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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000039.txt from 2001/07

From: "Tony Wakefield" <>
Subj: Re: [kl] methods for beginners
Date: Mon, 2 Jul 2001 09:40:53 -0400

----- Original Message -----
From: "Rien Stein" <>

> Many methods on this list have been suggested. I am but an amateur
> but, like most of those teaching professionally on this list, I have been
> searching all the time for the ideal method or best combination of
> In my opinion there is no "good" method. With most of my clarinet learners
> use the method "Hear, Listen, play" by De Haske Music Publishers from
> Herenveen, but I also use the method developed by Hermen Braune, however
> combination with books from De Haske. And also I use "A tune a day" with
> some of my students. But all of these methods I use in combination with
> other books and methods.
> I think there is no "good" or "ideal" method, but one has always to take
> into account the particular pupil one has to deal with. For instance one
> my students, an alto saxophonist player, is very much a lover of Jim
> Benny Goodman and Elvis Presley, so I started to teach her to play swing -
> actually one of my weak points - but she wants to continue that way of
> making music. Who am I to tell her she should converse to Piazolla?

I believe every beginner has to try to for-see an approach to learning,
which uses a "learning curve" or graph which includes the chronological
order of composers and their historical periods. I believe that we do not
have modern - 20th/21st century "classical" or "romantic" music which is
suitable, easy and enjoyable enough to commence beginning this "learning
curve". We have a world renown repertory of music dating from (for
clarinet) the 18th century. There is an enormous wealth of easy and suitable
"tunes" from this period which are enjoyable to learn to play. It is from
this period also when the traditional airs also become known world wide -
simple and suitable enough to insert into beginning books. With a balance of
these two kinds of music, the huge task of taking on the decision to learn
to play an instrument becomes not quite so potentially frustrating. The
choice of beginning music therefore becomes of utmost importance, possibly
as important as the choice of instrument, and the choice of teacher.
Students do need to learn to play tunes which are not only easy, but also
known. The "learning curve" then becomes a pleasurable experience, and using
this logical and conventional approach certainly encourages the enjoyment
required for continuation.

Once these basics have been taught - 1) the classical period 2) the romantic
period, interweaving traditional music also, Then, and only then the
"learning curve" can start to become more adventurous to include 20th cent.
and popular chart stuff.

One word about chart stuff from the eighties onwards. 99% of it is vocal,
and not instrumental. This is extremely important to understand, as the
<vocal> lines from the eighties and onwards more or less stay on one note
repeated several times over, before another note is then also repeated. Not
at all interesting to learn to play as an instrumental item. They are not
written <TO> be played as an instrumental item of course.

I would try to therefore dissuade (nay - disallow) any pupil from starting
on Elvis, or Jim Reeves, and (how can a sax player play) Goodman. This
discipline exerted by teacher over the student, shows the student
immediately, that there are very specific disciplines to take on board, in
order to develop a firm basic technique. There is only one way to learn to
play, and that is <properly>.

Rien, are you saying when you tell us that you are an amateur teacher, that
you teach without asking for any remuneration?


Tony W.

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