Klarinet Archive - Posting 000326.txt from 1998/03
From: "Tim Roberts" <timr@-----.com>
Subj: Re: Band Policies (was Marching Band)
Date: Fri, 6 Mar 1998 14:43:09 -0500
On Wed, 4 Mar 1998 12:25:12 -0500, Gary VanCott wrote:
>I disagree with this. Music is competitive enough without the challenge
>system. Jr High and High School students have enough stress already.
>Challenges can create antagonisms and divisions in a band and waste
>valuable rehearsal time.
>I believe directors should place students based on their overall ability
>and make adjustments as necessary, but infrequently, probably at the
This is a topic of interest to me. I am the clarinet section leader in the world-reknowned
Tualatin Valley Community Band (that's a little joke... Tigard, Oregon-reknowned is more
accurate...). We get players of ALL abilities, from ex-band directors to conservatory-
trained semi-professionals to 7th grade beginners. It is my duty to assign the clarinet
parts, and I find this a very difficult task. I remember my high school days, where the
section was simply sorted by ability, but I'm not convinced that's the best plan. I find
the section has a much more balanced sound if I put at least one strong player on each part.
There are MANY concert band pieces where the 3rd clarinet part is absolutely essential.
On the other hand, I KNOW that the 1st parts are almost always more fun. I have a terrible
time trying to balance my desire for a well-rounded sound with my wish that everyone in the
section have a good time. After all, this is a community band; no one HAS to be there.
Even more, I have several young players in whom I can sense the beginnings of real ability,
but who lack the confidence to stand out. I feed them the more difficult parts from time to
time, but I can see them just wilt in their chairs!
It's a difficult problem.
- Tim Roberts, timr@-----.com
Providenza & Boekelheide, Inc.