Overcoming the Clarinet Break

March 21, 2014

mr a music place

2011Symposium_1_2 The clarinet break is one of the most overrated obstacles in all of instrumental music education. Much has been made of this difficulty, so much so that students often are taught they are about to have a problem before they have even tried to overcome it. The clarinet break encountered when the player has difficulty evenly playing from B-flat with the A-key and register key to B-natural, a half step higher. Most method books first have students play twelfths, adding the register key to an otherwise unchanged fingering, in order to become accustomed to producing the higher note. Playing adjacent notes in the higher register is also worthwhile preparation; it familiarizes the student with the feel of the clarinet keys, and helps the student place the fingers on the open key rings precisely and delicately. Ramming the fingers onto the clarinet in the hopes that this will help cover the…

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