I. HOW TO ARTICULATE ON THE CLARINET
- Start by putting your left hand on your chin.
- Flatten your chin like you’re trying to drink a thick milkshake through a straw. Corners in.
- Put your clarinet in your mouth maintaining that flat chin!
- Don’t forget to raise your tongue thinking “eeeee”
- While the clarinet is in your mouth make sure to touch the top millimeter of the reed with the very tip of your tongue—See below.
- Think lee, lee, lee, lee
WHAT TO AVOID:
- Tonguing to low on the reed-results in a thuddy articulation that sounds bad in higher registers
- Tonguing the roof of your mouth instead of the reed- articulation is not clear
- Anchor tonguing—(tonguing with middle of tongue and putting tip of tongue behind bottom teeth) thuddy in upper register
- Slap tonguing- putting too much tongue on the reed/ this has a percussive sound (see “incorrect” picture above)
II. WHERE ON THE TONGUE?
- Depending on the player, the amount of mouthpiece in the mouth, and the length of the tongue, it is anywhere between the very edge of the tip to approximately 5 mm back (This is dependent upon the length of the baffle of the mouthpiece. As a teacher, you should really stress the very tip in the early stages)
- Let’s use a “Jell-O Pop” as an analogy. The Popsicle is like the tongue
III. WHERE ON THE REED?
- See the spot marked on the reed in the picture.
IV. HOW FAR IS THE TONGUE AWAY FROM THE REED?
- Depends on the speed.
- Very slow = 3 mm away
- Fast = 1 mm or less
V. ARTICULATION IN STEPS
#1. THE NOTE is created when the player blows air through the horn
a. The tongue is removed from the reed and the reed is allowed to vibrate with the air.
b. The note stops when the tongue is GENTLY placed back on the reed.
c. TRY THIS: Try playing a note while keeping your tongue on the reed. Some students won’t produce a sound at first but if they use VERY LITTLE pressure then a MUFFLED SOUND will be produced! This tickles.
a. Breath in, place the tongue on the reed, start blowing then let go. With a constant airstream touch the reed quickly then remove tongue quickly for each successive note.
1) When demonstrating tongue placement to your class: periodically have students stick out their tongues and place them on the tip of the reed!
a. With a constant air stream, place the tongue on the reed, start blowing, then let go. When putting the tongue back on the reed GENTLY keep the tongue there until the next note! This will tickle your tongue!
- Less tongue as you go higher and higher on the reed (White point in diagram)