There are more clarinetists than ever sharing tips and ideas about playing clarinet online (including this website). It’s truly wonderful that information about our art is so readily available and freely shared. However, because every clarinetist has individual philosophies and ideas about playing, there is a lot of conflicting information. This can be confusing for musicians looking for advice on how to improve their playing. Clarinetists navigating the large amounts of instruction online should examine all information with a critical lens to ensure the tips and ideas you are receiving are beneficial to your musical development. In the spirit of providing clarinet advice, here are few ideas when considering online clarinet resources:
- Consider the source. Does the person providing information have a reputable career and credentials?
- Do you like the playing of the person that is giving advice? Teachers provide their students with tools and methods that have proven to be successful for them. If you don’t like their playing, it’s best not to take their advice.
- Test out ideas and concepts that you are curious about. From a critical point of view, try out new ideas and see if it has a positive impact on your playing. Talk to your teacher and colleagues you respect about new ideas you have discovered online.
- Talk to your teacher about the best text, audio, and video resources on clarinet playing.
- Always refer back to your teacher. If you don’t have a clarinet teacher, consider finding someone to teach you. They will provide a consistent approach to clarinet playing.
- Keep an open mind. Everyone does things slightly different.
- Let your ear guide you. If it doesn’t sound good, don’t do it!
Developing as a clarinetist, or on any instrument, demands critical thinking. There are no right or wrong ways of doing things, but methods and techniques that have been passed down throughout history, and what works best for individuals. For continued development as clarinetists we should strive to understand different approaches to clarinet playing that have worked for successful musicians and evaluate what works best individually.