Teaching Clarinets to “Roll to A” Isn’t Enough

If you’re teaching clarinets to “Roll to A” that’s good – but it’s not enough.  The left index finger is usually considered to be THE most important finger to affect clarinet technique, especially in advanced music.  

Here are some other words and phrases to use as well as a great trick that lets kids visualize exactly where and how to place their finger.  At the end I have a simple exercise to use when teaching clarinet, but the magic is not in the exercise.  It’s in the words you use and the insistence on doing it right from day one.

Here’s what it looks like if they are rolling, but not correctly:



Notice how you can completely see the 1st hole.

Now here’s how it will look right:



Notice you can’t see the open 1st hole at all.  The two correct pictures look almost identical because there is so little motion between E and A.

Here’s some of the things you can say (many times) when teaching clarinets to roll to A…
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