A stock of a few Clarineos can transform music in a Primary school, doing wonders for school bands and ensembles.
Few children of Primary school age play the clarinet and, even then, it is rare to find children under 10 playing it. There is a number of reasons: the clarinet is too cumbersome for small hands, expensive to buy and costly to repair. Below 10, and often at that age, progress is painfully slow because the clarinet is simply too big to handle easily. Even if all these disadvantages are overcome, the B-flat clarinet (so called because it is pitched in the musical key of B-flat) cannot play from the same music as recorders and songs without having the notes specially transposed for it.
In contrast, the Clarineo can be played comfortably by children as young as 6 or7, repair costs are negligible and progress is fast.
Clarineos have been designed to withstand rough treatment. An accident that would put a standard clarinet out of action would usually leave the Clarineo unscathed or, at worst, needing a replacement key to return it to playing condition.
Children like the Clarineo because it sounds 'grown up' and they can play music they hear in the world outside. As they progress through the school, they can stay with the Clarineo or, when they become physically able to handle them, move on to any instrument.
The range of the Clarineo extends down to E below middle C (a semitone below the range of a bass recorder). This adds a new, attractive, deeper tone to Primary school ensembles. All Primary school musical instruments are pitched in the key of C, and so is the Clarineo. It can therefore read the music of violins, recorders, glockenspiels and songs straight off the page. If the music goes too high for the child's range, as might be the case with some advanced recorder music, all the teacher has to do is to write the musical passage out one octave lower. Thus if the original tune contained the notes E F# G then the notes' names are exactly the same. (For your interest, for those notes to sound the same on a B-flat clarinet they would have to be written as F# G# A.)
Would you consider learning and, later, teaching the Clarineo yourself? A 'First Steps' pack with a DVD, tutor book and CD helps non-music specialists learn and teach the Clarineo. Some top-up lessons from a local clarinet teacher would soon put you on your way
There is absolutely no doubt that the introduction of the Clarineo into any Primary school would increase interest in music and, hence, the overall standard of music in the school. If you, yourself, learned the Clarineo your pupils and school would benefit and (a useful side effect) so would your future job prospects
More children than not have at least had a go at the recorder. Those who show the most progress could move to a Clarineo. For a school to buy a stock of, say, 8 or 9 would not break the bank. Once the instruments are in the school quite a few children would be attracted to own them themselves.
The sound of a Clarineo is attractive to children. Its 'grown up', clarinet-like sound is suitable for musical styles such as folk, jazz and classical. You'll find children are keener to play Clarineos than recorders.
Play the tune solo or unison with voices (thus supporting the vocal line
Double the tune one octave lower than the recorders
Play parts written for violins, flutes, or voices
Provide harmony to the tune (the tone of a group of clarinets is particular suitable for this
Play a bass line (the lowest note is E below middle C)
Primary school orchestras have a preponderance of high-pitched instruments - recorders, smaller-sized violins and squeaky voices!. Clarineos in the school music ensemble would add a smooth, attractive, deeper sound to concerts and so increase the pleasure of both participants and audience.