How to Find an
Exceptional Clarinet Teacher

The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Best Clarinet Instructor

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Rose Park

5/5/23 • updated 3/26/24 • 4 min read

When you’re looking for a clarinet teacher, whether online or in person, it can be tough to figure out if they’re experienced, friendly, and the right match for you.

What should you look for in a clarinet teacher who is friendly and professional? Are there any qualifications, tips, or questions to ask when booking the first lesson?

Here is a list of ideas and considerations to make before signing up for clarinet lessons with your potential teacher.

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Get an Expert Clarinet Teacher From the Start

Meeting a skilled clarinet teacher early on can accelerate your progress and develop a strong technique. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to pay extra to hire someone with impressive teaching and educational backgrounds. Whether a clarinet teacher teaches online, in-person or hybrid, you should make sure that your potential teacher will:

  • tailor your clarinet learning along the way
  • inspire a love of music
  • motivate you to challenge and grow performance skills
  • give accurate and detailed feedback
  • Widen your repertoire

Many clarinet players make the mistake of starting with a cheaper, less experienced teacher and then switching to a more skilled instructor later on. This can lead to confusion with learning techniques and difficulty in breaking past bad habits.

Each teacher has their own unique teaching style. Some focus more on technical aspects and work on one piece at a time, while others encourage exploring creativity with multiple songs. It’s important to find a clarinet teacher whose style matches your learning goals and interests.

How to find an exceptional clarinet teacher - Lesson with you clarinet lessons

Review the teacher's educational background

Degree Requirements

Ideally, you’ll want a clarinet teacher who has at least a Bachelor’s degree in clarinet performance. And try to find an instructor who has at least two years of experience performing live and touring, as this can be a great indicator of their skill level as a musician. Here are some questions you might want to ask about their qualifications:
  • Are you majored in clarinet or other studies?
  • Do you have at least a Bachelor’s degree in clarinet?
  • Did you take any courses in composition, music education, music theory or music history?
For Parents: If you’re looking for a clarinet teacher for your child, you can also look for someone who majored in music education with a focus in clarinet. These teachers can teach basic skills like reading music, theory and general foundation of clarinet playing. When your child is ready to advance, possibly within a year or so, we recommend you to start thinking about switching to an instructor with advanced degrees in clarinet.

Performing Experience

As you search for the ideal clarinet teacher, it’s helpful to see if they shared any performance accomplishments. This includes live performing, touring with US and international musicians and orchestras. You can visit their professional website and read their bio to gather more information. If they’ve posted any live performance recordings, take some time to watch and listen.

When evaluating a clarinet teacher, look for descriptions of their experience performing in woodwind ensembles, orchestras, or competitions. These achievements can give you insight into their passion and expertise in the clarinet.

Teaching Experience in Clarinet

Your ideal clarinet instructor should have at least three years of teaching experience. Qualified clarinet teachers will almost certainly teach a solid foundation and a variety of styles such as Classical, Pop, and Contemporary.

While some teachers may offer lessons in other woodwind instruments like clarinet or saxophone, it’s usually best to choose a clarinet teacher who specializes exclusively in the clarinet. This demonstrates their dedication and expertise in the instrument.

Background Check

Not every music teacher lists this online, but you should check if the potential clarinet teacher has done and passed a comprehensive background check, especially if the lesson is for your child. Some online clarinet lesson websites, such as Lesson With You, offer free trial lessons with expert  instructors who are fully background checked.

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Questions to ask when contacting a clarinet teacher

About the lessons

  • How much does each lesson cost?
  • Which payment method do you prefer?
  • Is there a cancellation policy? If so, are there any fees?
  • Can I reschedule lessons?
  • Do you offer weekly lessons or package?
  • Is there a family discount available?

About the curriculum

Once you’re done with narrowing down a number of potential clarinet teachers, the next step is to talk with them. Here are some recommendations for questions to ask:

  • How many students do you teach? What ages and levels?
  • How do you create a lesson plan? Is the curriculum customized?
  • Do you expect your students to participate in recital, jury or competition? 
  • What are your practice expectations for beginners and advanced students?
  • Do you use any clarinet method books? If not, what music will the student work on?
  • How to do motivate students to practice and improve?
  • Do you give daily or weekly assignments?

Take a trial lesson first

When you reach out to the potential clarinet teachers, make sure to ask if they offer a trial lesson. Taking a trial lesson will give you fresh insights on a couple of things:

  • Does the teacher speak clearly and ask appropriate questions to the student? How does the teacher respond to the answers the student provided and vice versa?

  • How does the teacher initiate and lead the lesson? Is the lesson engaging and fun? How frequent does the teacher play clarinet and show the techniques to the student?

  • What’s the teacher like? Happy, quiet or rather moody? Is the teacher likeable?

  • How often does the teacher give feedback? Does the teacher pay enough attention to detail and correct the student? Also check how the student responds to the compliment and criticism.

  • How does the lesson end? When the instructor gives assignments or homework, does the student leave the lesson clear on what to work on next?
How to find an exceptional clarinet teacher - Lesson with you clarinet lessons

How to choose a right clarinet teacher after a trial

Choosing the right clarinet teacher is a big decision, so it’s important to take your time and really think about what you’re looking for. There are a few other things you might want to consider before making your final decision.

Lesson Costs

According to our recent clarinet lesson cost guide, the average cost for a half hour clarinet lesson is $35. Live online lessons using video chats typically charge between $25-35 for a half hour lesson. Local private lessons averages $40 per half hour lesson, while in-person group lessons can cost $20 per half hour.

Clarinet teachers without music degrees will charge as little as $35 an hour, and professional  teachers with advanced degrees in clarinet charge between $60-$80 per hour lesson.

Flexible Scheduling

We recommend you to find a clarinet teacher who offers a flexible schedule that works for you and your child! While it’s not ideal for teachers or students to cancel and reschedule lessons too often, it’s reassuring to know that your teacher has a rescheduling option available without any extra fees.

Lesson Reviews

When searching for a clarinet teacher online or in-person, you should always check and read their lesson reviews. If you’re particularly looking for a live online lesson, you will notice the reviews left in the teacher profile. If 8 or 9 out of 10 reviews are positive, that means the teacher is great and able to teach a high-quality clarinet lesson. 

If you want to get local in-person lesson recommendations, you can ask friends, neighbors or even find a clarinet teacher online and ask if they offer lessons in person. 

Long-term Commitment

Not many clarinet lesson instructors require long term commitment or contracts these days, but you’d still want to make sure if there’s a contract required before setting up the first lesson. It’s also recommended for students to check the type of payment the teacher prefers and when to send the payment.

Need help with finding a clarinet instructor?

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Rose Park

Rose Park is a graduate of the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University where she studied Piano Performance and Arts Administration, receiving both Bachelor's and Master's degrees before co-founding Lesson With You. As a pianist, Rose was a prizewinner in many international piano competitions and performed at various summer programs and festivals across the United States, Italy, and Japan.