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Flute, Clarinet, Sax, Saxophone Practice Tips 85085, 85086, 85087


  1. Subscribe to flute magazines such as: Flute Talk and Flute Explorer

  2. Join professional organizations in your area that support flute. 

  3. Join outside of school performing organizations to keep up your skills and to get other perspectives. 

  4. Listen to good flute players (invest in quality CD’s and attend quality concerts)

  5. Please check the qualifications of your private teacher

  6. Enroll in Private Flute Lessons

  7. Don’t leave your flute outside in the rain (marching band). This is bad for the pads and the hardware on your flute

  8. Don’t leave your flute in your car/trunk. Not just for safety sake, but because extreme temperatures aren’t good for the pads, case and hardware of your flute

  9. Don’t set your flute across a chair or music stand if you aren’t using it. It may go flying if bumped or can get sat on

  10. Stand when you practice your flute or sit up straight if you are sitting

  11. Brush your teeth before playing your flute. If that isn't possible, rinse your mouth out thoroughly with water

  12. Avoid touching the keys when putting your flute together to avoid denting or damaging your keys

  13. Practice a little each day versus a lot on one or two days

  14. Keep your fingers close to your keys when not in use so that they are ready when needed

  15. Clean your flute out after each use

  16. Bring your flute in to a reputable repair technician once a year for general maintenance and prevention

  17. If you are looking for a new flute/piccolo, ask your private instructor for suggestions

  18. Don’t get your finger stuck inside of the body of the flute…nuff said!

  19. Open your flute case up right so your flute doesn't get broken and remember to shut it securely!

  20. Don't Break It!

  21. Try To Avoid Playing in Cold Temperatures As Much as You Can!

  22. Be Teach-able. Through everyone and everything you encounter. 

  23. Question everything. Be curious, so that your own unique way and methods will evolve. Rhonda Larson.

  24. Have FUN!


Some of the key things to work on are your breathing, dexterity, sound quality and rhythm. The following tips will help you improve your skills:

1. Breathing Exercises
It is always best to begin by doing some breathing exercises. Breathe in and out slowly, and see how long you can breathe out. Form your embouchure as you breathe in and out to simulate playing the clarinet. Always breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth.

Your tummy should rise as you breathe in, to allow more space for your lungs to expand, therefore holding more air and allowing you to breathe out longer. Beginners usually take a breath after every four measures in a musical piece, advanced players can usually wait longer.

2. Holding Your Clarinet and Sax/Saxophone Correctly
Curve your hands slightly and place the soft pads of your fingers over the holes. Keep your left thumb close to the register key as it covers the hole underneath it completely.

Most of the weight of your clarinet/sax should be supported by your right thumb. It is important that your right thumb supports most of the weight otherwise you will not be able to place the pads of your fingers into the holes correctly.

Keep your body relaxed, don't tighten up your shoulders, and keep your elbows to the sides.

3. Your Embouchure
Fold your bottom lip over your bottom teeth, with the reed downwards inside your mouth. Gently place your top teeth on the top of your mouthpiece. Keep your lips firmly around the mouthpiece. Do not bite on the mouthpiece.

Keep the corners of your mouth tight. Practice this until you can obtain a steady sound. Try to find a comfortable position as you play. Try out different lip pressures, teeth positions until you obtain a clear steady tone.

Always moisten the reed before you begin to play.

4. Troubleshooting
a) If you are having problems with your sound, check to make sure your reed is not damaged. If so, replace it
b) If you are having trouble placing your fingers on the clarinet/sax make sure all the parts of your clarinet/sax are positioned correctly.

c) If the sound is muffled or air doesn't seem to flow through your clarinet/sax, make sure there is nothing trapped inside your clarinet/sax such as your cleaning rod.

d) If it becomes difficult to assemble your clarinet, then apply some cork and neck grease to the clarinet/sax.

5. Take Care Of Your Clarinet/Sax
Clean your clarinet/sax after each use, inside and out. 

Check to make sure all the keys are functioning properly and that none are loose. keep the screws on the keys tight, but not so tight that they won't work.

When assembling your mouthpiece, avoid touching the tip of the reed as it is very delicate.

6. Miscellaneous Tips
Keep working on your skills even if it seems difficult. You will eventually notice a difference even if you sound like a bus at first.

Listen to recordings of clarinet/sax music to give you inspiration and an idea of what it should sound like.

Work on difficult passages until you can play them with ease. If you become too frustrated, take a break and play something easier. Remember to always go back to the difficult passages.

Practice at least 5 days a week if possible.

Record yourself playing your clarinet/sax and play it back to check your sound quality, and your rhythm.

Have a fellow clarinet/sax player practice with you. This way you can offer encouragement to and receive feedback from him/her.

Take private lessons. It helps to have some guidance, feedback and encouragement from an experienced teacher.

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