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Want to Learn an Instrument? Try the Clarinet

Most schools encourage their pupils to learn a musical instrument, and these days it's a popular hobby for adults too. Many people find making music a relaxing and therapeutic activity, and a way of winding down after a hectic day at work. One of the most popular choices of instrument to learn is the clarinet. This article tells you a little bit about the instrument and its history, and explores why so many beginners opt for the clarinet.

The clarinet

The clarinet belongs to the woodwind family of instruments.  It is held in front of the player who blows into a mouthpiece and across a bamboo reed.  The reed vibrates to create the sound. Different notes are formed by covering and uncovering holes in the instrument by depressing and raising a system of rod and lever-operated keys. This 'Boehm' system, (named after its 19th Century inventor), allows the player to form many different notes easily, and it's this that makes the clarinet such a popular choice for beginners.  

All ordinary clarinets are the same size, although there are variations in pitch. When you visit your local music shop to purchase your first clarinet, explain that you're a beginner and make sure you buy a standard B flat clarinet. The other types are specialist instruments and not suitable for beginners.

To play the clarinet your arms must be strong enough to support the instrument. Another factor to bear in mind is that the vibration of the reed is controlled by pressure from the player's front teeth and lips, and this could present a problem if you have a front tooth missing or an insecure denture.

The clarinet is a good choice for beginners

The clarinet is very easy to begin learning compared with other instruments. Within a couple of weeks you should be able to play a simple tune. Although there are plenty of good music books and DVD courses available to help you learn the instrument, clarinet teachers are plentiful and investing in a course of lessons is the best way to start your musical journey.

Once you're reasonably competent, you'll be able to play in bands and even orchestras. This is a great way of enjoying your new hobby with like-minded folk and expanding your social circle.

Your clarinet comes apart into five sections which you keep packed into a small case. This makes it easy to transport and the cases give good protection to the instrument so that it doesn't get damaged. Clarinets are pretty robust when used normally although every couple of years you'll need to have the keypads replaced. Reeds last a few months and only cost a couple of dollars to replace.

A good quality clarinet for a beginner can be purchased for a few hundred dollars, and some music shops rent them for a nominal monthly fee if you wanted to "try before you buy".

The clarinet is a great instrument for a beginner to learn to play whether you're a student, retired or working full-time. Learn more about this instrument or where to find it by consulting local experts like The Music Place.