The 10 worst things about playing the clarinet

1 December 2017, 14:31

Clarinettists everywhere, well done for putting up with what is essentially a middle-of-the-road instrument for middle-of-the-road people. Here are the worst things about being you.

1. Those two little holes in your lower lip

They never quite bleed, but they also never quite heal. These tiny little mouth wounds are the flaming nucleus of the clarinet experience.


2. Squeaks

The lurking, omnipresent dread that is a potential squeak - it stalks all clarinettists and rears its monstrous head at the most inopportune moments.


3. Reed angst

Much like an avocado, the life cycle of a clarinet reed goes: perfectly fine, perfectly fine, perfectly fine, perfectly fine, perfectly fine, BUSTED AND WILL NEVER EVER WORK AGAIN EVER.

worst things to happen to a classical musician


4. Gershwin

Nice tunes Gershwin, love your work! What's that, you want me to do a huge glissando across the break as the first note of the entire concert? H8 U.


5. In the orchestra, you're the middle of the road

No instrument is better at fading into the middle ground. When was the last time someone made the clarinets stand up on their own at the end to take the applause? You are doomed to a life of little showbiz and attention. Unless you are this guy, obvs:


6. "Oh, that Mozart movement is dreamy…"

Yeah, to listen to. To play, it's the most boring thing in the world.

mozart clarinet concerto solo part


7. Cheek pain

Pressure… in mouth… building… must… not… puff out… cheeks… bad technique…


8. Excessive, unreasonable high notes

So composers think that, just because you're nimble-fingered, you can play everything an octave higher than necessary. That's what flutes are for, genius.


9. People who call it an oboe

It's not an oboe. It's so far from an oboe you wouldn't believe. The distance between these instruments is akin to that between a tractor and a pizza. Do not attempt to align these vastly different entities.


10. When classical clarinettists attempt to be cool and do jazz

Never works.