7 Ways to Improve Clarinet Tone Immediately! (or almost immediately)

Dr. Michael Dean “ClarinetMike” after an orchestra concert.

ClarinetMike says, “The granddaddy and best of all clarinet tone quick fixes is ‘More Air.’ Here’s 7 more.”

7 Ways to Improve Clarinet Tone Immediately! (or almost immediately)
by Dr. Michael Dean “ClarinetMike”

1. Show Me Your Reed! I suggest band directors and private teachers personally inspect the reed of each and every student. Don’t let the students play on reeds that are super old (soft) or badly chipped (however, sometimes slightly chipped reeds will play ok).  This leads to:

2. Get a Good Reed! Do what it takes to have high quality reeds to practice and perform on. Check out the newer reeds from Vandoren and D’Addario. Remember, the best clarinet player in the world sounds bad on a bad reed.

3. Don’t Pinch The Corners of the Reed. Be sure to keep the lower lip flat against the reed so as not to crimp the sides of the reed.  Once past the reed, the lips can seal to keep air from leaking out. Remember, clarinet sound is produced by the vibration of the reed. The more the reed vibrates, the more sound is produced. (This is E-Tip #2 from my 5 E-Tips for E-Lips Clarinet Embouchure Tips. For more on this tip and the other embouchure E-Tips, go HERE.)

4. Voice Eee’s.  I’ve found it very helpful to use different “Eee” syllables when playing in different registers on the clarinet. Go HERE to check out the syllables. (This is E-Tip #3  from my 5 E-Tips for E-Lips Clarinet Embouchure Tips. For more on this tip and the other embouchure E-Tips, go HERE.)

5. Sit Up Tall. Noted clarinetist Julian Bliss said something similar at a clinic I recently attended at TMEA. Check out a couple related ClarinetMike Blog posts HERE and HERE.

6. Project Your Sound. Think about it, work on it, and DO IT! Check out my article on sound projection HERE.

7. THINK! Pay Attention to Tone.  Students: Don’t just mindlessly blow. Listen! Teachers: Don’t put up with bad clarinet sounds – work on them! You will find my 5-C Clarinet Embouchure helpful: check it out HERE.

NOTE: The above is a revised and enhanced version of a previous post.

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, clarinetmike.wordpress.com-viewed 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, clarinetmike.com, 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.
This entry was posted in All, Performance & Pedagogy and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to 7 Ways to Improve Clarinet Tone Immediately! (or almost immediately)

  1. tommy frasca says:

    Thx so much for another informative post. You are so generous sharing all of your knowledge . As always very useful and helpful on a day to day basis. Very Much Appreciated.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s