7 #Relatable Clarinet Things

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I’ve played the clarinet for a couple of years now, and I love talking to other clarinet players about all the clarinet things. So HERE ARE A FEW. Also, whilst I was writing this post I I realised that this was kinda similar to An Overthinking Teenager’s #Trumpeterproblems post so do go and check that out, it’s excellent! I mean, I’m not actually a trumpeter, but I DID ENJOY IT NEVERTHELESS.

1. Wait, how many ledger lines?

As you can see here, you can get a whooole bunch of ledger lines on the clarinet. I’ve got a pretty solid hold on the lower ledger lines, but in the higher register? (The weird altissimo one.) Yeah, just no. I am that person who sits there counting them all out. TOO MANY LEDGER LINES, GUYS.

2. There are approximately 30172907 other clarinet players out there

Don’t get me wrong, I’m eternally glad so many people choose to play the clarinet, because clearly the best instrument out there. *coughs* It just means that there’s a lot of competition for the few clarinet spaces there are in orchestras. (Like, at least there are about a million violins. Compared with THREE CLARINETS, I tell you. THREE CLARINETS.) (This especially sucks when you have, like, a clarinet prodigy at your school. RIP me.)

3. Playing 3rd clarinet in the school orchestra

Even when you do manage to get a place in orchestra, if it’s a lower part then it’s often just minims or crotchets plus 40 bars rest. I’m still pretty bitter from my 3rd clarinet days, to be honest. But it means that you can be SUPER HAPPY when you move up a part.

4. Trilling over the break

Some composers obviously just…do not understand how the clarinet works. BRO, I CANNOT TRILL FROM AN A TO A C. I JUST CAN’T. For non-clarineters: that means going from leaning on one key with your index finger to having all your fingers down! Plus another key! THE HORROR. I mean, there probably is a trill key for it. (See below.) But when you have to do it in like a scale of really quick notes going over the break and it’s just asdgyjhakeflkw.

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I’ve played the clarinet for a good while now, and even I don’t know what all the little keys along the side do. (I think I know most of them. But I might have to experiment a bit if you actually asked me to tell you.) It also means that if you knock one of them slightly, it can send your entire instrument off kilter and then you have to improvise with cling film and blue-tack to try and get the notes out.

6. Cleaning your clarinet is just…no

There are a variety of different clarinet cleaning things out there that you can use, but I have a weird cloth with a weight on the end. It used to be white, but now it’s brown and ripped and just in general extremely disgusting. I used to barely ever clean my clarinet, so when I did it would come out with loads of brown stuff, but now I try and clean it every time I play to minimise that. It’s still pretty gross.

7. Your one good reed always chips

Reeds are just really weird and mostly out to hate you. (It always seems like they’re especially out to get you when you are a wee tiny clarinet player.) They’re dry and they chip really easily and sometimes you find a 2 year old one somewhere and it is super super manky. And then when you get out the one reed you trust to play it at the concert…IT GOES AND CHIPS. Because of course.

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do you play an instrument, or would you like to? (the clarinet maybe?!?) can you relate to any of these struggles?

19 thoughts on “7 #Relatable Clarinet Things

  1. I don’t relate to this post at all, but that’s probably because I have never even touched a clarinet in my life and the only instruments I played were basic guitar and piano in music class ages ago!
    I’ve always wanted to play the guitar or piano, but I don’t think I’m good at rhythms. I can’t even tap in sync to a song!

    1. Aw ahaha, I hope you enjoyed it a little anyway! I played the piano when I was little but I wasn’t very good haha. I think the most important thing is to have fun doing music even if you don’t think you can do some of it! (What I try and do anyway.)

  2. I used to play the clarinet, and was awful! The second two are so relaitable. You need a strong stomach to clean a clarinet

  3. I play alto sax, so I can relate a little bit- reeds are THE WORST. And omg those cleaning things always do get so gross. I must say we don’t have nearly as many ledger lines, though. YIKES THAT’S A LOT.

      1. YESS CLARINET PLAYERS! congrats on choosing the best instrument XD

        this post was too. true. Like what even is over the break trills? And reeds- dont even get me started. Not to mention they taste TERRIBLE.

        my clarinet is probably so nasty but i have a really expensive mouthpiece so i cant clean it every time after i play but still.

        TBH whats the point of 3rd clarinet? to torture us? make us wanna jump into a black hole?

      2. WHOO CLARINETISTS! I mean, it’s OBVIOUSLY the best instrument lol.
        I…honestly don’t know why people write them. So much pain. Oh I haven’t heard of people doing that before but yikes, hopefully it’s not too grotty.
        (Maybe it’s to weed out people. Like, they want to see if you have the strength of character or something lol.)

  4. I honestly don’t think that cleaning our your clarinet is that’s bad if you do as much as you should. And if your swab is brown and it WAS white, then you should definintly clean it, I usually clean mine every time they start to smell. (just wash with warm water and dish soap and set out to air dry). And honestly Thord clarinet is written for people who get placed lower in a band and have more simple parts, not tryin to hate. I can’t really relate to this post much, but this is coming from a first chair in a wind ensemble and 2nd chair in an all-state band, so I dunno how many people could relate to me 😘😜

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