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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000682.txt from 2000/04

From: "Dee D. Hays" <>
Subj: Re: [kl] re: Tone - the quick way
Date: Sun, 16 Apr 2000 12:43:22 -0400

----- Original Message -----
From: "Karl Krelove" <>
Subject: RE: [kl] re: Tone - the quick way

> [ snip] ... A new teacher's trying to make
> many corrections immediately will predictably raise in some students a
> defensive reaction that simply ends up in a power struggle between student
> and teacher. Neither wins those struggles. The kid quits either in anger
> frustration and the teacher has no further influence on him/her. If and
> the teacher wins the student's trust, however, the defenses will drop and
> more can be accomplished. The "slow, get used to the new teacher approach"
> can take a long time. The student has come to you already knowing he
> know everything that can be known about playing the clarinet. But she
> also with a sense of having learned at least some of it already. When you
> appear to attack that bedrock of what the child already "knows," some
> children will interpret it as a personal attack and react as most of us
> react in such situations.

Karl makes some excellent points here and in the remainder of his note. It
is very important to take things one at a time as trying to correct
everything at once will simply overwhelm a student. This alone will cause
them to resist and fight back even when they don't interpret it as a
personal attack. They are trying to scale it down to something they can

Pick one thing and then fix it. Then move on to the next. If you are
lucky, you can find something that is easy to fix but makes a very
noticeable difference. This will make a good impression on the student and
they will be more receptive to the next suggestion. As you move through the
changes one by one, each positive result will reinforce this.

Approach is also important. Rather than indicating that they are wrong,
simply tell them that it is time to move to a higher level on that item.
This way you are not criticising what they are currently doing but instead
leading them to more expertise. For example, say a student comes to you and
this student has his right hand so far under the clarinet that the thumb
rest is at the base of the thumb, wrist is bent, etc. You might say
something like this, "Now that you are bigger and stronger, it's time to
move your hand out so that the thumb rest straddles the base of the thumb
nail. Even though it may feel awkward at first, this will allow you to move
your fingers more quickly and smoothly to play the really fast passages."
This eliminates any hint of criticism toward the student or previous
instructor. It treats it as a progression that the student can and should

Dee Hays
Canton, SD

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