What You'll Need
Clarinet: There is a lot to consider when buying an instrument. It is a big investment and you want to make sure you get something that will last. If you are thinking to buy a new or used instrument, let me know! I am happy to source instruments and mouthpieces for my students and I always include them in the selection process. I will ensure that you get a quality instrument that gives you pleasure for years to come.
Here are the instruments I recommend the most:
Beginners: Buffet B12 (plastic) or Buffet E11 (wood)
Intermediate: Buffet E11
Advanced: Buffet R13 or Prestige (wood or composite)
Recorder: Generally speaking I do not teach clarinet to students under the age of 9. The reason is simple, clarinets are heavy and require fingers large enough to cover the tone holes. The recorder is a great preparatory instrument for all wind instruments. Students learn many valuable skills (finger coordination, reading music) that can be directly transferred to the clarinet when they are big enough.
Selecting the right mouthpiece is critical because it is the interface between you and the instrument. Just like instrument buying, I am more than happy to help you pick out the best one for you. Please read my guide to Mouthpiece Selection.
Here is a list of my preferred mouthpieces:
Beginners: Fobes Debut or Vandoren M15 Lyre
Intermediate: Vandoren M15 Lyre
Advanced: Richard Hawkins R or B
Do not forget to invest in some Blaymenan Mouthpiece Cushions to protect them from scratches!
There are a lot of music stands out there. Most of them are cheaply made and inevitably break. A Manhassett stand costs a bit more but they are sturdy and will last a life time. That said, what you spend your money on here is up to you.
The best way to keep track of your music is by keeping it in one place. I recommend investing in a folder or file pocket that can fit your music materials easily. Folders made specifically for music can be found at your local music store.
Please purchase a notebook that can fit in your music folder and bring it to every lesson.
For more info on how to use your practice journal please read Approaches to Practice.
Reeds and a Reed Case
Reeds are a critical element to clarinet playing. While your preferred reed and reed strength will depend on several variables, like the kind of mouthpiece you are using, I generally recommend: Vandoren V12 strength 3, 3 1/2 or 4. Make sure you choose reeds for the correct instrument (Bb, Eb or Bass). I sell individual reeds for cost to my students, please inquire at your next lesson.
A descent and inexpensive reed case that suits all levels is a Vito or Vandoren
The Vito cases should be kept in a small ziplock back with a small strip of new sponge made slightly damp inside.
I am picky about swabs because cheap one’s do not work well and can get stuck inside instruments! (the felt swabs that often come in new or rented are particularly bad) The best swabs are made from either silk or microfiber.
Metronome and Tuner
Anything you can stand the sound of will do! Metronomes come in various styles from credit card sized one’s that beep to an old fashioned mechanical one. I like the affordability of this tuner/metronome combination. Have a smart phone? There is an app for that!
Books and Music
I usually ask that each of my students have a method or etude book, a scale book and some music to work on. I often supplement these items with copies from my own library. A link to my commonly used method books can be found HERE and ideas about where to find them can be found on the RESOURCES page.