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Ideal angle of the neck & mouthpiece for beginners

Basshals winkel01

Got a good question from a viewer that I wanted to share:

I’m wondering your approach to instrument position? I teach middle school band and have students who switch to bass clarinet. Do you have the bell closer to your body, with the clarinet almost at a 45 degree angle away from the body, instrument almost straight up and down or the bell slightly farther away from the feet with the instrument almost at a 30 degree angle away from the body?Thanks,

My reply:

Hi Joe,It really depends on the angle of the neck. Bass Clarinet necks have various angles from “clarinet-like” to “tenor sax-like”. But my approach is that an ideal starting angle is about 5-10 degrees short of perpendicular. In other words, from the chin, if you were to measure the angle of the mouthpiece entering the mouth, it’d be about 80ºFor shorter kids, you might need to watch to make sure their neck is at a comfortable angle. I’ve seen kids crane their necks to reach the mouthpiece and that’s obviously not good. If needed, they’ll need to get a higher chair (or an adjustable piano bench) to reach the instrument comfortably.

Now, once you’ve gotten comfortable, I believe that the “angle of approach” does — and should — vary depending on what register you’re playing. But it varies only slightly. To see what I mean, watch this video about the “head-tilt”

Hope this helps!