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The Clarinéo in Primary schools

A stock of a few Clarinéos 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.

Tailor-made for Primary schools

In contrast, the Clarinéo can be played comfortably by children as young as 6 or7, repair costs are negligible and progress is fast.

Clarinéos have been designed to withstand rough treatment. An accident that would put a standard clarinet out of action would usually leave the Clarinéo unscathed or, at worst, needing a replacement key to return it to playing condition.

Children like the Clarinéo 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 Clarinéo or, when they become physically able to handle them, move on to any instrument.

The music it can play

The range of the Clarinéo 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 Clarinéo. 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.)

Are you a Primary school teacher?

Would you consider learning and, later, teaching the Clarinéo yourself? A 'First Steps' pack with a DVD, tutor book and CD helps non-music specialists learn and teach the Clarinéo. 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 Clarinéo into any Primary school would increase interest in music and, hence, the overall standard of music in the school. If you, yourself, learned the Clarinéo your pupils and school would benefit and (a useful side effect) so would your future job prospects

Recorders to Clarinets

More children than not have at least had a go at the recorder. Those who show the most progress could move to a Clarinéo. 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 Clarinéo 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 Clarinéos than recorders.

Musical uses of the Clarinéo in the Primary school ensemble

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)

The school concert

Primary school orchestras have a preponderance of high-pitched instruments - recorders, smaller-sized violins and squeaky voices!. Clarinéos in the school music ensemble would add a smooth, attractive, deeper sound to concerts and so increase the pleasure of both participants and audience.