Clarinet Right Hand Position
When first developing your hand position on the clarinet, the right hand is a good place to start because it supports the weight of the instrument.
1. Start by placing your thumb with the thumb rest. The place on your right thumb where the thumb rest sits affects the position of the rest of your fingers.
WRONG THUMB POSITION #1: If you place the thumb rest of your thumb, not only will it be hard to balance the clarinet but you may have to stretch your fingers to reach the tone holes.
WRONG THUMB POSITION #2: If your thumb is too far over as shown, your palm will be too close to the clarinet, so your fingers will cramped over the tone holes.
CORRECT RIGHT THUMB POSITION: Place the thumb rest between your nail and your knuckle. Your thumb should fit into the corner created by the thumb rest and the wood at a 45-degree angle.
2. Set your right pinky. If you start with your pinky, one of the more problematic fingers when it comes to keeping a natural curve, setting the other fingers will be easier. A good home position for this pinky when you're not using the other pinky keys is the F/C key. Aim the tip of your pinky for the tip of the key. This will help keep it curved.
Other than your pinky, your fingers should not touch any rods or keys that don't go with the note you're playing.
3. Then, set your middle three fingers on the tone holes. The fatty pads of your fingers contact the tone holes, not the very tips of your fingers. You can check for this by pressing your fingers into the tone holes and checking the circle-shaped marks on your fingers from the tone holes and rings.
Remember not to straighten/collapse your fingers!
Correct right hand position
The joints of your fingers should have a slight outward curve. Your right hand should be shaped like a flattened C and your fingers and pinky should be close to perpendicular to the clarinet. This perpendicular relationship to the clarinet will be different than that of the left hand.
Return to general clarinet hand position guidelines
Clarinet Left Hand Position Tips