Clarinet Now Blog

The Clarinet Now Blog keeps you up-to-date with postings and news. Practicing, clarinet fundamentals, famous clarinet players and other odds and ends fuel Clarinet-Now's energy...


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.

clarinet gifts


Best clarinet gifts for your clarinetist. Mouthpieces, ligatures, reeds, thumb cushions, mouthpiece caps, best scale books, cool t-shirts, etc...

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Improve your clarinet air support


Details about proper clarinet air support. Breathing exercises...

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Exciting News!!!

Bumblebee Loops, my book on improving your technique and musicality hit No. 1 in Woodwind Instrument Music, No. 1 in Brass Instrument Music, and No. 4 in Strings Instrument Music on Amazon Kindle. So, this rating varies 'by-the-hour', but I was able to get a screenshot of it which you will see sitewide, here, on

The book is about Focus and is not for only virtuosic musicians, but anyone who wishs to improve their technique and musicality. Enjoy!

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Flight of the Bumblebee Performance

Below is the Flight of the Bumblebee performance with the UNA Band under the direction of my clarinet teacher at UNA, Dr. Jimmy Simpson. It was an honor to return to my Alma Mater for this guest performance.

A few years later I wrote the book, Bumblebee Loops: A Practice Guide to Performing a Lightning Fast 'Flight of the Bumblebee'. On the following link find out how you as a Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced or Returning Adult clarinet player can use the book.

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Weber Second Concerto - Polacca

A blast from the past - Recently went up a memory from 2006 of my performance of the Weber Second Concerto - Polacca with the University of North Alabama Wind Ensemble under the direction of my UNA clarinet professor Dr. Jimmy Simpson. It was a great honor to return in 2006 and an honor for it to be posted. Fun is the way to be while performing. Enjoy!

Clarinet Notes Newsletter

Come read the latest, Clarinet Notes newsletter from Clarinet Now. Topic this week:


Sign-up for Clarinet Notes: This is a double-opt-in mailing list. If you sign up now, you’ll get a confirmation email. You will then have to confirm that you signed up. This keeps people from signing you up without your permission.

So, sign-up for the Newsletter now and then go practice your clarinet.

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#100DaysOfPractice - Challenge

Last year just before the New Year, I saw that Hilary Hahn was starting her sixth season of #100DaysOfPractice. I decided to try this for at least 15-minutes per day and have currently played every day of the year.

See if you can challenge yourself to do this. The consistency of practice really pays off.

You can learn more about how I approached this just below...

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I had to play it - Eleanor Rigby (aka Clarinet Rigby)

Every time I hear music, I think, how would that work on clarinet? In this particular case, Cody Fry's version of Eleanor Rigby hit me like a ton of bricks. I listened to it over and over. Then, I bought the score on his website and wrote out the clarinet parts and other interesting parts to play.

Forgive the video, I was hoping to get a video of the video, but the TV screen is over-exposed. If nothing else, give this a listen and then go visit Mr. Fry's works.

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A Christmas Card for you

I fell in love with this version of "What Child is This?" a few years ago even though I had heard it all my life. While the tech end of recording this is super frustrating, playing the tune was really fun. I hope you have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! This video was recorded on Day 351 of #100DaysOfPractice.

Day 312 of #100 Days of Practice

Yesterday was day 312 of my #100DaysOfPractice commitment. I guess you could say it is a habit by now. While being busy doing almost everything imaginable (to include designing and building a chicken coop), I am getting my practice in everyday. Last night at 11PM, I had to warm up the van while it was sleeting so I wouldn't wake up the family practicing my scales and articulation. Got to do what it takes!

How Left Hand Position effects the Left Pinky

Here is a short video tutorial about correct Left Hand Position and use of the lowest chromatic notes E, F, F#, G, G# and returning down. This video is meant to be played with so you can match the sound and check your hand position. Send any feedback via this website or Facebook @clarinetnow or Twitter @clarinetnow.

Clarinet Scales

Clarinet Major Scales Pg 1

Free Printable Clarinet Scales PDF. Getting FREE POINTS on your All-State Audition with scales. Scale links and the Major Scale Plan.

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Day 194 of #100DaysOfPractice

One of the general rules of blogs is to publish your progress. As you can tell here, my last bloglet was Day #114. So, I have added 80 days to my collection. Being regular on the clarinet has been a joy and the results are true in the strength of my embouchure and the dexterity of the fingers. Regular practice, regular practice, regular practice is the key to improvement!

Bumblebee Loops

Bumblebee Loops A Practice Guide to Performing a Lightning Fast "Flight of the Bumblebee" on Clarinet, Flute, and Violin.

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Day 114 of #100DaysOfPractice

If you were wondering if I made it, Yes, I made it to 100 and beyond for consecutive days of practice (as of this note it is day 114). It is great to feel in better shape. Follow more on @twitter under @ClarinetNow and see to the right of this webpage.

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Clarinet Case Tag

Customize your very own Clarinet Case Tag just in case it gets lost.


Just before the New Year I saw a tweet by Hilary Hahn, world-renowned violinist, announcing season 6 of #100DaysOfPractice. I thought, I must try this. I am a retired military clarinetist and while now clarinet is not my full-time job, it is still my passion. The challenge of getting that clarinet together is a big considering my family, dogs, chickens, a full-time job, and all sorts of other things to do.

So, this is what I’m doing. 15-minutes minimum of practice per day for 100 days.

What am I practicing? Four articulations on sixteenths from #BumblebeeLoops (see book on this website) from Quarter note equals 76 up to 144. The articulations are: 1). Slur two, tongue two. 2). Tongue one, slur two, tongue one. 3). Articulate all. 4). Slur all. I’m already 23-days into this challenge, so this is not a New Year’s Eve wish, and the results are already proving success. My sound is more focused. My endurance is better. My tongue is lighter and cleaner and moving with my fingers. And, my fingers are cleaning up again.

Even 15-minutes of practice is not easy. On a long travel day to and from work training, I took my mouthpiece, barrel, reed and ligature and a metronome and did 40-minutes of articulation exercises (needless to say I was traveling alone). At 11:45pm another night I drove down the road and practiced in my car because I couldn’t get it done during the day (and didn’t want to disturb my family). If you are interested, follow my #100DaysOfPractice on @ClarinetNow on Twitter. See link below or the sidebar to the right here on I also retweet the magnificent Hilary Hahn offering her tidbits of practice. Now, go home and practice!

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Clarinet Reed Adjustment


Clarinet reed adjustment can happen without a reed knife. Learn how to maximize the placement of the reed on your clarinet mouthpiece.

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Happy Thanksgiving! What does a Master Clarinet Teacher Cook?

I had the luxury of studying with Mr. Kalmen Opperman for 10-years. Much of is the teaching of Mr. Opperman and how I’ve practiced using his methods. I’m not even close to his expectations on clarinet. Not even scratched the surface.

However, I’d like to share one funny story of how much of a Clarinet Guru he was and how much he was dedicated to the clarinet. Probably Thanksgiving of 1995, I was single and had no family visiting me in New York and I scheduled a clarinet lesson with Mr. Opperman on the Wednesday prior to Thanksgiving Day.

That afternoon, I’m sure my lesson was at 3 p.m. as I usually had with him. I rang the bell, Louis, his wife, buzzed me in, and they let me in the door of his apartment/clarinet studio/clarinet workshop. I went straight to the lesson room to get my clarinet together.

Oddly enough, Kal was not in there. He and Louis were back in the kitchen and I could smell the aroma of something cooking. Now, being a true Southern boy, the Thanksgiving heritage of my Mom is to start cooking the night before Thanksgiving. I figured this is what is going on back there.

I put my clarinet together and blew a few notes and sat there. Kal never even really liked anyone blowing a few notes, much less warming up or trying reeds. So, I waited.

Eventually, Kal and Louis called for me. “Hey Chris, can you come in here?” So, I did. I walked into the kitchen to find a big pot of something boiling. Kal and Louis had a ladle and were pouring the “soup” into something very small and intricate.

Matter of fact, they were little plastic boxes. I went, “What are you making?” “Cork grease,” said Kal. “What, you are making cork grease on the eve of Thanksgiving?” I looked at the kitchen table to find a bucket of all sorts of jars of creams and oils, Oil of Olay, Vasoline Petroleum Jelly, etc…

I had to ask, “What are you making it with? Typical Kalmen Opperman answer, “It’s a secret formula, can’t tell you. It’ll help preserve your corks.” Once the little cork grease plastic boxes cooled off, he and Louis put the little plastic lids on top, scratched in a K.O. on the box, and gave one to me.

I believe I still have my little box of Kal’s cork grease somewhere. I’d have to do some digging to find it though.

I know the lesson that followed was probably very monumental as all of Kal’s lessons were. But, this Southern boy will never forget visiting a clarinet guru on the eve of Thanksgiving cooking Cork Grease.

beginner clarinet

10 Beginner Clarinet (Through High School) Goals for Young Students – Also High School Band.

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Baermann clarinet scales

Baermann clarinet scales - Langenus, Snavely and Dowani versions

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Albert clarinet scales

Learn how to best use the J.B. Albert clarinet scales method book.

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Back to School Custom 3-Ring Clarinet Binder

15% off now with code FIFTEENYEARS Add your custom initial monogram to the front and back of this 3-ring binder and additionally add your name to the spine.

Customizable Monogram Clarinet Products

Customize any of the following products to your Monogram initial. Find Music bags, iphone cases, water bottles, pillows, backpacks for your music and clarinet case, laptop case, wristlet, clock, or 3-ring binder. Email me via the contact page on Clarinet-Now if you want something customized for you.

Poor Clarinet Embouchure


Descriptions of the poor clarinet embouchure and a troubleshooting guide to fixing them.

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Live Clarinet Lessons


Live Clarinet Lessons offered by author Christopher Jones.

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Clarinet Exercises

With these Clarinet Exercises improve your hand position and speed

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Clarinet Leadership


See the Clarinet Leadership Scale to figure out where you are in the world of clarinet, where you are going and how to get there.

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Van Cott Music carries "Bumblebee Loops"

Happy to see my book "Bumblebee Loops" listed in the Van Cott Clarinet Music Studies and Exercises. There are a bunch of books here so you have to scroll down pretty far to see it. However, this is the write-up on the page...

C2604: Bumblebee Loops for Violin, Flute or Clarinet by Christopher D. Jones. 2017, PB, 74 pages. The purpose of this book is to provide guidance and exercises to assist in the performance of Flight of the Bumblebee by Rimsky-Korsakov. It can also help with playing in general of course. The subtitle of the book is "A Practice Guide to Performing a Lightning Fast Flight of the Bumble Bee." It includes suggestions on what edition to perform and an outline of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's life.

Alright, so while you are ordering your Baermann scales book or your Opperman "Velocity Studies," make sure you add "Bumblebee Loops" to the cart. Best. CJ

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West Point Band performs Macy's Fireworks soundtrack with Kelly Clarkson

Kelly Clarkson will sing "God Bless America" with the West Point Band and Glee Club this 4th of July 2018 on the Macy's Fireworks show at 8PM EST on NBC. The show starts with a bunch of popular talent, but at the end from 935pm to 10pm the fireworks will explode to the soundtrack of the Band, Glee Club, and Clarkson. Tune in, set DVRs, and enjoy this patriotic spectacular. As a West Point Band Clarinetist, this will be my last big, giant event. I play with the band through September 2018 and then retire. #MACYSFIREWORKS #WESTPOINTBAND #KELLYCLARKSON

Happy Fathers Day!!!

I wouldn't be where I am if it was not for the support of my Dad! Thanks Dad!

See this video produced at West Point entitled "My Old Man."

Biting the mouthpiece?

hi, my name is caitlin and ive been playing the clarinet for quite some time. i recently got a new clarinet mouthpiece because i realized that my old one

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Clarinet Job Apply Now!!!

I've had a great career totaling 26-years with the @WestPointBand. Make sure you apply for this once in a lifetime opportunity!!!

Bumblebee Loops Book is now available on Amazon Kindle!

Bumblebee Loops is now available on Amazon Kindle for a reduced price of $2.99. If you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited, you can get it free. Watch out though, getting it free still means you have to execute hours of practice to improve. Enjoy!

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Bumblebee Loops Book is now available on Amazon Kindle!

Bumblebee Loops is now available on Amazon Kindle for a reduced price of $2.99. If you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited, you can get it free. Watch out though, getting it free still means you have to execute hours of practice to improve. Enjoy!

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Kalmen Opperman - A Legacy of Excellence Book

A must read for any clarinetist, this newly published book on my teacher, Kalmen Opperman, was wonderfully done by Denise Gainey.

Opperman was a master teacher. A teacher whom you never graduated. Again, if I learned 1% of his knowledge, I feel fortunate. This book compiles his teaching philosophies from many of his prominent students.

He was a clarinetist in the West Point Band 54 years before I joined. He and I had a special bond because of that connection. This book includes a number of photos of him from that time in the Army as well as an article I wrote.

The sub-title to this book is "Passing on the Flame." I highly recommend!

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Mele Kalikimaka for Clarinet Quartet

Merry Christmas to all! Here is our clarinet quartet broadcast from last year. Enjoy!

Bumblebee Loops Music Book available on Amazon

Bumblebee Loops: A Practice Guide to Performing a Lightning Fast 'Flight of the Bumblebee' is a guide to improve your speed and musicality on the solo The Flight of the Bumblebee, but goes deeper to help you work out and improve the sound and artistry of any musical passage. This music book is meant for violin, flute, or clarinet but useful to any musician.

Chris Jones serves up tips and hundreds of bite-sized musical excerpts to help you:

•Identify messy and uneven intervallic and rhythmical flaws

•Increase your focus and practice discipline

•Execute smooth, clean, fast, elegant technique that blossoms musicality

•Apply these tools to any tough musical passage

By the end of Bumblebee Loops, you'll understand the importance of focus, persistence, and take the right steps toward becoming a total musician. #BumblebeeLoops #bbloops

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West Point Band Bicentennial Concert at Lincoln Center 29 OCT NYCity

Come see the West Point Band perform our Gala Bicentennial Concert at David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center this Sunday 29 OCT at 7:30 p.m. The tickets are free and the hall is filling up fast. If you are not in the NYCity area, watch the band's livestream on the our Facebook page. Click the link below the video to get tickets.

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Vandoren String Klassic Ligature

I play double-lip and in the course of developing that embouchure I found that a string ligature gave me the most sound per effort (breath pressure) of

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clarinet articulation

Clarinet articulation tips and descriptions. Definitions of legato and staccato.

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Clarinet shoes

AliveShoes with Box

Clarinet Shoes - choose designs custom handmade Italian dress shoes from Italy OR fancy canvas sneakers made in the USA.

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Clarinet Embouchure


Correct clarinet embouchure descriptions, ideas and photos.

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Macy's Fireworks Show 4 JUL with West Point Band

The West Point Band and Glee Club performed the 2017 July 4th Macy's Fireworks Show on NBC. This is a must watch!!!

West Point Band turns 200 Years Old

You have to check out this interactive historical account of the oldest USArmy Band, the @WestPointBand. Today, 8 JUN 1817 was the constitution of the unit. It is an honor to serve with such fine Soldier/Musicians of this historical unit.

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More Clarinet Quartets

I was just given a tip about a nice collection of clarinet quartet music composed and arranged by Karl Schmidt.

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Father's Day Coming Soon

Don't forget your "Daddy" mug!!!

Clarinet Job Paying $61,355-70,415 Annual Salary Info Here

Looking for a full-time #clarinet job? Check out this West Point Band vacancy with applications due 26 JUN 2017. Go practice!!!

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Make your own All-State Clarinet Magnet

Customize your accomplishment for making All-State on clarinet with this magnet.