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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000013.txt from 1997/09

From: Michael Connolly <michael@-----.COM>
Subj: A student's multiple questions
Date: Mon, 1 Sep 1997 13:06:48 -0400

I 15, a sophomore in high school, in my fourth year of playing alto sax
(and doing fairly well - acceptance into regional clinic bands, superior rating
on local solo festivals, etc.) Since about October of 1996 I've also been
playing clarinet (Although I suppose it doesn't count much before March 97, when
I got a Selmer Signet to replace my Frankenstein-esque pieced-together plastic
monstrosity. It wasn't really like starting a new instrument, since with years
of sax behind me I already had a fairly good idea of fingering, embouchre
(spelling?), and articulation.

I've been practicing around an hour a day on the clarinet (major/minor
scales, selections from sax method and solo books, audition material for the
local youth symphony.) But I know the sax books are not optimal (no extended
range, for example.)

With this background in mind, I present the following lengthy questions for
your perusal:

Question #1:

I tried out for the Memphis youth symphony in June. Mostly, I just wanted
to see what the auditions would be like. Surprisingly, I was not that far
behind the majority of the people trying out (IMH0.) The one snagging point was
the sight-reading, at which point I knew I didn't have a chance.

I am not bad at sight-reading (after four years of sax and ten of piano).
The problem was that the sight-reading was for an A clarinet. I had gotten a
sheet in the audition packet that informed me that all music had to be played
the correct concert pitch, which meant the auditioner was expected to transpose.
I listened to my father (who knew nothing about the auditions) who speculated
that they would not do the sight-reading in A. They did, and I stumbled through
it, trying to transpose on-the-fly, and generally messing it up royally.

If everyone had been through the same ordeal and some had fared better,
this would have been OK with me, because that would have actually indicated
being more skilled. One person (of about the 10 total that auditioned for three
spaces) had his own A clarinet. This too is OK with me, because it represents
how he would be able to play at a concert. The people that annoyed me were the
ones who: (a) borrowed _his_ A clarinet, therefore not representing what they'd
actually be able to play at a concert, or (b) ignored the direction and played
the material in Bb, and were not disqualified or in any way demerited for it. I
turned out to be the only applicant who actually tried to transpose the music.

The question: Is this just my bruised ego talking, or was this not fair?

Question #2

Since I am currently studying clarinet without a teacher, I am looking for
suggestions on a good regimen of practice, i.e. a method book, exercises, etc.

Question #3

I have seen it written on KLARINET that the choice of mouthpiece makes a
large difference in a student's learning curve. Of course, the ever-popular B45
comes to mind, but how much difference would it make from my current unmarked
generic mouthpiece? (I do use quality mouthpieces on my saxophone, BTW. An A25
for concert band, and a Berg Larsen for jazz band.)


I thank you for your time, and hopefully someone will answer these

Michael Connolly

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