Clarinet Lessons

All ages* and abilities welcome. I am based in Market Warsop in North Nottinghamshire, and teach primarily at my home.

Rates: £12 per half hour, £24 per hour

What is involved in learning the clarinet?

Learning any musical instrument requires time and effort – the clarinet is no different. Be prepared to spend at least half an hour a day practising in order to gain proficiency. Initially, weekly lessons of 30 minutes will keep a beginner motivated and moving forward. The various difficulties encountered will not become major obstacles, but can be overcome as they arise. As skill increases and attention moves from learning the basics to more general musicianship, a full hour’s lesson every two weeks may be a more beneficial schedule.

How do I practise?

Effective practise should not involve mechanical drudgery! Mindless repetition of boring technical exercises serves little purpose. The clue is in the ‘mindless’ bit – for practise to be beneficial, the brain must be fully engaged. To that end, a teacher will help each student develop a practise regime that they enjoy, understand and feel motivated to pursue. Although this is a highly individual matter, practise will generally involve a mixture of exercises to develop tone, intonation and fluency, followed by repertoire. It will be necessary to play scales, but when approached intelligently scales and arpeggios become the musician’s best friend. Scale practise can actually be quite soothing and therapeutic. Honestly!

Here is an example of a practise schedule:

5 min. Long notes to develop tone

5 min. Scale and arpeggio work

10 min. Technical exercise (‘study’)

10 min. Repertoire – pieces currently under preparation

It’s a good idea to conclude each practise session with an easy, fun piece in a relaxed style. This ends on a positive note (!), and can also act as a reward for hard work.

How much does a clarinet cost? 

A decent student clarinet can be bought second-hand for as little as £150. However, it is important that the instrument is in good playing condition and is well made. Poorly constructed instruments or clarinets with defective keywork and pads will be more difficult to play and give poor results. I am happy to advise on all aspects of clarinet purchase. See my clarinet buyer’s guide.

Do I have to play classical music?

No! However, as your musical education progresses, be prepared for the possibility that you may want to!! So-called ‘classical’ music covers a vast range of styles and periods. While classical technique is the foundation of modern clarinet playing in Europe, the clarinet is one of the most versatile of all musical instruments. It is a key instrument in jazz, klezmer, gypsy and many folk music styles.

* Please note: Because the clarinet mouthpiece must be held firmly in the mouth, young students (under 10 years of age) may need to seek advice to determine if their teeth are adequately developed before taking up the instrument. For those who have difficulty supporting the weight of the instrument, much of which rests on the thumb of the right hand, various slings and supports are available to assist. There are also several models of clarinet designed specifically for young beginners, and considerable variation in weight among the different student clarinets. I am happy to advise on all these matters free of charge.