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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000860.txt from 2001/05

From: stewart kiritz <>
Subj: Re: [kl] Playing crisis
Date: Tue, 29 May 2001 18:50:47 -0400

Dear Kathleen,

Since I am both a clinical psychologist and an amateur clarinetist perhaps I
have a slightly different take on your situation from some of the others who
have made suggestions. I would ask you if most of the negative feedback
began with, and perhaps has continued with the feedback from your new
teacher. Non-support can come from the breath, but also can come from the
environment, in the form of a critical or non-supportive teacher.

Do others who hear you play agree with his/her assessment of your playing?
Is this new feedback for you? Has your new teacher been able to tell you
what you need to change in order to correct the problem(s)? Depending on
the answer to these questions, you may be dealing with poor teaching rather
than bad playing, or maybe bad playing induced by poor teaching.

In my experience from both sides of the process, good teaching involves both
supporting a student's strengths and also, pointing out problems only along
with appropriate suggestions for their correction. Criticisms without
specific suggestions are not useful and mostly make a student feel
inadequate. The fact that you have made this request to the forum makes me
wonder what kind of "support" you are getting in your learning environment.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of teachers (none on this forum of course!)
who have a "hidden agenda" to put students down, or are simply critical
people. I had the privilege of studying with Mitchell Lurie in my youth,
and Howard Klug as an adult. No one could accuse these two master teachers
of being casual in their approaches. However, both had the gift of being
able to point out problems along with providing both support for my
strengths and specific suggestions for correcting things that needed help.
I never felt diminished after a lesson. That is great teaching.

I would urge you to get feedback from others. Maybe a visit to, or a tape
sent to your best teacher back home with a request for feedback and
sugestions would help too.

Good luck,

Stewart Kiritz

----- Original Message -----
From: "Kathleen Williams" <>
Subject: [kl] Playing crisis

> Dear listers
> I've come up with a number of problems in my stay over England that my
> teacher hasn't really been able to help me with. The principal one is
> of support, which seems to be pretty crucial as it affects tone quality
> sound in the staccato. For some inexplicable reason, technical passages,
> though finger perfect, often don't come across to the listener, same with
> the staccato. My teacher constantly gripes at me for going for the
> and ignoring the basics, but then when I concentrate on the basics my
> performances are accused of being boring. I'm wondering whether the
> of support is one to do with the sudden lack of fitness, as back in
> I used to be a real fitness fanatic, cycling every day, and doing lots of
> situps for firm abs. I haven't been able to do any exercise in London.
> also wondering whether the struggle with tone has something to do with the
> depression and homesickness I've been experiencing, being away from the
> sunny skies and tropical heat of Brisbane. I sometimes wonder whether I
> need a shrink more than a teacher. If there are any medical professionals
> out there who think they may be able to help, or practical advice on
> breathing and support, or good biketracks in London, could you please
> me. My confidence is really low, and I'm close to, if not actually giving
> the instrument, then certainly taking a break for a while.
> Kathy williams
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------
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