The JP221 is the ideal step up model for players looking to upgrade from their first instrument. This instrument competes well with more expensive models and is capable of taking players up to the higher grades.
Our guide to buying your first clarinet will help you know what to look for and explains the different features that can be found on a clarinet.
The JP221 has many features you would expect to find on a student clarinet.
The clarinet is constructed from a lightweight ABS making it comfortable to hold for students of all ages. Incorporating a ring-less bell which also gives the clarinet a modern look.
The addition of an adjustable thumbrest and sling ring gives players the chance to adjust the instrument easily.
It has strong and reliable keywork with bright silverplating, plus the tone holes are CNC cut providing an accurate tuning scale and focused sound.
In September I found myself faced with a new challenge – being a Newly Qualified Teacher in charge of running a music department at an inner city school in Manchester with scores of children desperate to learn a musical instrument. Faced with a limited budget I spent a lot of time researching which instruments I should purchase and immediately thought of John Packer, having invested in one of their flutes for teaching purposes last year.
The John Packer JP221 met my two most important criteria – it’s fairly indestructible and it isn’t too expensive. When testing the clarinet I was impressed by its open, clear tone and how free blowing it is. It plays comfortably in tune and the sound projects nicely.
Coming in a sturdy black fabric-covered case, my pupils didn’t seem embarrassed to be seen with their new instrument. This may not sound like an important feature but having had pupils in the past hiding cases to protect their street cred, the John Packer clarinet case passes the coolness test. It has a suitably sized accessory pocket, and straps which mean it can be converted into a backpack. Although I didn’t want to test it, the case seems solid enough to protect the clarinet if dropped. If only it came with a GPS tracker for the child who will inevitably leave it on the tram….!
The clarinet itself has an ABS/wood-effect body and silver-plated key work that appears very shiny. The key work is ergonomically designed and fits agreeably under the fingers, which is really important for beginners. I have to teach First Access (the old Wider Opportunities) clarinet to whole Year 3 (7-8 years old) classes at once, and although there will inevitably be problems with their fingers being big enough to cover the holes, this clarinet seems more small-child friendly than others I have seen. The JP221 is also very lightweight which is essential for the younger clarinettist. The thumb rest is adjustable and has a loop that a sling could be attached to. I did find that the thumb rest was very easy to unscrew and this did happen a few times when I was road-testing the clarinet – I think I would have preferred it to be a fixed thumb rest; re-screwing a thumb rest whilst teaching thirty young clarinettists at once is an challenging task. I had similar problems with the ligature – children have a habit of unscrewing ligatures (despite scary Miss Edwards’s warnings) and I found these difficult to reassemble once the screws had been taken out.
On the whole, I was impressed with the quality of the instrument and would not hesitate to buy some more for my beginner pupils to learn on. The JP221 fulfils all the criteria I look for in a beginner instrument and I am confident that it would set a young clarinettist on the path to success.
The JP221 is supplied with a JP6121 student mouthpiece, lightweight case, pull-through, ligature & cap set, cork grease and reed. The fabric case features an external pocket for small accessories as well as shoulder and backpack strap fittings. Two straps are supplied with the case giving players choice between backpack and shoulder options.