The clarinet is a single reed woodwind instrument. The type of clarinet we use in the Parkside Band is a B-flat clarinet, but there are many types of clarinets in use today, including the E-flat clarinet, the A clarinet, the alto clarinet, and the bass clarinet.
Unlike the flute and the saxophone, which are made of metal and have closed tone holes, clarinets are generally made of plastic or wood, and have open tone holes that the player must cover with his or her fingers. Clarinets are used in many different styles of music, and can play a larger range of notes than other woodwinds.
Clarinet players have it rough at the beginning of the year--your instrument has 7 pieces, more than any other band instrument; plus, it takes some time to get the hang of covering all the tone holes completely with your fingers. All the squeaking and half-speaking notes might drive you crazy! But if you keep practicing and find the "sweet spot" on your fingers, these problems pass.