How to Be the Best Clarinet Player

Clarinette image by Franco DI MEO from

Things You'll Need

  • Clarinet
  • Fingering chart
  • Scale study book
  • Etude books

Though many people believe that becoming the best musician is simply a matter of talent or luck, but neither of these attributes are enough. The best musicians are committed to their music and spend a lifetime developing their art. If you would like to join the ranks of the best clarinetists, you will need to develop your skills just as an elite athlete works every day to develop his. To become great, clarinetists need to know how and what to practice.

Have your clarinet professionally serviced every year, as well as any time it feels out of adjustment. A professional adjustment will ensure that your clarinet is responding at the optimum level and that you are not fighting with the instrument to play.

Practice every day for at least one hour. To advance your skill, you need two to four hours of practice every day. Professional musicians play six to eight hours per day to get where they are.

Learn the chromatic scale for the entire range of the clarinet. Start with low E (below the staff) and work upward to at least high C above the staff, following your fingering chart. Learn every fingering for every note.

Learn all of your scales and arpeggios/intervals. Use a scale study book and play through one key each day at the start of your practice session. The foundation of Western music is scales and intervals, and the best players are fluid in all of them.

Study etudes, musical exercises written to develop specific skills. Prepare one etude per week, practicing it as part of your daily routine. Start slowly and strive for perfect execution throughout the study.

Listen to great music often. By listening to a wide variety of clarinetists and styles, you will develop an ear for how your instrument should sound and will accumulate ideas about how you would like to style your own playing.

Find a professional clarinet teacher. Your band or orchestra director is probably not a specialist on clarinet and won't have time to give you the individual attention that you get with private instruction.

Play music with other people. Performing in a band or orchestra is not a replacement for individual practice, but it is where you will put what you have learned to work. Seek out opportunities to play with groups of all styles and sizes.


  • Your repair technician or private teacher can recommend changes to your instrument such as reeds, ligatureor mouthpiece based on your own needs.

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