Clarinets and WikiHow

My daughter is participating in a programme where everybody in her class gets to learn a musical instrument: in her case, they are all doing wind instruments and she’s learning the clarinet.  A clarinet divides into a number of pieces for storage and transport.  This has the advantage (especially for schoolchildren) that it’s very compact to transport and can fit into a hard, robust, case, but has the disadvantage that, if you have difficulties assembling the clarinet, you can get dispirited before you’ve played a note.  Incidentally, this is probably obvious to woodwind players, but you quickly learn that the cloth in the clarinet case isn’t there just because somebody else left their handkerchief there.

Anyway, we’ve had occasional problems assembling the clarinet, and unfortunately the only wind instrument that I’ve played was the recorder, when I was at primary school, and, as the excellent pay the piper website notes, that isn’t very effective at preparing you to play any other instrument.  The problem, incidentally, is that the ligature holding the reed in place tends to pop out when you try and tighten it, and I can’t figure out whether there’s actually something wrong with it, or whether we are just missing some important piece of technique.

It turns out that WikiHow has a potentially useful page about how to assemble the clarinet.  The bad news is that (1) it doesn’t quite answer the question of whether the ligature is really working as it should, and (2) the YouTube video that somebody helpfully embedded in the page has been removed.  It’s still an interesting application of Web 2.  And if you’re reading this and think you can improve the WikiHow page, don’t just tell me.  Edit the page: that’s the point of a wiki.

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