New Clarinetist, No sound, Why?

Hello, how are you doing…
I am piano teacher who started a couple of weeks ago to learn clarinet. The sound is not too bad, but sometimes (i dont know why) I CAN’T start playing because I cant produce a note!!!! some books say “play long notes at the beginning” but sometimes I can’t even play a note and I don’t know why, sometimes it’s perfect and I can play for hours… it’s just I blow and nothing happen… Could be the clarinet? it’s new but it’s chinesse, make: “stagg”…
thank you very much,M

Hi M:
For a new player of the clarinet, it is important to picture the way that the mouthpiece and reed goes into your mouth. The mouthpiece is covered by your top teeth , the lips usually forming somewhat of a cushion around the rest, the reed sits on your lower lip. The jaw must be pointed down inorder to allow the reed to vibrate when air is pased through the mouthpiece. Should the jaw not be pointed down the reed will be grasped by the lower lip and not allowed to vibrate. Hence, no sound at all.
It is not the clarinet but the way that you hold the mouthpiece and reed in your mouth, in other words, your embouchure. Top teeth on mouthpiece, lip cushion, reed on lower lip, jaw pointed down, slight smile formation allowing the reed to vibrate, which causes the sound. Use perhaps a slightly more resistant reed until the sound comes more easily. If you are playing correctly you will feel fatigue at the sides of your mouth. If your lower lip hurts, you are biting, not keeping the jaw down.
You must be conscious of all of these motions in order to solidify your embouchure, which takes a bit of time. Do not practice no sound, which must be very frustrating . Just make one good sound and memorize what you are doing.
Good luck, and practice long tones after.

sherman friedland

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