10 Tips to Improve Your Clarinet Playing

by Mitchell Estrin

There are no shortcuts to becoming a great clarinetist. Utilizing effective and efficient practice habits are the best way to improve your skills. 


Here are 10 tips to get you on your way: 


 1. Practice regularly. 

Short daily practice sessions will be much more effective than an occasional marathon day. 


 2. Practice long tones. 

No matter what your playing level is, long tone practice will help you in so many ways, and especially with improving tone quality. 


3. Practice scales. 

Major, minor, chromatic, whole tone, etc. Scales are the single most important musical element for any musician to practice. 


4. Practice arpeggios. 

This is very important, as most repertoire has arpeggiated passages. 


5. Practice articulation. 

Focus on quality first and then speed. 

"There are no shortcuts to becoming a great clarinetist." - Mitchell Estrin

6. Practice with a metronome. 

Especially for scales, articulation, and technical passages. 


7. Practice in a quiet location without distractions. 

Silence your phone. 


8. Focus when you practice. 

Otherwise you are wasting your time. 


9. Listen to recordings. 

Solo, chamber music, large ensemble music, jazz, etc. 


10. Take weekly private lessons with a qualified teacher. 

If you cannot find a teacher locally, consider taking Skype lessons. 


Now that you have read these ten tips, go take care of the hardest part of practicing - opening the case! 

Good luck and enjoy becoming a better clarinetist!


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