Daily Warm Ups for Clarinet Doublers

The most important part of becoming a woodwind doubler is establishing a practice routine for all of your instruments. Time is a precious commodity and we have to find the most effective techniques to practice in order to use our time in the best ways possible.

Here are a few practice techniques I use, and have used daily when practicing clarinet.

Register practice aka "Voicing"

As saxophonists, the first thing we have to get used to (other than a slightly different embouchure) on the clarinet is that it has a "register key", not an "octave key". Instead of an octave, the register key gives us a note that is an octave and a fifth above our previous note. Basically, we'll have to learn a different fingering for every note! But, fear not, after a few weeks you'll get used to it.

I had asked my teacher, Joe Allard, who was an extraordinary clarinetist, to give me some tips on what to practice on clarinet. He asked me to bring my clarinet with me to my next sax lesson, which I did. He had me practice the following:

Play the low G, press the register key to get the d', and then half-hole the index finger on the left hand to get a b''.

It looks like this:











Then, I was to continue with this pattern until reaching the middle e'.



Normally, this pattern would lead to a high G#, but due to how the clarinet is built, only a high G can be produced over the middle E.

Next, I would play the open "G" but adjust my embouchure to produce a high D, and letting the tone drop down to the open G. Continuing chromatically downwards to low G. It looks like this:



While playing these exercises, pay close attention to tongue position and take notice as to where you are placing the tongue to produce the tones in the best way for clarity.

Technical Exercises

Technical studies is a very broad topic and what you practice will be based on your individual abilities, but there are some exercises we can all use to keep fit on the instrument.

As saxophonists, we'll have to get used to fingering that doesn't exist on the saxophone when playing clarinet. Here is an example of some exercises that will help.

Low Register Exercises




Although this is similar to what we know on the saxophone, more accidentals will bring combinations that we aren't familiar with. The complete exercises can be found here.

High register Exercises




The high register is completely different and will need extra work. The full exercise can be found here.

I suggest only concentrating on maximum 3 lines at a time with different rhythms and different tempos before moving on.

If you stay the course, your clarinet playing with improve in greatly in no time.

Happy practicing!

Evan Tate

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