My slight of build, soon-to-be 12yr old daughter is currently playing on a Forte clarinet, with a Gennusa mouthpiece, medium opening and Vandoren V12 2 ½ reeds. With that instrument she made it into the County Band, has secured a place in the advanced band for next year (her first year in middle school when most in her grade will be in beginning band), and has consistently been told that she has excellent tone. She recently switched instructors, and the new teacher says her instrument is “OK, for now…” and that he would like to see her upgrade to wood “soon”. He says she is a better player than we realize, but that we can’t see/hear it from this instrument.
You have historically been of the opinion that wood vs. plastic is less important than the mouthpiece. Could you recommend a mouthpiece for her to try on her current clarinet before we invest lots of money in a new wood clarinet that she won’t be able to play in outdoor concerts or marching band anyway?
Thank you in advance. I’m a non-musical mom trying to steer my musical kids through this maze.
———————————————————————-Thank you for your note concerning your daughter and her progress with the clarinet.
While I do not have a Forte clarinet, I have read the reviews and they read very well. The mouthpiece I find to be especially interesting because usually the mouthpieces found on a new instrument are not very good. The Gennusa is excellent. I happen to have one which I am playing . The sound is very pleasant and the mouthpiece can only enhance your daughters progress. Ignatious Gennusa was at one time the Principal Clarinetist of the Baltimore Orchestra and a respected clarinetist
I do not feel that she need change her mouthpiece for a good long time if at all.
The clarinet as well sounds as if she is doing quite well.
I would have to take issue with the comments of her new teacher. They were controlling comments, and new teachers sometimes have to establish control. The key phrase is “for now”,and “upgrade soon” which, made to a young new player (or her parents)who has been receiving good comments about her progress, are without much meaning except for the person making them. (Given the context,I myself find them self-serving)
I see no reason to change anything and while of course, I can only read what you write, it is quite clear to me that any new wooden instrument would be superfluous at this time. Wood has only been the material of choice through tradition. There is actually a clarinet made of hard rubber that is supposed to be really superb. Don’t believe the things you hear about a clarinet costing three thousand dollars. The industry thrives on such sales and is not in such a great position presently.
The reviews I have read say good tuning and good manufacture and good keywork, so as I say, there is no reason to change a thing, especially the mouthpiece, but certainly the clarinet as well.
Good luck to you all.