Correct embouchure.

Back to Basics: Embouchure, Part 2

In my last post about clarinet embouchure, you learned about visible part of your face when you make a correct or incorrect embouchure. There are a few things that you still need to know about the part of the embouchure that you cannot see: the unique clarinet tongue position and the shape of the throat.  Since I am without X-ray photos and and live MRI videos, you will have to take my words and use your mind’s eye to figure this out. Hopefully, the short audio examples at the end will give you a bit more understanding.

First, I’d like to start by mentioning something I left out in my previous post.IMG_0522

Puffing cheeks. 

I didn’t even mention it.  After all the photos you saw, I hope that you noticed that the cheeks were never puffed out. Continue reading “Back to Basics: Embouchure, Part 2”

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Back to Basics: Embouchure, Part 1

Forming a correct Clarinet Embouchure can be a challenge to achieve. It is complex and can be difficult to understand. It is the single most important thing that you need to accomplish to become a fine clarinetist, but more importantly, to become a clarinetist that other people want to listen to!

An incorrect embouchure will result in multiple problems. You may have experienced some or all of these:

  • Frequent squeaks
  • Stuffy sound
  • Poor intonation (cannot hold correct pitch)
  • Bright, edgy, or “screechy” sound in the upper register
  • Inability to play in the upper (clarion) register
  • Thin sound
  • Unfocused tone (possibly big and loud, but too open, “wild,” or uncharacteristic sound)
  • Much trouble crossing the “break”
  • Poor, inconsistent articulation or difficulty tonguing in general
  • A “scooping” sound when tonguing
  • Air leaking (hissing from corners of mouth)
  • Overly sore bottom lip (from teeth cutting in)
  • Jaw pain

Continue reading “Back to Basics: Embouchure, Part 1”

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Creating Characteristic Clarinet Tone

Creating that perfect sound on your clarinet. It’s what every clarinetist wants, right? With the most complex embouchure of all the wind instruments (I know because I play them all!), there are so many factors that can affect your tone quality.

Let’s talk about basics.

What does a characteristic clarinet tone sound like?

If you don’t know, you can’t possibly create that sound! Continue reading “Creating Characteristic Clarinet Tone”