Is playing the clarinet good for your lungs? (Myths, facts + more)

Yes, it is. Playing the clarinet is good for your lungs since it can strengthen your respiratory system. It benefits both the lungs and diaphragm.

If you are not new to playing the clarinet, you have probably heard different things about how it affects the body. While some people believe that playing the clarinet can cause lung conditions, others think this woodwind instrument is bad for the teeth. Understanding the facts is important for every clarinet player. Today, we will discuss how the clarinet affects the lungs. You will also learn how to breathe as you play the clarinet by the end of this post. Enjoy!

Why playing the clarinet is good for your lungs

The clarinet is a popular woodwind instrument that musicians use to play different styles of music. You can use it in classic, folk music, or even jazz. This musical instrument has a lot of benefits, including strengthening breathing. It is good for your lungs since it gives them a great workout.

The only way to produce sound using this instrument is by blowing air into it. Once you do this, the reed creates acoustic waves and makes the air in the musical instrument vibrate. This, in turn, leads to sound production. Every time you play the clarinet, you engage in diaphragmatic breathing, which means breathing for your belly. Since this needs a strong core, playing the clarinet promotes fitness.

Playing the clarinet is considered a breathing exercise that can strengthen your respiratory system. Better breathing can, in turn, boost the quality of your life. Clarinet playing needs full lung capacity. You have to learn how to control your breathing as you play this musical instrument.

You should also learn how to maintain a great posture as you play the clarinet.

Have you heard claims like a person with respiratory problems should not play such woodwind instruments? This is a common myth that you should not believe.

Research shows that playing the clarinet can boost the respiratory health of people living with conditions such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. Even asthmatic people can play the clarinet comfortably. This musical instrument is a great form of therapy for such people.

Are there respiratory issues associated with playing the clarinet?

Though playing the clarinet is great for the lungs, this may not always give you such benefits when you blow into a dirty clarinet. Every clarinet player should remember to clean it from time to time to avoid developing lung conditions such as hypersensitivity pneumonitis.

This condition is caused by bacteria or mold that tend to accumulate on a dirty clarinet. Such substances can cause an allergic reaction and make the lungs stiff, leading to breathing difficulties. Though this condition is treatable, it can be deadly if not treated on time.

There have been different cases of clarinet players that developed this condition from playing dirty clarinets. For example, an 68 old man developed a rare kind of pneumonia for a year due to using a dirty clarinet. Some of the symptoms he experienced from this condition include coughing and sneezing.

The doctors that treated him discovered blockages in his lungs caused by a fungus called Aspergillus due to playing a dirty clarinet. Though the patient did not get better even after taking antibiotics, he started showing great improvement after sterilizing his clarinet. Such cases should be an eye-opener to every clarinet player since it shows the importance of cleaning this musical instrument.

Here are the merits and demerits of playing the clarinet

Merits Demerits
It can help with your breathing. Playing a dirty clarinet can lead to health conditions such as pneumonia.
This instrument can enhance your coordination Some people find it hard to play
It improves memory It has small parts that can get damaged easily, especially when you drop it.
Builds confidence
This instrument gives you a better understanding of music.

How to expand your lung capacity as you play the clarinet

Though the clarinet is not a big musical instrument, it requires a lot of air to create a great sound. Developing lung capacity while playing the clarinet takes a lot of practice. By mastering this, you may notice that you exhale more air for longer than you used to before. You can achieve this by practicing certain breathing exercises.

To master the right breathing techniques for clarinet playing, you should first comprehend how the respiratory muscles work. The basic respiratory muscles you use as you play the clarinet are the intercostals, abdomen, and diaphragm. When you inhale, the diaphragm expands and moves downwards, creating a vacuum in your lungs. The intercostals and abs contract during exhalation while the diaphragm goes back to its original shape.

Some of the breathing techniques that you should be keen on as you play the clarinet include open inhalations and sharp exhalations. Every time you inhale, do this slowly and try to hold your breath for at least three seconds. Ensure you are exhaling slowly with resistance until you release all the air.


Did you know that every day, we breathe around 17,000 breaths? If not, now you do. If you play the clarinet, you should understand the positive effects it can have on your lungs. This is great since it can strengthen your respiratory system and boost your core muscles. You should, however, clean the clarinet regularly since blowing into a dirty one can lead to health complications. As you play the clarinet, remember to practice breathing exercises that can help you expand your lung capacity.


What posture should I maintain as I play the clarinet?

Whether seated or standing, you should ensure that you maintain an upright posture while playing the clarinet. When your spine is straight, your breath will be smooth as you blow into this musical instrument.

Is a clarinet bad for your teeth?

No. This is a myth. Though playing the clarinet needs the use of teeth, it cannot negatively affect them.

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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