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Klarinet Archive - Posting 001369.txt from 1998/03

From: Lee Hickling <hickling@-----.Net>
Subj: Re: Musician?
Date: Sun, 29 Mar 1998 18:37:54 -0500

Shouryu Nohe gave a marvelously eloquent answer to the question of whether
a clarinetist is, per se, a musician. I'm not going to take up bandwith to
quote it.

It is easy to mistake technical mastery of an instrument, or several
instruments, with musicianship. I played the clarinet and the saxophones
quite well, from a standpoint of technique, for some years before I found
out that technique is only a tool, and that after you've acquired a bit of
it, you can still have all the most important things about music left to learn

Theoretical knowledge of harmony, musical forms, arrangement and
composition are also good things, and make a musician better-rounded. I
would have very horn or string player put in some time on the piano if I
could, because I think that's the best way to learn harmony -- you can
*see* it spread out before you, and hear what happens when you alter a
chord. But that's not where it's at either.

Mostly, I play the organ in churches now, because there's much more demand
for that than for a reed man or even a piano player, in the exurban area
where I live. Although it's my fourth instrument and I'll never play it as
well as the others, I turn in a creditable performance by sticking to music
that's within my technical limitations (fortunately, most church music is
pretty simple). I'm no great shakes as an organist, but I *am* a musician,
so I play *music* as opposed to merely executing a score correctly.

I think an old song of the Twenties says it best: "It ain't whatcha do,
it's the way thatcha do it." Or maybe, even for strictly legit players, "It
don't mean a thing, if you ain't got that swing."

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