Results 1 to 7 of 7

Thread: Starting the clarinet...again.

  1. #1
    New Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    2

    Default Starting the clarinet...again.

    In a few months, when I'm fully settled in my new place, I hope to start playing the clarinet again. I'm going to rent one from a local music store with good rates. (I did consider saving to buy one myself, but having to hassle them to meet me at a store to have the clarinet checked, saving the money in the first place, it seemed like too much work than financing it out for a few years from a reputable dealer.) I'm going to start with a used E11 and if I enjoy it enough for three months or so, I'll upgrade to a new one to rent-to-own, since I get more bang for my buck if I rent-to-own a new one (also I will have a pay raise by to cover the difference ).

    Some background on my history with the clarinet: I played regularly from age 12 to 17, my junior year, I didn't like what was happening to the band program, so the following year I switched to choir, but didn't have much time for the clarinet. I was all-region through junior high, all-city through high school. I dabbled in bass clarinet. I played on a wooden Buffet B12. I've never played on a plastic one, and we couldn't afford to upgrade me to an intermediate clarinet.

    I'm confused on where to start, really. I still remember most of the keys (and there's fingering charts for the rest), I do recall how to read music. I was going to pick up Melodious and Progressive Studies - Bk 1 - Clarinet by and Artistic Studies - Volume 1 - Clarinet because that's what we use in Texas for a great deal of audition pieces and it's what I used through school. What other etude books should I get? Should I consider this one? I was going to start off with Vandoren 2.5s.

    Would I be best engaging a teacher? Or will I be okay alone? Is there something I'm missing? I'm worried because I'll have to buy quite a bit to get started, and if it ends in a big pile of failure, well...

  2. #2
    Senior Member Lunasong's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Posts
    1,295

    Default

    Good luck with this and happy to hear that you are returning to the clarinet. I picked up my clarinet again after 30 years to play in a community musical pit, and the thing I had the most problem with was the alternate fingerings right above the break. I ended up writing them all in code on the music because I just couldn't remember them. I think I need an exercise book designed just to bring this knowledge back. Other than that, your embouchure (cheeks and lower lip bite) might get a little sore to begin with.
    Vandoren 2.5 is a good choice to begin. I use Mitchell Lurie. You will be comfortable picking up the same books you worked with before. A teacher is recommended; also get involved in an appropriate ensemble. Both will inspire you to keep working toward your goal.
    I recommend you buy one book, work in it a little bit on your own, then engage a teacher and explain your goals and demonstrate your level, and he or she will probably have you buy the book(s) that they like to teach from.
    "To be a musician is a curse. To NOT be one is even worse." Jack Daney

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    1,791

    Default

    Hi there,

    a clarinet player....woohoo!!

    Welcome aboard. I just picked up my clarinet....and put it down again. Yes it's still there.

    If you played a wooden clarinet, I'd say these are much nicer, although the plastic ones are much easier to maintain, and don't warp or crack as much.
    I'm surprised you have to rent one: good plastic Bb clarinets don't cost much - maybe the cost of several new books, although you might need a teacher to check them with you for the keying issues. They don't cost more than US$100 for a student model here. The reed ligature should come with it, and apart from a box of reeds, most music books are available from your local library.

    I play a plastic no name one (well, it does have a name, it's too embarrassing to say on a public forum). Grade 2 Rico or Vandorens are very easy - 2.5 is a good balance. I was using Grade 4 which I loved, but I'm more of a doubler on clarinet back then, so it really blew my flute embouchure out of high water and my lips went like rubber.

    When the tingling stopped, I could fit an elephant through my mouth, the lips were that numb. But that is what happens when you return to the clarinet after aeons of no use. It is a bit depressing not being able to play Grade 4 Vandorens fluently anymore. I think I'll go slit my wrists. No wait - can you lend me yours (j/k).

    Importantly - you don't need to worry about cross-fingerings. Just concentrate on fingerings for the lowest octave, and worry about the break afterwards. The embouchure skills are not going to present much problems for you if you had experience on a bass clarinet - that should come back to you in no time with practice. You can hear the octave split around 10seconds:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qkx9aQ7v9lc

    Since you used to play bass clarinet, you're probably of a good enough foundation level to pick up and teach yourself (or re-learn what you have forgotten) without a teacher, without serious issues. It won't harm to have a lesson a month, although there are more interesting books, working on developing familiarity with keying and fingering, before going for scales and exercises. If you're learning for fun as an adult, scales aren't as important as exercises.

    The bass clarinet is such a sexy instrument. Enjoy and be inspired.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7XyBGLJ8CIA

    This recording is done by the Archaeus Quartet:

    http://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG...er=allrovi.com

    (zhit editor doesn't like them!)
    Last edited by Head_case; Jul-18-2012 at 01:37.

  4. #4
    New Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    2

    Default

    I could keep trying to find a clarinet for cheap. That probably will be the best thing to do, until I've been playing for awhile. It's not like people can't own several clarinets! I probably should go with a plastic clarinet at first, but I'm just afraid I'll be turned off by the difference in tone. I'll splurge on a nice mouthpiece instead. I just have this mortal fear of getting a cheap clarinet said to not need repairs, and then it needs new repairs. But if I get a used clarinet, I could afford to engage a teacher easily.

    What are some tips for finding a good teacher? How much should I expect to pay, and how often will lessons be?

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    London
    Posts
    353

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by swoonsong View Post
    I could keep trying to find a clarinet for cheap. That probably will be the best thing to do, until I've been playing for awhile. It's not like people can't own several clarinets! I probably should go with a plastic clarinet at first, but I'm just afraid I'll be turned off by the difference in tone. I'll splurge on a nice mouthpiece instead. I just have this mortal fear of getting a cheap clarinet said to not need repairs, and then it needs new repairs. But if I get a used clarinet, I could afford to engage a teacher easily.

    What are some tips for finding a good teacher? How much should I expect to pay, and how often will lessons be?
    It is quite possible to learn an instrument as an adult with lessons only once a month. You will get on faster if you join a group as soon as possible after you start. Whatever you do don't take any exams that are also taken by children. There are some here in the UK called grade exams. These are not suitable for adults.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Lunasong's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Posts
    1,295

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by swoonsong View Post
    What are some tips for finding a good teacher? How much should I expect to pay, and how often will lessons be?
    You haven't mentioned where you live, but good sources for finding teachers are your local music stores, colleges, or contacting the section personnel in a local professional or good amateur ensemble. Ask for referrals, or if teachers are on staff. Remember that the instructor works for you, and if you know what you want to get out of your lessons and how often you want to take them, he or she should incorporate your goals in the lesson plan. Lesson prices will vary so don't be afraid to ask if the teacher does not mention it in your interview.
    "To be a musician is a curse. To NOT be one is even worse." Jack Daney

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    1,791

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by swoonsong View Post
    I could keep trying to find a clarinet for cheap. That probably will be the best thing to do, until I've been playing for awhile. It's not like people can't own several clarinets! I probably should go with a plastic clarinet at first, but I'm just afraid I'll be turned off by the difference in tone. I'll splurge on a nice mouthpiece instead. I just have this mortal fear of getting a cheap clarinet said to not need repairs, and then it needs new repairs. But if I get a used clarinet, I could afford to engage a teacher easily.

    What are some tips for finding a good teacher? How much should I expect to pay, and how often will lessons be?

    Lol. I feel that way about flutes. There are so many micro-differences, that each one makes each flute seem desirable. How is that for geekiness?

    A plastic clarinet makes sense: you can practice outdoors; just stand it and leave without laborious swabbing it out; use it instead of burning out a proper wooden clarinet from overuse; the plastic one warms up quicker and won't crack. No fungus, no mould issues. Most importantly - it's so cheap compared to a quality wooden one. Buffet Crampons are very nice though. Must say, they have some of the finest spearmint flavoured cork grease I've ever used mistakenly for flutist' lip balm

    You sure you really need a teacher? Maybe that's just a confidence thing. If you do get one, usually try local recommendations from other players or orchestras. If not, then maybe music shops. As an adult learner, I wonder if you've thought about going for 30 minutes instead of 1 hour lessons. 1 hour lessons are a waste of time/money for students imho. You end up paying double, just to get the teacher to watch you practice and get everything wrong lol. Better to concentrate learning for 30 minutes, and tell the teacher you'll go off and practice the drills/exercises in your own time.

    Lessons vary from place to place and grade to grade, and errr...desperate to desperate. Where I live, we'd expect to pay around US$20-30 for each half an hour at least...

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 29
    Last Post: Jul-09-2012, 17:17
  2. Starting Out A Compostion
    By TrazomGangflow in forum Today's Composers
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: Jan-05-2012, 03:35
  3. Starting point for a Radiohead fan
    By dee333 in forum Classical Music Discussion
    Replies: 36
    Last Post: Dec-29-2011, 09:02
  4. Sibelius is really starting to grow on me
    By DavidMahler in forum Classical Music Discussion
    Replies: 29
    Last Post: Dec-10-2011, 02:27
  5. Helping With Starting Off To Composing
    By Metalheadwholovesclasical in forum Today's Composers
    Replies: 14
    Last Post: Aug-05-2009, 03:12

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •