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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000711.txt from 2000/07

From: Jay Webler <>
Subj: Re: [kl] enthused musings upon Mozart Concerto
Date: Thu, 20 Jul 2000 20:25:26 -0400

James and all,

Your testimony of the situation in solo competitions tells the rest of the
story that I am not familiar with, .
because I haven't done any adjudicating. I can understand why some
would have a negative view about young players performing these pieces if
this is what they are subjected to. Personally, I would never send anyone
to a solo competition if they were that ill prepared. They would have to do it
without my blessing. I'm curious as to the reason why anyone would want
to show up when they're that ill prepared. Do you think it might have
to do with the level of over expectation in the field of education in general.
It does seem as if many young students seem to expect praise no matter what
level there performance is. It's the old, "I should receive praise for
making the
attempt". This may be the one thing that will chase me away from attempting
to teach anymore. I've heard on a few occasions that people think that I am
trying to develop 1st chair players, when, in my mind, I am only seeking
to help the child play the instrument in a correct manner. I actually expect
them to practice what I give them, I expect them to work on their embouchure,
I expect them to play their exercises evenly and accurately, I expect them to
learn how to move smoothly over the break, I expect them to learn the
between playing mechanically and musically, etc, etc, etc.

Granted the time it takes to achieve these expectations varies from student
to student, and
I will have to vary the lesson material at times to help them achieve this
end. But, I do not
believe that the expectation itself should be lowered for the sake of
merely making someone
feel good. The students who accept this have stayed and improve, the
students that don't either
quit or find another teacher. I must admit when I started at one of the
stores I teach at, I was a
bit timid. I was told that I needed to handle the kids with kid gloves and
not expect to much
or the kid would complain to the parents. (The area that this store is in a
well to do area). I found
that I had altered my entire approach. Thankfully, it only took me about 6
weeks to get over those
initial fears, and as result I have lost some of the more rebellious
students, but better ones have come in
to replace them.

I apologize for rambling but I have found the reality of the acceptance of
mediocrity quite frustrating. What in the world
have we as a generation been doing for the last 30 years to create this
kind of situation. A situation
in which everybody thinks they deserve praise just because they're breathing.

Jay Webler
Jay's Clarinet and Percussion

At 05:28 PM 7/20/00 -0400, you wrote:
>I judge solo contests quite frequently here in Texas. I have not been able
>to award many first division ratings on the second movement of the Mozart. I
>am understanding of the fact that it is a high school player performing and
>they will not sound like Marcellus, but they have got to have some
>understanding of the music. Many play it in six with the eighth note at less
>than 60 beats per minute with no crescendo or diminuendo and when it comes to
>the 32nd's they play unevenly and cannot get through them without fumbling
>even at that slow tempo. It becomes an endurance contest to sit through it,
>but I will not stop a student then give them less than a first division. I
>think they play it because, like someone else posted, somebody told them it
>is easy.

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