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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000530.txt from 1999/01

From: "Kevin Bowman" <kbowman@-----.com>
Subj: [kl] Rubank Elementary and crossing the break
Date: Tue, 12 Jan 1999 14:03:47 -0500

Mark Belczyk wrote:
<<
I would use the Rubank Elementary (starts really easy, but has some nice
work on going over the break and key signatures). After that, I usually
go to the Melodious and Progressive Studies, Book 1.
>>

Mark -

I just had to comment on Rubank Re: crossing the break as this is one
of my pet peeves about the Rubank Elementary Clarinet Method. This is
not a flame against you but I would enjoy hearing everyone's comments
on this ...

How I re-wrote the book
-----------------------
I also use the Rubank methods for my beginners (both sax and clarinet).
However, I have a problem with the introduction of crossing the
break. I've re-written the introductory lessson - replacing the single
lesson with two, essentially. The general idea is, I teach the clarion
register by having the student play as many 12ths as possible, starting
with low G (chalemeau). The first clarion note that a student plays is
a total surprise - I reach over and press the register key while they
play low G (I pick this note because it provides the best physical
stability of the instrument). Suddenly (if the breath support is
adequate), a clarion D pops out! This re-inforces the fact that the
embouchure *does not change* when playing higher notes. After a few
repetitions (with me still pressing the register key), I move up a
4th to C (slurring to clarion G). When these two intervals come out
well (and they usually do) THEN I let the student play the G-D'
interval by him/herself (again choosing the low G because of stability).
Then I present the new lesson (replacing the Rubank lesson) that
consists of intervals E-B', F-C', G-D', ... , F'-C'' - all these
intervals slur UP.

The problem I have with the Rubank lesson is that it presents too few
notes in the clarion and gets to the issue of "crossing" the break too
early. And when crossing the break is presented, the break is crossed
ascending. It is MUCH easier (and less frustrating for the student) to
cross the break DESCENDING. So my "second" lesson presents scale-wise
descending patterns accross the break. The first few exercises start
with a chalemeau note slurred to a clarion note (you guessed it - on
a 12th interval).

THEN we do the finger exercises at the bottom of the Rubank lesson,
repeating over and over the change from throat A to clarion B, throat
Bb to clarion C, etc. At this point the student is ready to take on
the challenge of the following Rubank lesson which incorporates the
register change into little etudes. I try to supplement this with an
appropriate one page solo (applying both the chalemeau and clarion
registers) as a payoff for being diligent with such "boring" technical
study. AND, an added bonus - the student can now play C, F, and G
major scales for two octaves!

I should add here that I do not move to this lesson until the student
has a decent embouchure. It doesn't need to be rock solid but should
at least have the right shape. And I stress one point exhaustively:
breath support, breath support, breath support.

Comments welcome.

Kevin Bowman
Clarinet & Saxophone Instructor,
Rochester Conservatory of Music, Rochester, MI
and
Saxophones, Clarinet, & Keys,
B-Side Blues Project

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