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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000981.txt from 2000/07

From: "David B. Niethamer" <>
Subj: RE: [kl] Learning practices
Date: Thu, 27 Jul 2000 23:16:10 -0400

>David said:
>"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."
and on 7/27/00 10:20 AM, Lacy Schroeder replied:

>Weelllll, I didn't think I meant to say that I'm a playing "clone" of my

No, I don't think you did, and I didn't mean to imply (since I only know
you "electronically") that you are. I was only commenting on two styles
of teaching.

>but I do still think that a teacher greatly influences a student's

Absolutely, and that's as it should be. But there are two types of
influence, and that's what I was trying in my own convoluted way to point
out. To me, the more valuable influence is the one that leads you to
explore and think for yourself about a particular piece, and to guide you
to the possibilities created by other players and teachers, and then to
ask you to make a statement for yourself. Not a carbon copy of someone
else's work.

>The student has to learn something from somewhere.

Right. And in the beginning, a student without much musical maturity can
learn something by mimicking a teacher, or a recording. Theoretically,
one outgrows this stage.

>Copying a performance is bad, yes,
>but taking your favorite aspects of that
>performance and incorporating them in your own is no crime IMO.

No, I don't think so either. After all, most of the good and truly
"original" ideas have been presented by someone else at this point. And
in some cases "originality" is overrated and inappropriate. Adapting
ideas you like into your performances (or at least exploring how they
work for you) is part of learning to make music, IMO.


David Niethamer
Principal Clarinet, Richmond Symphony

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