10 Great Summer Projects for Clarinetists

by Mitchell Estrin

Calling all clarinetists! Summer is here, so take this opportunity to engage in some fun and rewarding musical activities.

Here are my top ten picks for productive summer projects for all of my clarinet friends.

1. Learn a new piece

Summer is a great time to select and learn new repertoire. Start working on a piece you’ve always wanted to work on but just never found the time. Consult with your teacher for some suggestions, if needed. 

Photo by Marius Masalar

2. Get your instrument adjusted by a qualified repair technician

Don’t put off scheduled instrument maintenance until the end of the summer, when repair technicians are busily getting dozens of instruments ready for area school music programs to start up again. Have the keys oiled, replace torn or suspect pads and corks, and quiet down any noisy keys. 

3. Go to concerts and hear live music

Summer is the season for free outdoor concerts! Music festivals, municipal bands, community orchestras, and chamber music are everywhere.

4. Go to ClarinetFest®

The biggest and best clarinet festival in the world. Five days of non-stop concerts, lectures, exhibits, vendor displays, and the best way to meet fellow clarinetists from around the world. More information here

5. Play chamber music with friends

Get together with your musician friends and read through duets, trios, quartets, or whatever combination of instruments is available. This is a great way to learn new chamber music repertoire, improve sight-reading skills, and meet new friends.

6. Revisit your scales

Summer is the perfect time to revisit your scales – major, minor, chromatic, whole-tone, pentatonic, thirds, arpeggios, diminished sevenths, dominant sevenths, et al. Revisit the Baermann Third Division and Klosé scales (or your own personal favorite scale book) and get working with a metronome. Nothing will improve your playing more than practicing scales!

7. Play some études

For advanced players, read through Rose 32 and 40, Cavallini Caprices, Uhl 48 Études, Baermann 4 and 5, Jeanjean 18 Études, or whatever books you find interesting and challenging. For younger players, read through pages in the Rubank Intermediate and Advanced Method books followed by études in the Baermann Second Division. 

Photo by Dayne Topkin

8. Open a new box of reeds

Summer is a great time to clean out your reed case and replenish with some fresh new reeds. 

9. Join a community band

There can never be enough clarinets in a band! Do a little research about your area to find a band that performs summer concerts – they are a blast!

Photo by Norbert Waldhausen

10. Peruse online free music depositories like IMSLP and The Clarinet Institute of Los Angeles

There is so much public domain music you can download for free! Check out the following sites:

Compositions for Clarinet (IMSLP) 

For Clarinet (IMSLP) 

Free Music (Clarinet Institute)

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