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Clarinet Lesson: Carl Baermann Etude #18

Practicing etudes are a great way to help you improve for your instrument because they are designed to reinforce certain techniques. In this sample clarinet lesson from the Online Classical School with Ricardo Morales, we go through and analyze the Baermann Etude #18. This clarinet etude is nice because it is not only a great exercise for your fingers, but it also sounds beautiful, which makes practicing it all the more enjoyable.  

baermann clarinet lessonCarl Baermann was a well known German clarinet player from the 1800s. He learned to play clarinet from his father, Heinrich Baermann, who was also a noted clarinet virtuoso in his own day. Both men can be seen on the right.

Carol Baermann is perhaps most known for his seminal work, the Complete Method for Clarinet, which contained not only many great clarinet finger exercises, etudes, and scales - but also gives comprehensive history of the instrument that was unprecedented for its time when it was first published in 1875. 

Baermann's method focuses on training clarinet players to be musicians, as opposed to just clarinetists. This broad approach to learning clarinet makes Baermann one of the most notable clarinet teachers in all of history. The etudes he composed are not only great clarinet exercises, but also will help you to understand how to play more musicially. 

To play this piece as beautifully as it is meant to sound on clarinet, it is important to rember this: use all vowels and no consonants. This etude should have smooth and curvy transitions from note to note, as if you were singing. The idea is for it to be nice and smooth, a legato sound as opposed to sticatto

Part of what can makes the sound choppy and less smooth on clarinet is the sound that gets created unintentionally by hitting down on the keys. To avoid this sound, think squeezing, instead of hitting. This exercise will helps you practice keeping your fingers smooth on the clarinet, which will produce the desired legato sound.

Ricardo demonstrates how this clarinet etude should sound against the piano backing track. Notice in Ricardo's performance of the piece that his fingers never slam down. His fingers, along with the rest of his body, create one continueous fluid movement into the clarinet.

This is just the analysis part of Ricardo's lesson on the Baermann Etude #18. Students of his online school have access to additional clarinet lessons which contain full performances of each peice, as well as additional study materials like music notation and piano backing tracks. The best part of course is that students can submit a video to Ricardo at anytime, on whatever they're working on. Ricardo will respond with his own video where he assesses the student's playing and offers


Watch Ricardo's Free Clarinet Lessons

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clarinet lessons with ricardo morales




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