Clarinet Playing Tips & Advice (Part 1/2)

24th October 2022

We recently hosted Peter Cigleris for a Backun Clarinet event here at Dawkes Music. Along with a stunning performance Peter also spent some time discussing common aspects of Clarinet playing. In this blog (part 1 of 2) we share some of the highlights with you…

clarinet playing

In this first blog we’ve picked out some tips & advice from Peter Cigleris regarding tongue positioning and articulation. Achieving clean and flexible articulation is key to achieving successful clarinet playing. In the second blog (coming soon) we’ll cover Practice Techniques & Embouchure Development.

  • Articulation (Blog 1)
  • Tongue Positioning (Blog 1)
  • Practice Techniques (Blog 2 – Coming soon!)
  • Embouchure Development (Blog 2 – Coming soon!)

Articulation – Part 1

In this short video Peter discusses the importance of continued air pressure and how the tongue reacts with the reed. He demonstrates some examples of small movements of the tongue coming away from the reed and back on whilst keeping the air flow maintained.

He also discusses the downward motion that good tonguing promotes and what ‘sound’ you can think of to promote good tongue position and articulation in your clarinet playing.

Articulation – Part 2

In this video Peter discusses three different ‘general’ types of articulation and how to practice them. Using a simple G major scale for example he shows you how to modify the distance and action between tongue and reed whilst maintaining a consistent airflow.

Why not try and introduce this exercise to your practice regime, don’t forget the metronome!

Tongue Positioning

As mentioned by Peter this can be a subjective topic which can be affected by the individuals physiology. Peter himself prefers a more ‘natural’ feel which promotes flexibility and comfort. He would encourage experimenting yourself to see how the position of your tongue affects the tone and your articulation comfort.

Choice of Equipment

We had some questions on the day about Peter’s equipment so please see below his clarinet playing set-up:

  • Clarinets: Backun Lumiere Cocobolo Bb & A Clarinet (more info)
  • Mouthpiece: D’Addario Reserve Evolution Marble Mouthpiece (more info)
  • Reeds: D’Addario Reserve Evolution #3.5 and #3.5+ Reeds (more info)

We’ll be back soon with Part 2 of these clarinet playing tips where Peter discusses Practice Techniques & Embouchure Development – stay tuned to our newsletter!