Clarinet Lessons

Parent Q&A

Seeking a clarinet tutor for 10 year old beginner Sep 7, 2019 (1 responses below)
Clarinet Teacher for Individual Instruction Oct 10, 2017 (3 responses below)
  • Seeking a beginning clarinet tutor for my 10 year old son for a thirty minute, weekly lesson. High school or college student musician okay.  He just needs someone to review the basics with him.  We can host at our northwest Berkeley home or travel to nearby location. 

    My son started lessons with Morgan Nilsen at about that age (he’s 13 now), and I could not recommend her more highly.  She’s patient, positive, fun, and incredibly talented.  She’s helped my son develop a love of playing, confidence, and, of course, skill! (he was 3rd chair at his first ever Cazadero Music Camp this summer).  Morgan is sometimes able to come to us, but also had a lovely teaching studio at her home off Redwood Road/35th Avenue in Oakland.  You can reach Morgan by phone at 415-603-9596 or e-mail at RedwoodHeightsMusicStudio [at]

    As an added bonus, Morgan is a working musician, and the bands she plays with (including Inspector Gadje, La Misa Negra, and Balkan Bump), illustrate some of the breadth and depth clarinet (and saxophone) can be used for, which I think also inspires my son to keep playing and learning.  She’s someone he really looks up to, and thinks is “cool”.  I agree!

    Good luck in your search!

  • Clarinet Teacher for Individual Instruction

    (3 replies)

    Hi - archives are from 2013, so thought I'd check for new recommendations for a music teacher who can teach beginning clarinet as a weekly one-on-one to my 9 year old, supplementing the school group lesson. Ideally this person is not necessarily just a clarinetist, as my son may switch instruments as needed for school band, and I have a little potential flautist coming along soon too. The school group lessons are actually just fine for the basics, but he's not getting any individual feedback due to the limitations of time/space there. Prefer Berkeley north. Thank you!

    My daughter, now in 8th grade, has been taking clarinet lessons from Nora Adachi for about a year and a half.  Nora is gentle, kind and encouraging, and she focuses a lot on proper mouth and finger position and technique, as well as a variety of music.  Lessons with Nora have been a good complement to the elementary-school group lessons and the middle-school band.  We live in North Berkeley and Nora's on Potrero Avenue in El Cerrito; it takes us 10-15 minutes each way.

    Rachel Condry is absolutely terrific!

    Her studio is in Emeryville but definitely worth the trip.

    Carolyn Walter is a wonderful and engaging instructor who certainly teaches clarinet, and I'm not sure which other instruments.  She comes to our house for lessons.  (707) 290-5387, or bluesette [at]

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Open-minded clarinet teacher for 10 year old?

Sept 2014

We are looking for a clarinet teacher for our 10 year old. She had a not-so-great experience as a 5 year- old learning Suzuki violin. She has taken 1 year of clarinet, and now we've moved back to Berkeley. We think she needs a person who is strong on technique yet teaches playfully. For example, our daughter figured out how to play a Beatles song (When I'm 64) on the clarinet all on her own, and takes pride in that. We want a teacher who can take it from there, work with her to do what she wants to do. Any ideas? Thank you very much! Dor

Rachel Condry is an excellent clarinet teacher. Our 12 year old son has taken lessons with Rachel for 3 years, and she has introduced him to a broad repertoire while always willing to go with his ideas as well. Her e-mail is raemen [at] and her website is Carina

Clarinet Lessons for 12 Year Old Boy

March 2013

We just moved into the area and are looking for many things really, but right now we need a clarinet teacher for our son. He needs to start at the beginning - hasn't played in a year. Any recommendations in Oakland or Berkeley? New to Area

I highly recommend Rachel Condry. Our 11 year old son has taken lessons with her for a few years and likes her a lot. She teaches in Berkeley and Emeryville. You can reach her at raemen [at] Carina

Rachel Condry is the clarinet woman you need! She can be reached at 415-577-7224 and teaches in Emeryville and Berkeley. She's fantastic with middle-schoolers, has many years of teaching experience, is an inspiring player and performer, and she attended Oberlin for her undergrad. and Mills for her grad. degree. Rachel has that perfect blend of warmth and professionalism; kids love her. -Windy Mommy

We and our 6th grade son are so happy with local musician & mathematician Will Norman. My son has made great strides in learning clarinet under his tutelage. Will is a patient and collaborative teacher. He nurtures my son's enjoyment of playing, while also teaching him to read music & the elements of music theory. My son requested to learn jazz, so that is the direction Will is taking, but he is classically trained. He teaches composition, and many other instruments (flute, sax, piano, guitar, etc.) as well. His email is: wnorman27 [at] & his cell: 925-457-2538 Kimberly

Clarinet teacher for our son

Dec 2012

We are looking for individual lessons for our son and hopefully clinics or some kind of performance-based experience for him. This year, he hasn't been able to take part in school band do to a scheduling conflict. but, he loves playing clarinet, he owns his very own, and he was in Cazedero music camp this summer for 2 weeks. just when he was showing real genuine interest, we were stopped in our tracks. He couldnt join band through his school due to scheduling conflicts. It's frustrating, but now, we have the time and space to provide private lessons. it's pretty important to us at our son have the opportunity to play with other musicians his age or older. Any recoendatons are greatly appreciated.:: molly

Rachel Condry is an amazing clarinet teacher and player: 415-577-7224 She lives in Oakland and teaches there as well as in some other East Bay locations and San Francisco. Rachel is warm, enthusiastic and wonderfully talented at getting the very best from her students. I know she teaches all ages, but I think she especially enjoys working with middle and high schoolers. I know some of her students have won awards and play in ensembles including top youth orchestras. Sarah

Lynne Funkhouser in San Francisco. Honestly one of the best Clarinet teachers out there. Got me through some tough auditions 15 years ago and continued to work with me for several years. EM

I would highly recommend Winds Across the Bay: My middle-schooler started with the low-stress, no-audition summer program and enjoyed it so much that he auditioned for the regular school year group. It is a community band for mostly middle- plus some high- schoolers and rehearses at De Anza High School on Tuesday evenings. The director is really great. I found out about it thru BPN! Another 12 yo band parent

Clarinet teacher for beginner adult

March 2012

I am looking for a beginning clarinet teacher in North Berkeley for an adult. Any leads would be welcome!

Rachel Condry in a wonderful teacher and an experienced professional clarinetist. She accepts both children and adults and teaches in Emeryville. Rachel Condry: raemen [at]

Clarinet teacher- 10yo wants to learn Jewish songs

Jan 2011

Hi- My ten year old daughter wants to begin Clarinet lessons. We are looking for a kind, fun, and patient woman teacher who is good with beginners and who can focus on Jewish songs. Thanks Mom of aspiring clarinetist

Hello, If your daughter is just starting out on clarinet, it is really important to first learn the basics and then move to fun Jewish songs. I would recommend Adrienne Ricardo. She is a music teacher that specializes in teaching music to children your child's age. You can reach her at aricardo [at] anon

Clarinet teacher for intermediate & Beginner

Oct 2009

The reviews for Saxophone and Clarinet teachers are a few years old. We are looking for a clarinet teacher for my daughter who is intermediate level and a saxophone teacher for my son who is just beginning. Does anyone have a recommendation? We are in Oakland Hills - but are willing to travel if the teacher can do both and is good. Thanks Terese

I highly recommend Rachel Condry for clarinet lessons. She is a colleague of mine and has been teaching and performing professionally for years. She is great with kids. She lives in Emeryville. raecondry [at] 415-577-7224 Sarah

Clarinet teacher for 12 year old

Sept 2008

Can anyone recommend a clarinet teacher for a 12 year old? j

My boy Sam (12) studies with Ian (pronounced like ''yawn'') Willson in Albany. He's been with Ian for several years, and my daughter also studied with him. Ian also teaches flute, sax, and general theory/ear training. A great resource! Call him at 418-8268.

Clarinet teacher who works with adults

Feb 2005

I recently dusted off my clarinet after a very long hiatus and am now considering taking lessons. The archives include only a few recommendations for clarinet teachers so I'm wondering if there are any additional recommendations available regarding instructors who work with adults. I would prefer an instructor located in Berkeley or very close by to minimize travel time. My past repertoire has been exclusively classical-oriented and I continue to lean in this direction. Thanks. Amy

I was in the same boat (actually, the next boat over) when I decided to pick up the saxophone again after 25 (!) years. Fortunately, a friend doing much the same thing told me about Alan Pollack. I have been taking lessons from Alan for almost two years, and cannot recommend him too highly. I'm having a lot of fun, and getting really good training ... I may even be proficient before my kids grow up.

I know that Alan also teaches clarinet -- in fact, I think it was his first instrument. My orientation is mostly to jazz, but even so, he stresses a fair amount of classical work to develop technique. I assume that if you wanted to study mostly classical, he'd be glad to oblige. I know that he conducts classical orchestras, and some opera. (In addition to teaching, he is the founding director of the Mendocino Music Festival, and is the conductor of an orchestra in Sacramento).

Alan is in Berkeley, on the Northside. His number is 528-7214. aj

I dusted off my clarinet and took the beginning woodwinds class at Laney. It was a small ensemble, meeting once a week. Not so much classical as standards, but at $26 for 16 weeks of instruction from a local jazz talent and music teacher (John Calloway), it sure was cheaper than a private tutor (fun, too)! anon

I would highly recommend Ernie Mansfield of Mansfield Music . He can be contacted at (510) 524-2055. He has many years of experience teaching both children and adults and Clarinet happens to be one of the 5 or 6 instruments he teaches. Good luck with your return to the Clarinet - Ernie will make it a lot easier and a lot of fun. Jonathan

I strongly recommend Ernie Mansfield of Mansfield Music! He is an amazing musician and an even better teacher. He teaches many musical instruments, but I know he is a great clarinet teacher! He is great with kids and great with adults. Being a parent himself, I know he understands the importance of doing something just for us! Check him out! Ernie Mansfield (510) 524-2055 Mansfield Music -- Music Lessons: flute, sax, clarinet, piano, guitar - -- Good Luck! -- Dani

August 2003

Looking for clarinet teacher for intermediate, returning 7th student in south Berkeley area. chardak

I highly recommend Larry London as a clarinet teacher and music composition teacher. He is a skilled performer in a large number of local symphonies, a conductor, and a composer and composition teacher. He has recently composed film scores. Larry is friendly, a good teacher, competent, and works well with children and adults. His phone number is 409-2416, and his e-mail address is LawrenceLondon AT Linda

Oct 2002

Looking for clarinet/continuing, saxaphone/beginner teacher for 6th grade girl. Thanks!

To the parent requesting a clarinet teacher for her child: My son, Andrew Harris, teaches beginning clarinet lessons and has been playing clarinet since 4th grade. He is a sophmore at BHS, playing clarinet in the pep band. He has worked at Cazadero Music camp as a mentor, won the Duke Elllington Award for his playing, and also is the songwriter/lead guitarist for a rock and roll band that plays locally. He really enjoys teaching, and has openings for 2 students. He charges $10.00/hour and can be reached after school at 527-7325. Fran

Feb 2000

I'd like to highly recommend a wonderful clarinet teacher named Peter Josheff. 527-5059. He teaches in the Claremont Hotel area. My son studied happily with him for several years. He's great for beginners and advanced students- very positive and supportive. He has 2 concerts each year for all of his students, which are really delightful and the kids learn a great deal from that experience as well.


Regarding clarinet lessons, contact Allan Pollack at 528-0454. Allan, the founder and conductor of the Mendocino Music Festival, lives in Berkeley. He is an outstanding teacher of clarinet and saxophone for both kids and adults. S

Sept 1998

Peter Josheff lives in Albany, near Solano Ave, and may be taking students. He's at: 527-5059. He's an excellent classical and new-music clarinetist, with some experience in other genres too.

If the student is also interested in jazz and/or klezmer music, I'd recommend Ben Goldberg at 444-8606 - though he lives in Oakland... Dan

I recommend Ian Willson for clarinet lesson . He lives in Albany and has a private studio in Oakland as well as teaches at Tupper & Reed in Berkeley. His phone number is 510-763-1773. He is the perfect combination of trained, relaxed, understanding, but true to the music. He is very good with young people and was my own saxophone teacher. I can't wait to have him teach my son piano and woodwinds when he is old enough. Wendy

Where to Buy a Clarinet

June 2003

I am looking for a good quality wooden B flat clarinet for my 9 year old and don't mind it being used. Would prefer a Buffet brand or one of similar quality. I would also appreciate any referrals for clarinet teachers in the berkeley or north oakland area who enjoy teaching music to children. Thanks so m pegisisrn

Try eBay. We found an excellent deal on a new Yamaha student model that was exactly what we were looking for. Seller was actually a music store in Scarsdale, NY. You might also check their website ( -- they seemed to have a lot of stuff. Norm

I bought an excellent-condition, second-hand piccolo at Best Music on Broadway (formerly on 14th) in Oakland last year and am very pleased with it. I think I got a great deal. They have practice rooms where you can try out the new instrument (or a variety of them) if you like. I admit I initially felt sheepish but was glad I did--the tone in the new piccolo is awesome. (as shrill instruments go) Jennie

Is your 9-yr-old just starting clarinet now (quite a normal age to do so)? Many considerations; I'll list a few, and provoke you (and anyone else reading) to contact me.

Especially if the school group-lesson offering is adequate, lessons right away may not be necessary--and can even be counter-productive if one's child is not providing the initiative. Waiting a year or two is often key--in my case leading me to a self-motivated passion for music-making.

Recent plastic (resonite) clarinet models such as Bundy appear to me, miraculously, to be higher quality than when we bought mine in 1982. Certainly an alternative to a school-borrowed instrument is a great idea; but if you don't get savvy help test-driving a used instrument, even if a Buffet or comparable, you could wind up with something harder for your child to learn on than an assembly-line plastic. Some folks even assert that the resistance of a plastic is more appropriate for a beginner; I would point out that the reward of replacing one's plastic model with a wooden one (in my case, a brand-new one bought three years later, chosen with the aid of my teacher from maybe 20 or 30 candidates) is a wonderful thing. When one has a little playing experience, the subtlety of the timbral difference can be appreciated.

As for local private teachers, I am one option to explore. I'm not a full- or even a part-time private instructor (or even musician!), but my varied experience in music performance and music education (including over 20 students over the years and a current foray into professional chamber music coaching) makes me an interesting choice to consider. Good luck and perhaps I'll hear from you-- Asher Davison

Ken Durling reviews

Editor note: we were advised that Ken Durling passed away in 2007, so we have archived his reviews below.

Feb 2005

Ken Durling teaches both classical and jazz clarinet (as well as piano, flute, and sax). He's a composer and photographer, a very creative guy with great knowledge and patience. I know him as my son's sax teacher for many years, but I assume he teaches adults too. He'll teach at your home or at Tupper & Reed. kdurling

August 2003

Ken Durling is an excellent teacher - kdurling AT or 843-4419. He teaches classical and jazz clarinet, flute, sax, and piano. He was our son's sax teacher for many years, and our son is now a music major in college - a testimony to Ken!

Oct 2002

Ken Durling teaches both clarinet and sax to all levels - classical and jazz. He's wonderful! 843 4419 or kdurling (at) gearhart