ClarinetMike says, “The granddaddy (and best) of all clarinet tone quick fixes is ‘More Air.’ Here’s seven 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 attended at TMEA a couple years ago.
6. Project Your Sound. Think about it, work on it, and DO IT! Check out my article on sound projection here.
7. THINK ABOUT TONE! Pay Attention to Clarinet Sound. 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.