Graham Lyons's 40 years experience as a teacher of clarinet gave him the overwhelming conviction that the way the standard clarinet was designed was anything but child-friendly. It was too heavy, which made it unattractive to a young beginner, and the holes are adult sized for small hands. Not only that, but wooden clarinets come in 5 pieces which need assembling/disassembling carefully as well as a dedicated regime of care, which children aren't famous for providing - at least not the level of care that instruments often demand.
With this in mind, Graham developed the plastic Clarineo - lighter, easier to manage, ready to play straight out of its case and resistant to rough treatment.
Also available in funky colours to be even more individual!
So what's so different about it?
First of all the Clarineo is smaller and much lighter.
Secondly, it is virtually child-proof and can sustain treatment that would destroy conventional clarinets. The body and key work are made of resilient materials (ABS and Delrin) that lasts indefinitely and survive extremes of temperature. The pads, being made of silicone rubber, are rot-proof and waterproof.
Thirdly, the body is moulded in two transverse halves, which are then ultrasonically welded. Undercut tone holes can therefore be incorporated into the design - a first for an injection moulded woodwind instrument. The ability to undercut the tone holes allows the acoustic designer to tune each note more precisely.
Fourthly, if any of the key work is damaged it can be removed from the body and replaced by a fresh key. Repair can be carried at a small fraction of the cost of a similar repair to the clarinet.
Fifth, and finally, the instrument is in C which makes it perfect for use in a primary school and makes it a 'jack of all trades' instrument, rather than the Bb Clarinet which has it's own role in an orchestra.
Have a listen to the inventor, Graham Lyons, play the Clarineo below -