Clarinet Lessons IN BURR RIDGE

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CLARINET

woodwind instrument

The clarinet is a relative newcomer among woodwind instruments, said to have been invented by the Nuremberg instrument maker Johann Christoph Denner at the start of the eighteenth century by adding a register key to the earlier chalumeau. Over time, additional keywork and airtight pads were added to improve the tone and playability. In modern times, the most popular clarinet is the B-flat clarinet. However, the clarinet in A, just a semitone lower, is regularly used in orchestral music. The clarinet uses a single reed made from the cane of Arundo donax, a type of grass, or manufactured from synthetic materials.

The name "clarinet" is believed to have derived from various names for trumpet in the Renaissance and Baroque eras such as the clarion. The clarinet has a single-reed mouthpiece, a straight, cylindrical tube with an almost cylindrical bore, and a flared bell. Grenadilla, which is now the most commonly used material for clarinet making, has a higher relative density than boxwood, making it easier to support with the body while performing, thereby allowing for more air volume. When blowing gently it becomes soft and gentle.

The clarinet is a very popular instrument in orchestral, jazz, and big band music. Many works of chamber music have been written for the clarinet, and concertos for the instrument have been written by popular composers such as Mozart, Copland, and Weber. American players Alphonse Picou, Larry Shields, Jimmie Noone, Johnny Dodds, and Sidney Bechet were all pioneers of the instrument in jazz.  Swing clarinetists such as Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, and Woody Herman led successful big bands and smaller groups from the 1930s onward. Duke Ellington, active from the 1920s to the 1970s, used the clarinet as lead instrument in his compositions.

In addition to the B-flat and A clarinet, the most common instrument in the clarinet family is the bass clarinet, which plays an octave lower than the B-flat clarinet. Most modern bass clarinets are straight-bodied, with a small upturned silver-colored metal bell and curved metal neck. Early examples varied in shape, some having a doubled body making them look similar to bassoons. The bass clarinet is fairly heavy and is supported either with a neck strap or an adjustable peg attached to its body.

Clarinet Faculty

Heather bio photo

Heather Winters

Clarinet Teacher
Heather Winters is a professional oboe, English Horn, and flute player, performing all over the Chicago area in bands, orchestras, churches, and musicals in addition to adjudicating competitions for solos, large, and small ensembles. Mrs. Winters has taught private oboe and bassoon lessons and masterclasses for over 21 years and taught K-8 general music in the Chicago suburbs for over 13 years. Mrs. Winters received her Master’s degree in Oboe Performance from Illinois State University and her Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Tennessee Technological University.

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