Help this beginner clarinetist cross the break

I started playing clarinet… um… yesterday. I have a used Bundy-Selmer B-flat clarinet and a new Clark Fobes Debut mouthpiece. I’m using the double lip embouchure (so much easier than single) and 1.5 Vandoren reeds.

I cannot, with any regularity, play a C on the staff. When I do get one to come out, it sounds great. But most of the time it’s like I hit that register key from a low E and I’m blowing into a blocked tube. No air goes in at all.

I’m good with all the lower register notes from low E to B-flat on the staff. It’s that darned C that eludes me. Once I get to the C, the higher notes are cake. I’m learning this really quickly, so this one note is my first real stumbling block.

I’m a brass player by training, so it’s hard for me to keep my embouchure the same when going for the high notes. I WANT to tighten up… it’s ingrained. I took lessons for trumpet, but am teaching myself the clarinet.

Also, my right thumb is killing me. Neck strap or padded thumb rest?

Thanks in advance.

Don’t bother with a neck strap. I’ve never even seen anyone use one on the clarinet. Your thumb will get used to it; it’s not THAT heavy.

As for the C thing, it took me a while to get over the break too. Its a matter of developing your mouth muscles enough to reliably hit it. It’s ok to tighten up a little bit. Practice.

Yeah, neck straps aren’t much use for B-flat clarinets. They’re more useful if you’re playing an alto or larger. Those suckers are pretty heavy. You can try a padded thumb rest, but you’ll get a callous anyway, and your thumb’s going to be sore at first.

As for crossing the break, you’re just going to have to work up your embouchure. It’s only the second day you’ve been playing – it’s not all going to come at once.

It’s OK to tighten up your embouchure a little when you go up the scale, but it’s different from trumpet. With trumpet*you pull back the corners of your mouth, but with clarinet it’s more like frowning. At least, it is if you single lip it, which is what I use. I don’t know if double lips change that aspect; I could never get a good enough seal on the mouthpiece with two lips.

[sub]*I’m going to admit that I don’t play trumpet, but attempted to learn baritone in high school. It wasn’t pretty.[/sub]