TAKE NOTE BEGINNER CLARINET! – Fun with Fundamental Skills
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TAKE NOTE BEGINNER CLARINET! – Fun with Fundamental Skills

4.7 (5 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
141 students enrolled
Created by Maggie Gray
Last updated 7/2016
Current price: $10 Original price: $35 Discount: 71% off
5 hours left at this price!
30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
  • 4.5 hours on-demand video
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • BECOME TECHNICALLY PROFICIENT – handle your clarinet with ease and comfort.
  • PRODUCE A FLUID CENTRED SOUND – use a well-formed embouchure and controlled breathing skills.
  • BECOME MUSICALLY LITERATE – Read music with understanding and confidence
  • Master all those fundamental skill required to secure a fantastic start to your adventure, and MORE IMPORTANTLY, your playing will be full of energy as you bring your music to life with a feeling for the pulse. If you have always believed that you were not musical – think again! If you have felt reading music is like a reading foreign language – you're going to be pleasantly surprised how easy it is.
View Curriculum
  • No previous knowledge is required.
  • All students require a Clarinet, pitched in Bb, some reeds strength one and a half and a mirror .

This course is an actual DOING course. You are required to TAKE ACTION and have fun every step of the way!

You will learn all those practical skills of playing, which fulfil the expectations of most beginners. However, the teaching goes to a deeper level as it subliminally installs the much more important concepts of musicianship – the listening skills, the rhythm and pulse, the natural phrasing and the flow of the music. The student sees the new skill set as a vehicle for artistic expression and creativity from the very start.

Originally, the material was designed for young beginners and their supportive parents. However the DVD version, which has been on the market since the beginning of 2015, has also been hugely popular with adult beginners who appreciate how the simplicity of the presentation adds up to a solid technique through which to express the music.

Designed for ease of manageability and the avoidance of problems, the series of simple steps in  "Take Note Beginner Clarinet" will provide constant enjoyment, and you will feel a sense of achievement as you progress from level to level.

Use this material as: 

  • A Series of Lessons for the complete beginner.
  • A Reference Guide for later on in your musical journey.
  • A Problem Solver if you have a challenge.

The course comfortably niches all the relevant material from the first months of lessons into one product.  Used as a series of lessons, a beginner can take anywhere from 3-6 months to complete the content. During section 8, students are told to pause the material, and use supplementary exercises to strengthen their embouchure muscles and current reading ability before moving on to the next stage – it is important to allow the playing to evolve. There is an emphasis on measuring progress, not by the number of notes learnt or the number of tunes played, but by the quality of the tone produced and by the ease of the execution of that sound.

The terminology of the notation is both American and English. Literacy skills are taught with the note values from Whole Tone/Semibreves through to Eighth Note/Quavers. The notes studied are the natural ones from low F, below the stave (in the low/chalumeaux register), to A in the throat register, plus Throat Bb, F sharp on the first space and low Bb.


  • 12 easy to follow sections
  • Troubleshooting tips to solve challenges
  • Progressive play-along tunes
  • Interactive split screen tuition with moving graphics
  • Fun quizzes to test knowledge
  • Recap sections for quick revision
  • Essential advice for practise time

Offering hours of fun and variety, the material is delivered as audio-visual instructions by Maggie Gray – your teacher on tap providing you with all the facts at hand, and the answers at your fingertips!

Grateful thanks are expressed to...

Caroline Scott  – Producer and Editor.

Bill Worrall – Composition and Recording of the Accompaniments.

James Iaciafano of "Bananajims" – Character design of "Anthony the Ant".

Debbie Roe – Photography

Who is the target audience?
  • AN ADULT who wishes to self-teach or supplement lessons.
  • A YOUNG BEGINNER – you will understand the simple steps on your own.
  • A PARENT WITH A STRUGGLING CHILD – you will be able to identify and solve those normal challenges your child has at home. This course bridges that vulnerable gap between the lessons, when the teacher is not present.
  • ANY CLARINET PLAYER wishing to improve their core skill set and raise the standard of playing.
Compare to Other Clarinet Courses
Curriculum For This Course
43 Lectures
Introduction To The Course
2 Lectures 11:57

A big "Hello" to Beginners showing all the fun stuff to come, and an explanation why it's important to do all the exercises along the way.

Preview 05:06

An introduction to the whole course. Using the material as a Series of Lessons, a Reference Guide, and a Problem Solver. How a parent can support a child and what to expect. Attitudes to practising and its importance.

Welcome to Parents
Getting Started – Focus on the Clarinet
2 Lectures 13:32

Examine both the robust and delicate parts of the instrument and appreciate why its important to handle it in a specific way.

Asssembly and Clarinet Care

Pick your wits against the countdown clock – have fun!

QUIZ– Assembly and Clarinet Care
Preparing to Play – Focus on You
7 Lectures 26:57

Learn to keep a natural body shape as you sit or stand to inhale the air correctly. Imagine the shape of the column of air as you push it through the instrument to make the best sound in town.

Posture and Breathing

How the position of the neckpiece and the length of the sling will enhance your playing experience considerably.,

Using the Sling.

Instil good habits of natural hand and arm positions before you play. Make playing feel comfortable and avoid discomfort.

Great Hand Positions – For ease and comfort.

How to angle the clarinet to help produce an open, round sound.

Clarinet Angle

Learn how to use the Music Stand to your best advantage so it doesn't affect the way you make the sound. Practice assembling the stand and avoid bending it.

The Music Stand

Revise this section frequently until all the body positions become habitual – get the most out of your playing experience.

RECAP – Preparing to Play – for reference in the future

Can you shout out 6 correct answers? We're just checking you have been listening!

QUIZ - Preparing to play
Producing the Sound – THE BEST Sound in Town!
5 Lectures 32:40

Learn about the muscles of the mouth, and how to put the mouth and teeth around the mouthpiece to make the sound easily. Learn to make the sound in a few short steps, then slowly follow a series of mini exercises to ensure you breathe in through the mouth correctly (the nose is never involved in playing) and tongue the reed correctly. You will need to use a mirror at head height to make sure you learn each small step correctly. Take plenty of time with this exercise. 

Embouchure and Tonguing

Learn exactly what to do if the sound doesn't come out as you want. Learn to make sound production comfortable and easy. Learn what to do if you have a wobbly lip or you look like a frog.  

Embouchure Challenges – Whoops! Things not working?

Get into the daily habit of improving your sound control and quality with this simple exercise. Develop your listening skills at this early stage by asking the right questions about the sound you are making.

Long Note Exercises – Make the Purest, Sweetest, Open, Round Sound

The muscles of the mouth have not been used in this way before so can not be expected to have good "muscle memory" yet – revise these important principles frequently to ensure good embouchure habits and avoid practising in any unhelpful habits that may impair your playing in the future.

RECAP - Producing the Sound – Revise till Habitual.

Time for the quiz – how many questions can you get right?

Preview 02:03
READING in the First Stages – A Piece of Cake!
4 Lectures 17:20

Appreciate how learning to read is going to be simple. Learn the lengths of the notes in both American and English terminology. Learn the rest values and where they are written on the stave.

Note and Rest Values

Become familiar with the stave. Learn the names of the notes within the stave and a rhyme and a word to help you identify the name of each note. Understand the concept of how the pitch of the note rises the further up the stave it is placed.

Notation on the stave

Learn to be "pulse aware" from the outset to bring your playing alive.


FEEL the pulse then THINK/count the rhythms of the written music to the pulse you FEEL. You will be surprised how easy this is.  

Counting time
PLAYING in the First Stages
6 Lectures 28:29

Learn New Note "E". LISTEN to how the note sounds, SEE where the note is written on the Stave and FEEL the fingers on the Clarinet as you play "E".

Play along with Bill Worrall's fabulous accompaniment and follow the music on the stave as you play.

New Note "E" – Play "Easy Peasy Forever"

New Note "D"

FEEL the note, SEE the note, HEAR the note.

Play "Swing with D"

Preview 03:29

Learn New Note "C"

Play along with the accompaniment and count as you go. Follow the indicators as the notes move along.

New Note "C" – Play "March With C"

The notes C,D, and E are combined in "Smoothly Please" . Play along with the accompaniment and see the fingerings as you follow the movement of the notes.

Play "Smoothly Please"

"Remember to RECAP regularly" – keep your skill sets and knowledge refreshed.

RECAP - Playing in the First Stages

Shout out the right answer before the clock counts down! Can you score 6 points?

QUIZ - Reading and Playing in the First Stages – Shout out the Answers!
READING in the Next Stages
4 Lectures 19:01


  • The most common musical signs and some more detailed instructions that make the music much more interesting


  • Dynamic markings, speed words, repeat marks and slur signs.
Signs, Words and Slurs


  • What a quaver/eighth note is
  • How to recognise the quaver/eighth note rest
  • How to count quaver/eighth rhythms to the pulse you are feeling.
Let's Learn Quavers/Eighth Notes


  • How to interpret the Time Signature.
  • The meaning of both the upper and lower figure of the time signature
Decoding Time Signatures

Understand the meaning of the flats and sharp signs at the beginning of the lines of music and how they affect the pitch of the written notes.

Key Signatures
PLAYING in the Next Stages – Learn NEW NOTES
9 Lectures 01:25:48

This huge section – apart from being for your FUN, ENJOYMENT AND ENTERTAINMENT has THREE MAJOR OBJECTIVES

1) To teach a SYSTEM OF READING MUSIC, enabling you to BECOME MUSICALLY LITERATE forever.

2) To teach the awareness and importance of PLAYING WITH A PULSE and BRINGING THE MUSIC TO LIFE

3) To teach the RANGE OF NATURAL NOTES in the chalumeaux and throat registers of the clarinet  plus low and throat Bb and F# (first space).

This chapter:

  • Makes sure you are comfortable with the technical handling of each new note.
  • Develops strong Sound Production Skills.
  • Teaches articulation – you will understand where to tongue and slur.
  • Exercises Dynamics, Time Signatures and recognition of "Key." 
  • Teaches various types of Repeat markings.

Each section is a unit on its own, introduces either one or two notes and is a progression on the previous section. Read about the Specific Teaching Point of each section before you start it, then give it your focused attention.
The above musical concepts are introduced gradually building up a comprehensive and robust skill set towards the end of the chapter.
You are encouraged to feel the pulse before you play, and count yourself in – developing a sense of setting the speed of the piece and establishing the pulse. There are two accompaniments to all the tunes. For your initial support,the first accompaniment incorporates the melody that you will play along with then the next accompaniment allows you to play the melody on your own and feel a more soloistic experience.

Take your time with this chapter. Measure progress, not by the number of notes known or the number of tunes played but the quality of your sound and how ease at which you get your sound.There are specific instructions throughout where to pause the recording and exercise your newly acquired skill set before moving on.

You are encouraged throughout to SEE HEAR FEEL. Link up your senses and make your playing a sensory experience full of life and energy right from the very start.Rather than just thinking "This note's an "E" or "This note's a "G" ...................  ASSOCIATE YOUR SENSES!!!

  • SEE THE NOTE – Memorise the position of the note on the Stave
  • HEAR THE NOTE – Get into the habit of listening to the quality of your sound and always producing the best quality of tone you can.
  • FEEL THE NOTE – Give focus and attention to how your hands feel on the instrument when you play the note
How to use this chapter – READ THIS PLEASE!

Learn New Notes "F" and "G" (throat register)

Play along to the accompaniment of "F&G Swing"

Teaching points:

  • How to support the instrument having few fingers on the clarinet.
  • Become aware of 4 bar phrases and breathing with the 4 bar phrases.

Play along to the accompaniment of "Jingle Bells"

Teaching points:

  • Learn Repeats using First and Second Time Bars
  • Exercise easy transition and hand movements between the notes "C" and "F"
New Notes "F" and "G" – Play "F&G Swing", "Jingle Bells"

Learn New Notes "A" and "Bb"

Play along to the accompaniments of "Rocking A&Bb"

Teaching Points:

  • Learn to balance the instrument whilst playing the throat register notes.
  •  Recognise the key signature of "F Major" and play in that key.

Play "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" Play with the accompaniment.

Teaching Points:

  • Learn Crotchet Rests.and exercise Quarter note/Crotchet Rests
  • Use Dynamics – levels of louds and softs
New Notes "A" and "Bb" – Play "Rocking A&Bb" "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star"

Learn New Notes Low "A" and "B" 

Play "A Minor Creepy Song"

Teaching Points:

  • Learn how to Slur on the Clarinet.
  • Using dynamics to add interest and vary the energy of a piece.
  • How to achieve the loud's and soft's by controlling the air differently.

New Notes Low "B" and "A" – Play "A Minor Creepy Song"

Learn New Note Low "G"

Play "Low Low Down" and play along to the accompaniment

Teaching Points:

  • Learn techniques to get the low clarinet notes every time.
  • Focus on good hand and finger positions for the right hand as well as the left – to secure a good technique for the future.
  • Develop strong breath control for the bottom of the instrument.

Play "Running Quavers"

Teaching Points:

  • Learn  4/4 time
  • Exercise slurring.
  • Learn to count Quaver/eighth note rhythms.

New Note Low "G" – Play "Low Low Down"

Learn New Note Fsharp . 

Play "Quavers/Quarter Notes in G"

Teaching Points:

  • Combine the musical elements of 4/4 time, the key of G Major, tonguing, repeats and varied dynamics.
  • Become fluent reading Quaver/Quarter Note rhythms
  • How to achieve a crescendo
  • Learn the speed word "Moderato"
New Note F# - Play "Quavers in G" (Quarter Notes)

Learn New Note Low "Bb"

Play "F Major in 3"

Teaching Points:

  • Combine the musical elements of 3/4 time, the key of F Major, slurring, repeats using first and second-time bars.
New Note Low "Bb" – Play "F Major in 3"

Use this chapter in the future to revise all the essential points to keep your knowledge, technique, and quality of sound on track.

RECAP – Reading and Playing in the Next Stages

Can you get all the answers right? There's a countdown clock so you better be quick! 

QUIZ - Reading and Playing in the Next Stages
Scales and Arpeggios
1 Lecture 03:38

Start to learn finger patterns, strengthen your technique and learn...

  • What are scales and arpeggios and how they are constructed?
  • The importance of learning them rhythmically and on a pulse.
  • How to play the scales and arpeggios of G Major, F Major, A Minor and their related arpeggios.
Preview 03:38
Troubleshooting – Answers and Solutions at hand
1 Lecture 08:05

Discover the solutions to those usual challenges that are encountered by beginners...

  • Squeaking like a Mouse?
  • Sound not coming out?
  • Sounding like a Frying Pan?
  • Got a Stiff Neck?
  • Got a Sore Thumb?
  • Just not sounding right?
  • Clarinet wobbling in your mouth?

Solutions and Answers – just incase you get stuck!
2 More Sections
About the Instructor
Maggie Gray
4.9 Average rating
37 Reviews
1,060 Students
2 Courses
Professional Performer, Teacher, Take Note Music Ltd.

Maggie Gray is a member of The Royal Society of Musicians of Great Britain. She has had an extensive career as a professional musician, working in television, radio and London's West End Theatre Orchestras, both as a woodwind player and Musical Director. Maggie trained at Trinity College of Music, London, and Reading University. She is an experienced teacher at primary, secondary and professional levels.

"Maggie’s teaching style is fun fun fun! A great teacher who knows her stuff and inspires her students. Learning with Maggie was so enjoyable. She’s a genuinely knowledgeable educationalist, with a sense of humour and a wealth of professional experience.” Anthony Strong, 

Welcome to the "Take Note Beginner Courses" Allow me to tell you how they evolved. 

My career has fallen into two stages. For the first 25 years, I played professionally, full time with a small amount of teaching then I qualified as a middle school music specialist at Reading University and my passion became teaching instruments. Combining a professional playing perspective with extensive teaching experience has enabled me to create a system of learning that has fantastic results with students of all ages.

I believe that all students have the ability to play. I never audition to establish talent because many beginners, after a challenged start, can blossom into accomplished musicians. With the right guidance, I believe all students can reach a good standard for themselves and thoroughly enjoy the process too. 

As a child, my experience was typical of so many beginners. I could so easily have given up when the usual challenges arose. Had it not been for a supportive teacher and a smart Dad, who insisted that I follow through, I could so easily have missed out on the fabulous career I've enjoyed. After what seemed like a long, arduous start  I felt comfortable, fell in love with playing and there was no stopping me.  

I honestly believe that playing a musical instrument is one of the best things a student can do. The procedure of learning can be made easy and pleasurable through the whole musical journey. As well as being endless fun there are so many other benefits – the developed confidence, the enhanced motor skills, the sympathetic musical ear – are all life-enhancing - and life-lasting too.

As I know what it feels like to struggle a beginner, it has always been my mission to make each pupils' experience as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. There is simply no reason to struggle at any stage of playing. Over the years, I have welcomed parents into the occasional lesson and encouraged them to know a little of what their child is doing as the child always blossoms with a small amount of home support. Parents feel distressed seeing their young child struggle at home and they often feel helpless about what to do. They hold the myth that they are "not musical" and believe that they can not be of support. Suddenly it hit me that I had to create a resource for parents and children for the beginning stages of learning.It was such a radical idea because nothing like this existed out there.

Frequently young beginners forget some of what the teacher has said and will spend the week before the next lesson practising in mistakes and setting in problems and disillusionment. As a professional I know – the challenges at the beginning are always about the technical handling of the instrument – never about "being musical" A supportive parent can be one of the most valuable assets a child can have. Just by knowing simple facts a parent can merely prompt a child here and there preventing mistakes and unhelpful habits practised in over and over again. In turn, this keeps the progress, the motivation and energy high and the child's' experience transforms.

Without the right guidance, any beginner will struggle. The problem solving "Take Note Beginner Clarinet" courses were born in 2015 and until recently have only been available in DVD format. They have been welcomed to great acclaim, not only by young beginners and parents but by also by adult players who wish to either self-teach or supplement their lessons. As well as being a series of lessons "Take Note Beginner Clarinet" is used as a reference guide to fundamental skills, providing solutions and answers on demand when you have a challenge with any aspect of your playing. Being audiovisual this is like having a teacher in your living room – but at a fraction of the cost. Having the answers on tap gives you the peace of mind you are on track to a superb and secure start to your playing experience.