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I have a clarinet that I've been using recently, but whenever I try and play it, I can hear a sound like air coming out from somewhere besides the usual note.

I'm using a 3 1/2 reed, but when I switch to a 2 reed, the noise lessens by quite a bit.

Why is that?

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Perhaps your clarinet has developed a leak in its joints, and your clarinet requires service by a qualified repair person. –  Wheat Williams Mar 3 at 13:15
    
@WheatWilliams Actually, I just found out that when I use a 2 reed, the noise is considerably lessened. Updating comment. –  Jaxon Mar 3 at 13:57
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up vote 2 down vote accepted

If you hear an air-rushing sound, it's almost certainly due to reed strength, as you are finding out. Leaks in pads or body joints are more likely to produce squeaky notes, or make it difficult/impossible to play notes which expect the given pad to be closed.

But far more important: please take some lessons from a qualified instructor. It's all too likely that you are using the wrong embouchure (sp) in an attempt to compensate for lack of breath control. While picking a proper reed strength is a good idea, the last thing you want is to pick up bad muscle habits. They're very difficult to cure.

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Thanks for the tip! –  Jaxon Mar 3 at 14:51
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