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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000330.txt from 1998/03

From: "Scott Morrow" <>
Subj: Re: Band Policies (was Marching Band)
Date: Fri, 6 Mar 1998 14:43:13 -0500

A Not-Really-Clarinet-Related Anecdote
(But one which I think stresses the point)

In college, our drama director had an annoying habit of casting her
favourites in the lead roles and giving less-talented freshmen who "looked
the part" but couldn't act supporting roles. One season, they did Hamlet.
Unfortunately, by the end of the play, all the leads were dead, and we were
left watching all the people who couldn't act!
If all the parts in a show or in a piece of orchestral music aren't
important, then why are they there? In my high school, the order of
prominence in the clarinet section was:
1st chair 1st
1st chair 2nd
1st chair 3rd
2nd chair 1st

Scott D. Morrow
DNA Synthesis Core Facility
Department of Biochemistry
The Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health
Baltimore, MD 21205
(410) 955-3631
-----Original Message-----
From: Tim Roberts <>
Date: Thursday, March 05, 1998 1:02 PM
Subject: Re: Band Policies (was Marching Band)

>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
>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
>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,
> Providenza & Boekelheide, Inc.

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