Although often overlooked in favor of the more iconic string family, a clarinet is an excellent choice for bringing live music into your life or the life of your child. Dating back to the year 1700, and designed to handle the upper melodic registers with a smooth beauty beyond the capabilities of a trumpet, the clarinet has had gorgeous baroque concerti written for it by the likes of Brahms, Handel, and Mozart. Mozart in particular considered it his favorite instrument of all, and composed some of the loveliest showcases ever devised for its warm, pure, bold sound. Today, this woodwind is used not only in classical symphonies but in marching bands and jazz, and its high range coupled with round tones make it a captivating solo instrument. It’s also easy to carry, with no bows or other easily lost separate parts, and smooth keys that require none of the painful callous-building process of strings, allowing new and young musicians to jump in and build their love of the art with happy associations. Many quality manufacturers such as Jean Paul, Buffet, Yamaha, and Mendini produce clarinets for a range of skill levels with a range of features and materials, so you can find the instrument that’s just right for you.