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Clean Your Mouthpiece!

Back to school time is here! Time to get that clarinet out of the case.

When is the last time you cleaned your clarinet mouthpiece?

Here's the method I've been using for many years:

Pour 1 tablespoon of white vinegar in a glass

with about 2 inches of room temperature water. Put the mouthpiece in the glass, tip down. Do not submerge the cork. Let it soak for about 5 minutes and then rinse under the faucet with room temperature water. If there was any white build-up on the mouthpiece (this is calcium from your saliva), the vinegar will help to dissolve it.

Next, use a Q-Tip to clean the inside of the mouthpiece - carefully get into all the "nooks and crannies".

I highly recommend that you use this method of cleaning your mouthpiece once per week. Do NOT run the swab through the mouthpiece! This will change the inside dimensions of your mouthpiece over time.

What to do with a wet mouthpiece after you finish playing? (Again, do NOT run the swab through it.) Gently blow out the condensation by putting your mouth on the cork end and blowing through to the tip opening. (Please don't point it at anyone when you do this!) You can wipe off any remaining condensation with a tissue or soft cloth before putting it back in the case.

Did you know that your mouthpiece is made of a hard rubber? It's not plastic, and it may crack if you drop it.

Happy Clarinet-ing!

For more information on clarinet playing or to inquire about private lessons, please visit my web site or email me at

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