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 goals, best clarinet scale books, clarinet air leak, clarinet air support, clarinet parents guide, clarinet tuning chart, poor clarinet embouchure, professional clarinet articulation, and clarinet leadership.
On the same search engines, it is in the top five for these key fundamental clarinet pages: Clarinet embouchure, clarinet left hand position, clarinet right hand position, clarinet articulation, clarinet goals, and clarinet scales. You can explore the numerous topics on clarinet via the menu.
Check out a close-up view of the fingers on the Rhapsody in Blue clarinet glissando, squeeze, rip - the run only
February 2024 is the 100th anniversary of Rhapsody in Blue.
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 process 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)
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 Contact, Facebook @clarinetnow, Twitter or X @clarinetnow, or YouTube @clarinetnow.
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? 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).
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.
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 of 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
AWESOME CLARINETY MARCH
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, clarinetist Mühlfeld and Stadler were each responsible for inspiring major composer Brahms and Mozart into composing the most beautiful clarinet music ever. 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
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 Clarinet-Now.com 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!