New Clarinet, only 8thnotes, then 16ths,then ………….

Hi Sherman

I’ve recently bought a new Leblanc Concerto II B flat clarinet, and I am writing to you to get your views on how to break in a new clarinet. From what I can gather from other sources, playing it too much in the beginning, could lead to cracks, and this of course makes sense. But how much is too much? I’ve had my new clarinet for only three weeks, but must admit that it’s tempting to exceed the 15 minutes per day that most “experts” seem to set as a limit. I presume that it’s best to play only a few minutes per day in the beginning so as to let the clarinet get gradually accustomed to moisture and temperature changes and generally to being used, but how long
should one stick to just 15 minutes per day? On occasion I have already played for longer than that, but never for more than about 25 minutes.
Besides cracks, what other bad things can happen to a wooden clarinet if it’s overplayed in the beginning? What about oiling the bore? I haven’t done it on any of my clarinets (yet), because there seems to be so many different opinions as to whether and why it should or shouldn’t be done, and it’s all rather confusing for a non-expert like me. What is your take on this? My new clarinet is really lovely, the only slight problem is it’s very tight to assemble, especially putting the top and bottom joints together. I’m hoping
this is going to become easier after awhile; the last thing I want to do is damaging it by gripping too tightly around the keys to put it together (and take it apart). My other clarinets were also a bit like this when new, but got easier to handle after a while. How long should it take for the cork on
the joints to “settle”? As always, thank you for responding to my clarinet queries. I appreciate your help very much.
Best wishes,
First, it is my personal feeling that if a clarinet is going to crack it will most probably at some future time.
The only way to bring one on so-to-speak is to put your horn in thetrunk of a car when the temperature is below zero, take it out and immediately play it while it is still cold.
As far as playing a new one too much, I would only go along with that to an extent, for instance 30 minutes twice a day, making sure you
dry it out after each session.
This is all conditional based upon where you live and the humidity or lack of same.
I tend to play new instruments to death, but then again playing new
instruments is more fun than anything of which I can think. Not buying them , just trying them.
When I was teaching in Montreal I simply always had a new horn to play, and I played many concerts on them, and even recorded a couple of “cuts” on my records with new horns. As a matter of fact I wish I had kept several, or at least more than I did keep.
The joints not fitting is a different problem, one that I find upsetting actually. A top rank technician ought to be shown the horn, I would think.
You are playing an expensive instrument, very wll-designed, so I would treat it well, but after that it should stand the test of frequent playing.It is not a car, where you only play 8th notes for the first few weeks, then 16ths, and finally 32nd notes. But I am joking of course.
Oil the clarinet by putting only a bit of oil on your swab, about once a year. I knew a student who ruined a clarinet by soaking it in olive oil

Best of all good luck with your horn and all that you pursue.



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