Starting out on any instrument can be a bit overwhelming, especially if you are going to be playing an acoustic instrument. (You don’t have to plug it in.)
After years of playing and teaching the clarinet I found there are some very practical things you can do as a parent when choosing a beginner instrument for your kiddos.
Take this advice and you will save money and start your children on their musical path with as little stress as possible.
As summer nears many parents are going to sell the instruments their kids have been playing while in middle, and high school. Some quit, some buy new instruments…..whatever the reason this happens every year.
This is a big opportunity for you to save some money! Many times you’ll be able to buy instruments at a very reasonable cost. Usually way less then what you will pay on a long term rental.
So…First here’s some things you don’t need when first starting out:
- You do not need to spend alot of money to get a good clarinet
- You definitely do not need a professional model instrument
- You do not need a wood clarinet
- Here is what you do want in a beginner Clarinet. A clarinet that is in good playing condition, new or used. (Nothing is more discouraging for a beginner than trying to play on an instrument that doesn’t play….if the teacher/professional can’t play it …you have a problem
- If it is a wood clarinet, make sure there are no cracks, chips or rusty keys (this is a sign of water damage and may require costly repairs)
- You want a clarinet with a good mouthpiece****** Many clarinets come with what is known as a stock mouthpiece. Even when you buy an upper end clarinet they usually come with a terrible mouthpiece. I don’t know why ….that is just the reality.
The professional clarinetists I know do not play on the mouthpieces that they received with their instruments.
Ridenour Clarinet Mouthpieces, Yamaha, Vandoren 5Rv Lyres and Vandoren M13 are quite good and very reasonable.
Some things you should know:
Unlike its other woodwind brothers and sisters: Flute, Saxophone, Bassoon…… Clarinets do not retain their value except in rare cases…I won’t bore you with the reasons why at this point but it is true.
Don’t be afraid to start on a synthetic clarinet. Many are built especially tough because there being used by beginners
Where do you look?
- Talk with private music teachers not associated with a music store many times they will know of people looking to sell their instruments
- Contact local schools: talk with band directors about kids who may be selling their clarinets (sometimes they have bulletin boards they advertize on)
- Be careful if your buying off the Internet (Make sure that there is a return policy)
There’s alot more I could say. If you have question please sent me a comment or email.