A Brief History of the Clarinet
The history of the modern clarinet dates back to the 1600’s when the chalumeau was a popular instrument in Europe. The chalumeau had 2 keys and a single reed. In 1700 the chalumeau had been greatly improved until the first true clarinet, with 6 tone holes and 5 keys, appeared.
Keys continued to be added so that more notes could be played. In 1844, the modern system of tone holes and keys was introduced. The modern clarinet has has a range of nearly 4 octaves, making the clarinet a very versatile instrument in the Band.
The clarinet is a member of the woodwind family of instruments. Students who excel in playing the clarinet, often also learn to play the oboe, bassoon or saxophone.
Things to Consider in Choosing to Play the Clarinet
Below are some factors one should consider when choosing the clarinet. While it is not mandatory that a student wishing to play the clarinet possess each characteristic listed, the chance for success will be greatly increased if a number of these factors are present.
- Hands large enough to reach all the keys and fingertips large enough to cover the tone holes.
- Generally, braces are not a hindrance in forming a correct embouchure.
- Small motor coordination is very important.
- Reading skills are above average.
Instrument brands listed in bold are the director’s recommended brands. Currently, I believe the Yamaha product is the best student-line instrument available today. Based on my many years experience teaching Band, Yamaha has proven to be the most consistent and well-built instrument for the middle school band student.
Yamaha, Buffet, Selmer