1. Assemble your horn and put it in a safe place!
a. On your bed in front of you
b. On a clarinet stand
c. On the ground where no one can step on it
2. Stand up and lean forward like you’re tying your shoe. Let your arms relax and dangle to the sides. Remember to keep your knees slightly bent.
3. Slowly roll up from the hips until your standing up straight and roll your shoulders back
4. Pick up your horn.
5. Your horn should be held approximately 30 degrees away from the body.
When you cover the tone holes on the clarinet, if you squeeze, you'll see that they can leave marks on your fingers. You certainly DO NOT WANT to make a habit of squeezing but you do want to make sure the tone holes are sealed.
Put the pad of the ring finger on the bottom tone hole of the lower joint.
Place this finger on its tone hole.
Next we'll focus on the index finger.
As you put the pad of the finger down onto the tone hole, there is a portion of the index finger that should be in contact with the bottom side key (not actually pressing it down).
Caution: DO NOT anchor the index finger underneath the side keys
The tip of the pinky should touch the tip of the Low F key (for Low A-flat and Low F keys the pinky is slightly curved.
For Low E and Low F-sharp it should be very curved)
Positioning the thumb depends on the right index finger’s access to the side keys and to the assigned tone hole—this usually places the thumb rest somewhere between the bottom edge of the nail to the thumb knuckle (this also depends on the size of your hands)
Notice how the tone hole for the ring finger on the left hand is the only tone hole without a ring around it.
Really make sure that the pad of the finger covers this tone hole.
Do the same. Gently place pad of finger on this tone hole.
Cover the tone hole properly and remember not to squeeze too hard.
As you cover the tone hole for this finger make sure that the side of the finger is in contact (not pressing down the key) with the G-sharp key
The index finger should always be touching the G# key but not pressing it down unless it's in use.
Imagining that the F tone hole on the back is like a clock, your left thumb should point at 1:30PM and the tip of your thumb is what you use to depress the register key.
The left thumb presses the register key by bending at the first knuckle not using the whole wrist or arm
Maintain a straight line. No bending wrists back. Everything should feel very comfortable.
Move at metacarpophalangeal joints (joints between palm of hand and the fingers) lifting your fingers up and down like you’re saying “bye-bye!”
Rolling is the movement of the left index finger to play Throat A and G# with the first knuckle and not lifting the entire finger to play those keys. This term is not widely used but for our purposes it describes the technique of the rocking motion one uses when playing the Throat A when coming from Throat F#.
When you play the Throat A you should automatically be pressing the Throat G# key as well. Notice how these two keys are played with the side of the finger. You do not lift the finger off the clarinet and then press those keys.
From throat G to throat B-flat you can learn to always keep your right hand fingers down on their assigned tone holes so that you only have to worry about moving the left hand when you go to play something in the higher register (the clarion register).