If you are a new band parent, this is your guide to making your child happy with the best clarinet.
Music has a positive influence on everyone, but its effects are felt more on children, with studies showing a strong correlation between higher academic performance and the child’s music ability. So, if you were on the fence about letting your child learn how to play the clarinet, this is your sign of letting them. All you need to do is ensure that the clarinet you choose is the perfect one for them.
Playing the clarinet and being in a band is not only helpful in boosting your child’s academic performance, but it will also enrich their social circle, and they will also develop strong friendships. Being in a band is also a great confidence builder; it will expand many other skills or traits like discipline, patience, creativity, time management, or memorization. Your child will also learn how to work in a team setting. In other words, the benefits of being in a band are immense. And all you need to do is to make sure that your child’s first clarinet is the right one.
With all these benefits and rewards from playing the clarinet and being in a band, what should you look out for in the search for the right clarinet for your child?
Seek advice from experienced individuals
Whether you choose to buy or rent the clarinet, the instrument settled on should be a good one. You wouldn’t want your child to lose interest or fail in his/her classes because of a poor-quality of shoddy clarinet. So, take time to learn and ask the professionals what you should look for. Talking to the music teacher or a local tutor that offers private lessons about the ideal clarinet for your child is an important first step. The experienced individual will recommend the best model and brand of clarinet for the beginner.
You could also learn more about the ideal clarinet for your child by visiting the local music store. Often, the employees or the shop owners have experienced music teachers who will recommend the best clarinet for beginners while also pointing you in the right direction regarding the necessary accessories like the reeds, mouthpieces, ligatures, etc.
You also need to find and talk to a professional technician and repair person for tuning and repair of the clarinet in general. The clarinet will need a lot of repairs and tuning over time, and you need someone who knows what they are doing. This applies to the new and used clarinets.
Invest in a high-quality clarinet
In addition to finding guidance on what makes the right clarinet for the school band, there are many qualities of the clarinet that make it a great fit. By our observation, clarinets that qualify as high-quality pieces boast a high degree of durability, playability, repairability, and they also need to have a warranty-ability.
In terms of durability, the clarinet should be strongly built to handle different playing applications, from rehearsals in the halls to the concert stages and outdoor parades in different weather conditions.
And for playability, the clarinet should allow for easy tuning. Although it is expected that the instrument will be challenging to play at first, your child should be able to figure it out with time, and the instrument should never be the thing that holds him/ her back. Her playing level should also improve with time because the instrument allows.
Since the clarinet will need repairs often, there should be someone locally to repair it – it must have easily-accessible replacement parts. We can all agree that the last thing anyone wants to deal with is replacing the clarinet because there are no parts present. And clarinets don’t come cheap. It should have a warranty, and you must confirm the warranty details and applicability before buying the clarinet.
Materials of the clarinet
While looking for great quality clarinet for your child, you need to remember that at the beginner level, he/she needs a clarinet that is reliable but easy to play on in different conditions or places. So, while the wooden clarinets are highly recommended, they are not ideal for beginners and are just too expensive to be bought as a first clarinet.
Instead, opt for the plastic (ABS or Resin) clarinets. These are lightweight and easy to play on and easy to maintain and will be easy to carry to the parades or back to the music class.
The keys are often nickel-plated for ease of use and that nice shine and bright finish.
Type of clarinet for beginners
Since the Bb clarinets are easy to play on, they are the recommended type for beginners. The Bb clarinet is a bass clarinet that is larger and plays well at lower octaves. The Eb clarinets are also recommended because they are smaller and play at a higher pitch.
Should you buy a used or a new clarinet?
This will depend on your budget and the quality of clarinets at different budget levels. The clarinet you choose should be easy to play, repair, have some warranty, and it must be durable.
If you opt for the used clarinet, first confirm the seller’s credibility, especially when buying online. Consider buying the used clarinet from a reputable music retailer online because these retailers have the instruments well checked before they are listed. And though your child wants a new clarinet, the used clarinets are preferable, and they offer excellent value for the entry-level players, and they will not break the bank.
If you prefer to buy a new clarinet, take some time to research and look up reviews and recommendations for the best clarinets for beginners. To avoid a bad experience, ask the music teacher, experienced clarinet player, or an employee at the music store for the best recommendation.
The mouthpiece, top & bottom stacks, bell, and keyholes are all important but not as important as the reeds. And for beginners, you need to find good-quality, beginner-friendly reeds ranked 1-2.5. 3 and 4 reeds are too hard and not suitable for beginners.
When buying your child’s very first clarinet, take the above notes under consideration. You also need to think of the clarinet that offers the most value for your money in terms of durability and playability. But above all that, encourage your child to be patient because they wouldn’t master the instrument in a day, a week, or a month. A good-quality clarinet goes a long way in keeping them motivated, though.
What is the best material for a child’s clarinet?
A plastic clarinet is ideal for kids because it is lightweight, easy to maintain, and they can carry it in marching bands with ease. It’s also built to last.
What is the difficulty level for learning the clarinet?
Some students find it harder than others, but how fast one learns depends on their breath strength and control for sound to be produced, muscle strength/ control in the mouth or face – also called embouchure. Learning the keys is also challenging and takes a bit of time.
That said, most young players learn it quite fast, as long as they get in 20-30 minutes of practice daily, especially if they learn with recognizable songs.