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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000930.txt from 2000/07

From: "David B. Niethamer" <>
Subj: RE: [kl] Learning practices (was Mozart's wife and Carl Maria We ber)
Date: Wed, 26 Jul 2000 23:15:06 -0400

on 7/26/00 4:02 PM, Lacy Schroeder wrote:

>I still think it is a good idea to listen to recordings of works while
>learning them. But, it would probably be best to listen to several so as not
>to become tunnel-visioned in interpretation.
Excellent point, IMO. Andrew Porter used to write in the New Yorker about
singers (particularly, but not exclusively) giving performances of
various works, and showing no understanding of the traditions of
performing those works. Sometimes these performers would actually say
that they had no desire to hear others performing these works, because
they did not wish to clone those performances. Porter pointed out
repeatedly that the value of hearing others was in hearing many
performances, and allowing some of the aspects of performances you like
to creep subconsciously into your own performances. In this way, you made
the performance your own - not by ignoring traditions, but by adapting
them to your own point of view. (Andrew Porter wrote it much more
>But, then again, what about learning an interpretation from your teacher? Is
>it not true that the student reflects the playing of their teacher? I like
>to think I play like my teacher (or at least would be thrilled to be able
>to), and I think I reflect his interpretation to a certain degree, if not a

Interesting that some teachers turn out clones, and others more
independent, original performers. I'd be horrified to have a student
"clone" a performance of mine. A colleague once offered the opinion that
students pick up many of your own bad habits, and to some extent I've
found this to be true! I like to encourage students to bring some of
their own intelligence to a piece, and to make it their own. I don't want
them to copy my performances, or anyone else's for that matter.


David Niethamer
Principal Clarinet, Richmond Symphony

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