ClarinetMike’s 101 Clarinet Tips: #23 “Don’t lean over too much.”

The Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy.

ClarinetMike’s 101 Clarinet Tips: #23 “Don’t lean over too much.”

Over the years, I’ve noticed that many students (and pros!) lean over too much when playing the clarinet (and saxophone!). Of course, it is very true that each person has their own unique way of relating to the clarinet based on their own particular body shape, embouchure, etc. Nevertheless, it seems obvious to me that many lean over too much while performing and this certainly must, at least, somewhat hinder effective technique and good music making generally.

So, I make a point in the my clarinet teaching to be sure that my students don’t lean over too much. I say to them, “Have the clarinet come to you – don’t go to the clarinet.” This is often said  in the very first lesson,  whether beginner or professional looking for a few pointers. It almost always helps to fix problems: embouchure, head position, hand/arm position, etc. (I discussed this in Tip #8. Go HERE and watch the video where I worked on this with a student in a master class at Florida State University.)

The related topic of  “head weight” will be discussed in an upcoming tip. Watch for this tip as it is an extension of this topic.

ClarinetMike says, “Don’t lean over and have the clarinet come to you!”

NOTE: The above photo is attributed to W. Lloyd MacKenzie, via Flickr @ and was found at Wikimedia Commons at

About ClarinetMike

American clarinetist MICHAEL DEAN performs and teaches internationally and across the USA to consistent praise such as "world-class clarinetist and pedagogue," "consummate performer," "inspirational," "outstanding teacher," "super," "brilliant performer," and "one of the best clinicians I have ever seen." His career is headlined by appearances at Carnegie Hall, ClarinetFest, NACWPI, Eastman School of Music, and Royal Northern College of Music with recent recitals and master classes in Italy, Spain, Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, Louisiana, and Texas. In July, he will return to Vipiteno, Italy as Clarinet Artist Faculty in Residence at Orfeo Music Festival 2018. He is featured on 5 commercial CD's and on New Media, such as YouTube. He is currently preparing another new clarinet CD, Postcards from Silver Lake. He's performed with the Southwest Symphony, Nevada Symphony, Abilene Philharmonic, Southeast Chamber Players, Red Mesa Trio, and Duo 35. He performed for 11 years with the Paducah Symphony. His articles appear in journals such as Southwestern Musician, WINDPLAYER, NACWPI Journal and The Bandmasters' Review. As "ClarinetMike," he writes for his widely-read ClarinetMike Blog, in 150 countries on 6 continents. He was recently a tenured Associate Professor of Clarinet for 11 years at Southeast Missouri State University. He returned to his native Texas in 2012 due to family concerns. He is a past president and former National Board officer of the National Association of College Wind and Percussion Instructors (NACWPI). Dr. Michael Dean studied clarinet performance at Texas Tech University, University of Colorado at Boulder, University of Texas at Austin and University of Texas at Arlington. His teachers include Robert Walzel, Phil Aaholm, Carol Jessup, Jess Youngblood, Bob Ackerman, and Pam Youngblood. His web page,, features video of his teaching and performing as well as information on his CD's and other publications. He is a BG France Performing Artist.
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2 Responses to ClarinetMike’s 101 Clarinet Tips: #23 “Don’t lean over too much.”

  1. Pingback: ClarinetMike’s 101 Clarinet Tips: #24 “Carry That Weight.” | ClarinetMike Blog

  2. Pingback: GREAT POSTURE RULES: Don’t Lean Over Too Much! | ClarinetMike Blog

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