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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000351.txt from 2002/02

From: CBA <clarinet10001@-----.com>
Subj: Re: [kl] Teachers (was LeBlanc Eternite)
Date: Tue, 19 Feb 2002 14:37:04 -0500

--- Donna Higgins <donna@-----.com> wrote:
(SNIP)
> How far should a teacher go in persuading/forcing a
> student to copy the
> teacher's set-up? I currently have two teachers -
> one for bass clarinet, one
> for regular clarinet. Both are long-time
> professional players whose opinions
> I can't just dismiss out of hand.

No one should EVER tell you you HAVE to play on a
certain clarinet model. I think all of the
professionals who make a living at it would agree.
Look at Larry Combs of the Chicago Symphony, Michelle
Zukovsky of the LA Symphony (hope the spelling was
right) and Ricardo Morales of the Met Opera Orchestra.
All principals of major symphony orchestras, yet none
play on Buffet. They play on Selmer, Leblanc and
Wurlitzer instruments. Other people play on Buffet in
orchestras. The point is not which one is best, but
which one is best FOR YOU.

(SNIP)
> The problem, for me, is that both of them think the
> R-13 is the only
> worthwhile clarinet for professional symphonic
> musicians, or anyone who
> aspires to a high level of musicianship. One of
> them, in fact, has told me
> the following: (1) I should not even bother trying
> anything that isn't an
> R-13; (2) going shopping in New York (which I'm
> planning to do) would be a
> waste of time because chances are I wouldn't find
> anything good up there,
> unless I got extraordinarily lucky; and (3) I'm not
> an experienced enough
> player to choose my own instrument, so I need to
> have "someone whose playing I
> trust" (i.e., him) choose for me.

I have NEVER had an R13 of my own, because I never
liked the sound or response. I have tried LOTS of them
out, and found a few I liked to an extent, but not
enough to buy. I have had Buffet "RC" instruments and
Leblanc instruments in the past, and liked both of
them a lot. It would never occur to most teachers to
say "this is the only model you should play on" just
like it is wrong to say you have to use a certain
mouthpiece and type of reed. It's what works FOR YOU.

(SNIP)

>>One of them, in fact, has
>>told me the following: (1) I should not even bother
>>trying anything that isn't an R-13; (2) going
>>shopping in New York (which I'm planning to do)
>>would be a waste of time because chances are I
>>wouldn't find anything good up there, unless I got
>>extraordinarily lucky; and (3) I'm not an
>>experienced enough player to choose my own
>>instrument, so I need to have "someone whose playing
>>I trust" (i.e., him) choose for me.

Well, here's some answers to those points from your
teacher...

1. You CAN and WILL find many instrument models and
brands that you will like. You need to find the one
you LOVE. It's an investment, and not something you
will be doing again soon.

2. I live in NY, and the idea of NOT finding something
in NY shows your teacher is just naïve about New York
and about buying instruments. Woodwind and Brasswind
are on 23rd Street and 6th AV, and have a great
selection of clarinets. Fredrick Weiner in Mineola, NY
(Long Island) also has a great selection of clarinets.
The idea of NOT finding a good new instrument here
makes me laugh. It sounds like someone is getting a
kickback from the local store to get the sale.

3. If you go to a store that has a good reputation for
selling instruments to people who need assistance
(Woodwind and Brasswind in NY, International Music
Suppliers in Chicago, Muncy Winds in the midwest) they
will tell you which instrument sounds better to them,
and it won't be the one they are trying to move. At
Woodwind and Brasswind, ask for Jonathan Watkins or
Laurie Orr (they are the managers.) They can help you
when you come in to find an instrument.

If I am free when you come to NY. I will go with you,
if you like, to give another ear. If you have been
playing as long as you have, you should know what
feels good to play on when you try it. Then with the
help of others to get your instrument, you can find a
winner. If you would like to write privately off the
list, I can give you more details, if you like.

One last thing...after narrowing down your search of
instruments to 3 or 4 particular instruments, try
different mouthpieces out on the instruments you like.
The difference with a different mouthpiece could make
or break how an instrument feels to you.

Sorry for the long post...

Kelly Abraham
Woodwinds - New York City

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