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Woodbury Music Department: Clarinet

Music and Band Site

Famous Musicians

Eddie Daniels

Benny Goodman

Famous Pieces for Clarinet

Mendelssohn:Overture Midsummer Night's Dream

George Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue


The Beatles: When I’m 64

Famous People Who Play

Julia Roberts

Woody Allen

Steven Speilberg

Tips, Tricks and Techniques

Embouchure = position of your mouth, lips, jaw muscles, and teeth.

The embouchure's job is to apply pressure to the reed in such a way that the control and freedom are perfect in the reed's vibrations, and this makes you have awesome sound. How do you do it?

•    The jaw does this by dropping open and moving slightly forward into a fixed position and remaining there in "neutral." Don’t move it!!!!

•    The lip muscles remain firm to resist and cushion the upward, inward movement of the mouthpiece/reed wedge.

•    The lower lip should not "give in" to the force of the mouthpiece and allow itself to be pushed into the mouth and over the lower teeth.

•    The upper lip should also be firm and in contact with the surface of the mouthpiece. Most players who play the clarinet with the teeth on the mouthpiece (single lip) find a textured mouthpiece patch. (Runyon black patches)

•    Your chin should pull down and flat against the jaw bone. (This muscular action of the chin happens virtually automatically when the tongue goes into its high/back position.)

•    The upper teeth should not "bite" down on the mouthpiece surface.

•    The clarinet requires the tongue position to be quite high and back in the roof of the mouth. To demonstrate, try saying "wheeee," or create a hissing sound by bringing the tongue to the roof of the mouth. Notice that the sides of the tongue are touching the inside of the upper-back teeth on either side of the mouth.

Many students who are playing flat in are playing with a tongue position that is low and forward in the mouth--as if they were saying goooo. THIS IS WRONG!

Go to and search “clarinet fingering chart.” It’s cool!


Clarinet Jokes!

Q: What do you call a bass-clarinetist with half a brain?

A: Gifted.


Q: What is the difference between a clarinet and an onion?

A: Nobody cries when you chop a clarinet into little pieces.


Q: How do know a clarinet player is playing loud?

A: You can almost hear them.


Q: How do you get a clarinet player to play louder?

A: You can't!


Q: What do you call 20 clarinetists at the bottom of the ocean? 

A: A good start.


Q: How do you make a saxophone sound like a clarinet?

A: Miss a lot of notes...


Q: What do call a line setup by clarinets?

A: A circle