the internet. However, bad habits are bad habits, right? Whatever it takes to get the good habits across, hopefully we are is here to help.

As a teacher, it is hard to catch it all in the space of an hour, but it is my experience that consistent lessons and consistent practice over weeks, months and years create the best players.

Remember this - we are all in this together. We are all trying to conquer the fundamental tendencies of making a clarinet sound natural, beautiful and easy. That is perhaps the biggest challenge, making the clarinet sound easy.  One other tip - HAVE FUN MAKING MUSIC!


Chris Jones