This is the first post of a series to introduce children to some of the instruments of the orchestra, starting with the woodwind family.

The clarinet is part of the woodwind family. You might think it looks a bit like a recorder. 

The clarinet is made from wood with metal keys. It can play over three octaves and there are typically two or four of them in one orchestra. The music is written in the treble clef.

To play the clarinet, it has a reed on the mouthpiece. The player must blow air through the instrument and move their fingers over the different holes to play different notes.

There are three other common types of clarinet, the 'E Flat Clarinet" which is very small with a higher sound, the 'A Clarinet' which is little larger than the regular clarinet and the 'bass clarinet' which is much bigger with a lower sound. 

The clarinet was used in the orchestra from the late 18th century onwards and Mozart featured it a lot in his symphonies and operas.

Activities to learn about the clarinet:

1) Watch and listen to this clip of the clarinet in Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf where the clarinet plays the theme of the Cat. Do you like it? How does it make you feel? 

2) Listen to this clip of the clarinet in Britten's piece The Young  Person's Guide to the Orchestra. The instrument is agile and can be played very fast.

3) Look up some pieces that feature the clarinet, such as Mozart's Clarinet Concerto.

4) Can you find out what the rest of the instruments are called in the woodwind family of the orchestra?