" Klezmer is an interpretation of art and life based not solely on Jewish folklore, but rather on a cosmopolitan divergence of musical genres" Giora Feidman 

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Breaking in a new clarinet

 

How to perform a successful clarinet breaking in and avoid wood cracking

You became the proud owner of a brand new grenadilla clarinet and you are eager to play and test your new instrument. However there are some rules which must be applied.

The wood is a noble, organic living material and it must be treated with care and respect. The wood respond to different environmental, climatic and atmospheric conditions. It can swell as water sorption happens and it can shrink as it dries up and lose water. Breaking in your clarinet will help the wood to handle those variations and to adapt gradually. The fact is that the loss of water is much slower that its uptake.

So, if you play with your brand new instrument for long and non spaced sessions, the wood will absorb a great amount of water without having the possibility to desorb it, thus swelling quickly and dangerously.
This is why it is very important to breaking in. It allows the wood to adapt slowly to the increased amount of sorbed water and avoid the stress due to quick swelling.

The basic rules for a successful breaking in are:

  • First allow the clarinet to warm up at room temperature, never play a cold instrument out of the case.  

  • For the first week no more than 15 minutes playing a day. 

  • For the second week you can play two session of 15 minutes each day (morning/evening) or if you cannot play twice a day increase the playing time gradually ( by 5 minutes more daily). 

  • Then play everyday increasing the playing duration and enjoy! 

  • Don't forget to thoroughly swab your clarinet after each playing session. 


  • These rules of breaking in apply to a new instrument and to an instrument which has been stored for a long period of time.

    Anyway, cracking is dreadful, but it is not the end of the world. A good clarinet repairman can do miracles. If you have the slightest doubt about wood cracking, don't procrastinate and drop by your local woodwind workshop.


 

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Giora Feidman
"We have one Torah, one shofar, one flag, and the expression of all that is the nigun, any nigun. It's not a song, it's an energy which results from an interpretation of the faith."

 

 

 

"Long live Giora, his clarinet and his music! He builds bridges between generations, cultures and classes, and he does it with perfect artistry!" Leonard Bernstein