Instrument Overview

picture of a clarinet

The clarinet is a member of the woodwind instrument family. There are various size clarinets. This one, technically called the soprano clarinet, is the most common size, and so it is more commonly known as simply the clarinet.

Producing sound on a clarinet requires a reed, which is attached to the mouthpiece. Reeds wear out with use and must be replaced regularly. A rental clarinet includes just one reed, so it is recommended that anyone who rents a clarinet purchase a box of reeds.

Once a student has learned the clarinet, it is relatively easy to play the saxophone. (The method of producing sound is nearly identical, and finger placement for certain notes is the same.) For this reason and because the clarinet is much lighter, some teachers suggest that young students who want to play alto saxophone begin by learning the clarinet.

Other Resources

Clarinet Facts

  • Instrument Family: Woodwind
  • Key: (most common) Bb - sounds a major 2nd below the written note; there is also a clarinet pitched in A
  • Clef: treble clef
  • Reputable Student Brands Include: Buffet, Jupiter, Leblanc, Selmer, Vito, Yamaha

Some clarinetists to listen to:

  • Richard Stoltzman
  • Benny Goodman
  • Artie Shaw
  • Woody Herman
  • Sabine Meyer
  • Harold Wright
  • Doreen Ketchens