Can You Teach Yourself How to Play the Clarinet? (Simple Step-by-Step Guide)

While learning to play the clarinet with the guidance of a professional is recommended, you can also self-teach yourself at your convenience.

Yes, Learning to play the clarinet by yourself is hard, but not impossible. With the right choice of clarinet and proper clarinet playing technique, you can learn to play the clarinet.

The soft sound produced by a clarinet is a wonderful thing to hear, but only a few people have truly mastered the skill. To learn how to play the clarinet like a pro, you must determine the best approach for you. You can decide to learn to play the clarinet by yourself or hire a teacher. If the latter is not an option for you, then you can teach yourself how to play the clarinet.

Even though it might seem impossible, learning the clarinet by yourself is possible. This article will provide a guide to choosing the right clarinet for you and how you can learn all at your own pace.

The right clarinet for you

Before you embark on a clarinet self-studying journey, choose the right clarinet for you. Choosing the right clarinet can be an overwhelming experience, as there are a lot of clarinet options to choose from.

Below are some tips to choose the right clarinet for you;

  1. Consider the strength of clarinet reed
  2. Clarinet body; plastic clarinets are the best instruments for students unlike wooden clarinets
  3. Nickel-plated keys are more durable compared to silver
  4. Smaller bore clarinets are beginner-friendly
  5. Softer reads materials are easier to play than hard reeds
  6. The best clarinets should produce a smooth tone

Best clarinet options for beginners

Brand Model type Best suited for
Jean-Paul Jean-Paul CL-300 Best clarinet for beginner students. Is affordable and more durable.
Cecilio Mendini- Cecilio MCT Good for beginners. Budget friendly Plastic body with nickel-plated keys.
Yamaha Yamaha Y CL- 255 Best for both beginner students and intermediate clarinet players. High-quality clarinet and produces warm tones.

A simple step-by-step guide to play the clarinet better

1. Purchase the suitable clarinet option

Plastic clarinets are the best option for aspiring musicians. Wooden clarinets are the best for skilled artists, but they are too expensive and can be hard to maintain the right sound. Plastic clarinets can be purchased online or in-stores. The B flat clarinets are the best recommended for beginner clarinet players.

B flat clarinet produce a smooth tone and are similar in quality to most quality clarinets. Their lightweight nature makes them easy to play for beginners. Upon Purchase assemble your clarinet correctly. Follow the guide manuals to assemble the clarinet correctly and you are good to go.

2. Hold the clarinet properly to produce the best sound

After correctly assembling your clarinet, practice playing the clarinet. To produce the highest quality sound while playing the clarinet, you should hold your clarinet correctly. Holding your clarinet too far or too close to the body, will affect the vibration of the reed directly affecting the sound produced by the reed. The best way to hold your clarinet is at a 45- degree angle to play it correctly.

Do not lean into your clarinet, rather, move your mouth towards the clarinet mouthpiece. Hold the clarinet with your left hand while also placing your thumb on the octave key at the back. Make sure your fingers cover the three keys at the bottom of the clarinet to prevent any air from escaping. When the air escaped the clarinet during playing, it will not produce any sound.

3. The clarinet reed should be wet

When playing your newly purchased clarinet, it may produce a squeaky sound. To avoid this, you can use your saliva to wet the reed of your clarinet. A squeaky clarinet reed sound is very unpleasant to hear.

4. Proper mouth placement

When playing the clarinet, the vibration produced by the reed produces sound. When you place your mouth properly on the reed, it will affect the quality of the sound produced by the clarinet. Place your bottom lip against your teeth and open your throat more, and flatten your chin while putting your bottom lip on your mouthpiece to produce the perfect embouchure.

This technique will produce the best sounds while playing the clarinet. Practicing the perfect embouchure is the best place to start when learning to produce the best clarinet sounds.

5. Place mouth firmly on the mouthpiece and blow air

Blowing air into the clarinet affects the sound produced by the clarinet. Point your tongue outwards to blow more air towards the reed. Make sure not to touch the reed to avoid affecting the sound quality. With enough practice, you will eventually get better and more skilled at playing the clarinet. Try to master this skill by experimenting with different breathes and paces.

6. Tighten your cheek muscles

Do not puff out your cheek muscles when learning the clarinet. Instead, try as much as possible to tighten your cheek muscles when experimenting. This will help to produce the intended soothing tone.

7. Check reed positions frequently

Put the reed directly to your mouth position to prevent the clarinet from producing a squeaky sound.

Experiment with different reed types. Hard reed materials are used by skilled artists, while softer reed materials are recommended for beginners.

8. practice your clarinet playing technique

To become a master of any craft, you need to practice more. The more you practice, the easier it is to master playing the clarinet and eventually you will become a skilled clarinet player.

Why not join a band to practice your skills more while still having fun with it? Above all else, enjoy yourself during your self-learning journey.


Like with any other skill, playing the clarinet needs to be mastered. You can teach yourself how to play the clarinet by following the above guidelines. Once you are more comfortable, you can decide to join a band to practice your new skills more. Some learning steps may require the services of an experienced teacher, but once you master the techniques, you can become a skilled professional.

Charlotte Moore is a Clarinetist by profession and has over time offered lessons on how to play the clarinet among other musical instruments. And while a majority of clarinet players are well versed with the process of settling with a good clarinet among other accompanying features. There is little information about clarinets. The reason why Charlotte prepared comprehensive experts touching on the various facets of the clarinet. The consolidated information will offer more insight on everything clarinets including the best stand to use, and the best plastic clarinet that you can invest in, among other information. Charlotte Moore is a devoted mother of two and a professional clarinet player.

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