A Student Direction, new instument?

> Dear Mr. Friedland,
> I am 15 years old, and have been playing the clarinet for 4 years. I
> am using a Vandoren B45 mouthpiece, Vandoren #3 reeds, with a Rovner
> Mark III ligature, all on an Artley 17S student clarinet which is about
> 4-5 years old. I can hit most notes with my current clarinet; I’m not
> experiencing any problems with it. I play 1st part in my high school
> concert band, as well as marching band. I was wondering: how long
> should I continue using a student model? Or to put it more aptly: what
> is the difference between a a student model and a “professional” model?
> Will a professional clarinet improve my sound? Most of the students in
> my school also use student clarinets, but I was wondering as to how
> long I should continue to do this, and when I should get a new one.
> Thanks,
> Sam

Hi SF:

We have the same initials and we seem to both love the clarinet.
So let me advise the following in the spirit a caring and experienced teacher.

Here should be your goals for the present and in a way ,always:

Practise on whatever instrument you have for the most beautiful sound you are able to make.

Always be self-critical, using sound and music as your two most important goals.

It really matters not as to what instument ; one can hear the most beautiful sounds coming from inexpensive “student-line” instruments.

Do not use the high register, high notes as a goal, and if you march , always use the most durable clarinet you can find.
Use a good standard mouthpiece, like the B45 you have. I played one for years. I met one of the Van Doren brothers at 56 rue Lepic in Paris one time.

I was having terrible reed problems. He brought down 5 mouthpieces, one on each finger of his right hand. I tried them all… they were terrific, and I have never forgotten that these people know reeds and mouthpieces, so you are definitely on the right track.

I hope I have been of help in your musical direction.


sherman friedland


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