Do you want to cheer somebody up? Make a primitive clarinet, a reedpipe, and practice playing for a while. Soon you can create a humourous mood wherever you are, and feel simple joy!

Instead of reed, you can also make this kind of pipe of a rye straw or a vascular plant, such as of cow parsley. The reed is best to collect in the winter, after frost, in a dry weather. Take only standing plants and cut them with knife as low as possible to get as uch material as possible. You can transfer the material in a big plastic bag, but let them dry in a storage airily! In Finland you can take reed and cow parsley on the basis of everyman’s right.

Cut the stalk of a common reed at two sequential joints to get a billet for your reedpipe. When cutting, hold your arms close to your body, and make sure your finger is not under the cutting blade. Roll the reed outwards a couple of times in your left hand and press the stem of the blade on joint, while nodding your right wrist. It’s not necessary to support the reed as shown in picture. Break the joint by bending it with both hands close to it.

Take the billet and cut a reed on it, at about 5 mm from the end which is more yellow and cylindrical. Set the stem of the blade at an angle of 45 degrees and saw back and forth some 2 mm, until the blade is through the wall. Then bend the blade horizontally to lengthen the reed along the fibres. The succesful reed is 3 cm and stays a bit raised.

Pierce the joint open with the tip of a knife. Shut the reed with your finger to keep it intact and clean the pipe inside using birch branch. Then blow loose fibre away. Take a look through the pipe to make sure it’s clean. Make sure that it’s empty under the the reed as well.

Now it’s time to test the reedpipe! Shut the open end with your tongue, and push the pipe with reed deep into your mouth. Blow! Be careful not to push the reed down with your upper lip. If your reedpipe is quiet, try to blow more or less. If it still doesn’t work, lift the reed carefully with the edge of a knife. Sometimes the reed is too heavy and you might have to scratch it thinner. You can also tie sewing thread at the root of the reed. Ask the teacher for help or have another try.

When your reedpipe works you can cut fingerholes on it. How many; it depends on the length of your pipe, usually 4-8. Begin making fingerholes on the opposite end from where you made the reed. At three fingers off the end, cut the wall as you did earlier. Move the blade 5 mm forward and do the same, but at an opposite angle, and bend the knife so that a piece is removed from the wall. Make more holes like this, at about one finger’s distance from each other. Later you can tune the pipe into the diatonic scale, hole by hole, by making it larger up or downwards. Clean the holes by moving the tip of the knife crosswise inside them.

It’s easier to play the reedpipe if you glue a wooden plug in front of the reed. Saw the extra away and finish with sandpaper.

Play the reedpipe with 2+2, 3+3 or 4+4 fingers. You can practice at first by playing down and up, finger by finger, to learn the places of holes and to improve your motor coordination. Play out your feelings and thoughts! Play and discover with embouchure! Make reedpipes in different scale!