Date of Graduation

Fall 2018

Document Type

Honors Research Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Music


Music Education - Instrumental Band

Research Sponsor

Dr. Christine Russell

First Reader

Professor Stanislav Golovin

Second Reader

Mr. Joseph Minocchi


There is no one “perfect” clarinet or clarinetist in the world. There have been masters, yes, however, masters still have to practice and refine their artistry to improve. Professional clarinetists still squeak, and have done so on live recordings or in major concerts. So, if these professionals still have trouble, how can we expect young students to produce characteristic tone on this tube of wood, with a mouthpiece, and a vibrating piece of cane? Students are also faced with the trials of putting down the right fingers and doing so correctly. Yet the clarinet requires cross fingerings and pinky work and knowing when to use what finger and when, which can easily become confusing. Then there is a register key, not an octave key, which requires students to learn a whole new set of pitches that go with fingerings, not even counting the altissimo register. Furthermore, different pitches on the clarinet have different pitch tendencies and everything from an incorrect finger placement to tongue position can affect that pitch. There is a wide variety of reasons as to why clarinet students could struggle so much. The purpose of this paper is: A) to identify challenges to clarinet students through band director surveys, B) to conduct research into top challenges, and C) provide exercises and solutions that students and teachers can use to address the identified challenges.