If you have never played clarinet and want a quick guide, this article is dedicated solely to that.

Of course, you need to practice a lot to become a good clarinet player but for a general guide, I will explain how to play clarinet.

1. Assembly

The first step before playing clarinet is the assembly process. Every type of clarinet comes in parts so it needs to be assembled.

However, while you assemble it, you should wet the clarinet reed. You can wet it with saliva or put it in water.

So, when you put the clarinet together, it’s important to use a cork grease and apply it on each end of every part.

Just put the grease on the ending edges of the clarinet parts and rub it with your finger. After that, you should wash your hands.

2. Posture

man playing clarinet in the streets

To play clarinet correctly, the posture is essential. It allows you to have a good air stream and you feel comfortable while playing.

A good posture when playing clarinet is to sit on a chair and your back should be almost straight.

You should be sitting slightly toward in front of the chair rather than backward. So, your chest and belly should be slightly forward.

Also, make sure that your feet are flat on the floor. This way you will feel comfortable playing a clarinet.

3. Breathing

To play a clarinet comfortably and in the right way, then you should know about breathing.

Breathing consists of two parts – breathing in and breathing out – and both parts are important.

You should use your stomach muscles when breathing while playing clarinet and you can practice breathing without a clarinet.

When you breathe in the air, imagine that your stomach feels up with air and pushes the air from your stomach while breathing out.

A clarinet doesn’t need a high volume of air but it requires intense air so when you blow out, air should travel fast.

A good way to practice breathing is to use only a mouthpiece or just tune your clarinet.

Also, a very important part of playing clarinet is your throat. When you blow out the air, your throat should be wide open, like when you yawn.

4. Finger Position

clarinet finger position

First, take your right-hand thumb and place it on the thumbrest, which is on the back of the clarinet.

On the opposite side, you will see three open holes with rings and you should place your index, middle, and ring fingers on those holes.

Now, your left-hand thumb should go on the open hole at the back of the clarinet and three fingers should go on the front holes where one hole doesn’t have a ring.

You must remember that your fingers should be curved and not straight and cover holes with pads of your fingers.

5. Playing Position

a man playing clarinet

The position while playing the clarinet is very important and an incorrect way of the position will give a bad result. In general, when you hold a clarinet, it should create a 30 to 35-degree angle with your body.

Sometimes beginners have their clarinet too far or their head down which is the incorrect position.

The best position to play clarinet is to have the head straight and up and the clarinet down.

Also, your elbow position is important to play clarinet comfortably – they should be relaxed and close to your body.

6. Clarinet Embouchure

Like playing other woodwind instruments, the correct embouchure is critical to playing clarinet correctly and making a good sound.

First, make a small cushion with your lower lip, place the clarinet mouthpiece on the lip, and then place your top teeth on top of the mouthpiece, about half an inch long.

Then you must seal the mouthpiece with your lips and mouth, so there would be no place for air to go out except in the mouthpiece hole.

To practice it, combine posture, breathing, position, and embouchure and start practicing with just a clarinet mouthpiece.

It will be tricky at first but you will get used to it after some time. Then you can try it with the assembled clarinet and try to make sound with various notes.


Yes, to play the clarinet you should know about several things such as position, breathing, and embouchure, but it’s not that hard. All you need to do is practice and you will soon get used to it. The goal of this article is to give you a general understanding of how to play a clarinet.

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