10 Things to keep in your case
New year means the start of another school year (in Australia at least), so I thought I’d share the essentials I keep in my clarinet case so you’re ready for whatever the year throws at you.
1. Spare reeds
Self-explanatory. In high-school I always had at least 3 reeds in my case, now I have 10 that have been broken in, as well as an unopened box haha. You never know when you’ll get a chip, it will start to die, or you need to help out a fellow clari player!
Laura’s go to: D’Addario Classic Reserves 3.5+
2. Cork grease.
I cringe when my students come to me with corks that are falling apart because they got extremely dried out. Save yourself the time and money of getting a re-cork. This will also make sure your tenons come apart smoothly, and is extremely important for new clarinets or mouthpieces.
Laura’s go to: La Tromba
Ever been in rehearsal and no-one in your section has a pencil, so you fake write something on the page when the conductor asks? Just be prepared. I usually keep at least 3 in my case.
During university I used a Korg electronic one, but now I just use apps on my phone. Whatever works for you, just make sure you have one ready for when you’re practicing a tricky passage, or if you need to be a tuning reference point.
Duh. If you have a wooden clarinet, try to keep it with you during rehearsals, and swab out fairly frequently.
Laura’s go to: Beaumont Music clarinet swab
One sheet of extremely fine sandpaper from your local hardware store will definitely get you through the whole year. Sandpaper is one of the easiest ways to adjust your reed. Place the sandpaper on a flat surface and run the flat side of your reed along it to make it a bit softer. If your reed is unbalanced, you can also take a small amount off one side of the reed on the top. Just work in very small amounts, and you don’t need to apply much pressure. This can also take away some fuzziness in the sound.
7. Alternate fingerings/trill chart
Sometimes you’ll come across trills that are extremely awkward, or you need to know how to play a note a million leger lines above the stave. Having a chart like this on hand can save your butt, and also help out your section.
Laura’s go to: 303 clarinet fingerings and 276 trills by Alan Sim
8. Microfiber cloth
If you have silver keys on your clarinet, you can look after them really easily and keep them looking brand new with a microfiber cloth. Just rub the cloth on your keys a few times to keep them looking extra shiny.
Laura’s go to: Beaumont Music Old Dog Cloth
9. Screw driver
Screws and rods can come undone pretty frequently on the clarinet. It’s not a big deal and can just be screwed back in place, but you’ll need a really tiny screwdriver. If you’re ever stuck without one you can use your fingernail, but that’s no fun!
10. Cigarette Paper
Not for smoking don’t worry haha! I use it for 2 things. If yiu get water in your tone holes (usually C# and Eb, put the paper under the pad to get the water out), and if your bottom lip starts to hurt, place 2 pieces on top of each other, then fold in half a few times and place the paper over your bottom teeth. If you’re under the legal age in your Country, you’ll need to get an adult to buy some for you.
There are plenty of other useful things you can keep in your case, but these are my most important things! Hope that helps!