Learning the Clarinet

Learning the clarinet: I believe that we only use the clarinet as a tool to learn music. Music has been part of humanity since before the existence of civilizations. Today's music is heavily based on Western tradition, and the clarinet is part of that tradition. In my opinion, we should not put aside any music that humanity created throughout our history. The clarinet is an instrument that allows us to play various genres such as jazz, classical, latin, klezmer, and every other folk music from around the world. I have studied and performed music from all of these genres, and my lessons are designed for students to be introduced to as many different types of music as possible.

In order to use the clarinet as a tool to create music, first we need to master the fundamentals. The first and most important one is the embouchoure. By having a good and stable embouchoure, we can create a beautiful sound on the clarinet. The second fundamental I find important is our posture. We always need to make sure that our back, arms, hands, shoulders and head are relaxed and in a natural and proper position. By doing this, we make the clarinet an extension of oursleves instead of a working tool such as a shovel or an axe. The next fundamental that I work on with my students is breathing. Clarinet is a wind instrument and requires a good and stable air pressure to produce a sound. The human body is designed to manipulate the air, and we have to control how much air we are breathing in and focusing inside the instrument. The way we breathe in and when we breathe in is different for each piece of music we learn. And lastly, it is important to consider the tongue position and articulation while playing. The tongue position allows us to create different tone colors and easily be in tune with other players. It is very important while we are starting to learn the clarinet to have a good tongue position that will give us a rich sound. At the same time, we need to learn and feel comfortable using the tip of the tongue to seperate the sound and create a technique called tonguing.

My lessons are designed for each student to learn and understand the fundamentals of playing the clarinet. In my one-on-one lessons for example, I always start by asking my students to become well acquainted with all of the instrument's tonal colors by playing scales and etudes using mutiple timbres. My classes are designed in a way that motivate my students to continue working on their fundamentals throughout the semester and implement them into their etudes and repertoire. I encourage them to play for each other outside our studio class and lessons, and be their own audience. In my opinion, constantly performing in front of our friends and colleagues is very important in developing as a complete musician, no matter their specilization.

I graduated from three different universities which differ culturally and socially. This has made me a richer and more complete artist than I could have imagined. The friendly competition among my peers at these universities challenged me to work hard and prove myself. I played principal clarinet for the symphony orchestras and wind ensembles during most of my time at these universities. I was incredibly lucky to be able to play such a wide body of repertoire during my time at university, an experience I attempt to pass down to each of my students.