Clarinet is relatively easy at first but gets harder later. Like flute, MANY children play clarinet, and the completion to get in to honor band in 7-12th grades is VERY stiff.
If you choose to play clarinet, supplies needed: a box of #2 reeds, cork grease and a swab
Carnival of Venice for Clarinet and Wind Ensemble.
Saxophone: I don’t teach it the first year in beginning band upon the Horner Jr High Band Director's advice. It works well for a child to start on clarinet and switch after a year or two.
Many, MANY children/people play saxophone. Many children are drawn to it because it is shiny, and has lots of buttons and levers.
Saxophone is very easy to play poorly... and very difficult to play well. I recommend that saxophonists take private lessons. It is difficult to give a child individual attention in large after school band classes and saxophone is an instrument where a child can develop a multitude of bad habits.
Carnival of Venice on Alto Sax and Wind Ensemble
Tips for Clarinets:
Two words for you: Bridge Key. Please be very careful not to bend the bridge key when you put your instrument together and take it apart. Watch the DVD for the best way to put your instrument together... and take it apart.
Please be careful... don't stand your clarinet up by the bell. Everybody, don't leave your instrument where your baby sister can mess with it. Don't leave it where the family puppy can use your clarinet as a chew toy. (Don't ask me how I know! It has happened... I kid you not!)
Clarinets and Saxes: Please, please, please put your top teeth on the top of of the mouthpiece. Kids hate it... but you MUST! It will help with that squacking duck tone. Eventually, you will not notice the funny feeling that happens when you put your top teeth on the mouthpiece. (Don't bite down HARD... but you need your top teeth engaged...) Please practice this GOOD habit, NOW! Don't practice bad habits.
Please swab out your clarinet or sax after you play. Don't eat, drink soda or chew gum while playing. It will eventually ruin the instrument.
The carrot clarinet... if you have a good tone on your mouthpiece... even a carrot clarinet will sound good!