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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000210.txt from 2002/06

From: Sean Osborn <>
Subj: [kl] Majoring in Clarinet Performance
Date: Thu, 6 Jun 2002 16:25:09 -0400


"Steve White" <>
>. The reality is: There are fewer and fewer
>well-paying ensembles where a musician can make enough to support themselves
>every year. This increases competition for viable positions dramatically.
>Don't get me wrong, you can still score a great gig with a top level
>symphony or chamber orchestra, but the odds continually shift away younger
>players .

This is just not true. While it is very difficult to make ones living as
entirely as a professional clarinetist, there are more clarinetists and
clarinet jobs than ever in the US and Canada. Just as an example: when I
grew up in Washington state, there were only three clarinetist who made
their living primarily from performing. Now there are (at least) 8. While
8 for a state of nearly 6 million is not a lot, there are many others in
the state who perform a lot, and make a large part of their income from
teaching clarinet, either at Universities or in private studios.

It's a long tough road full of huge sacrifices to become a professional
clarinet performer, and it's quite difficult to achieve success without
some regrets about what you sacrificed to get there. If you're going to go
for it, then GO FOR IT. Don't let things stand in your way. It is
important to also remember that you are allowed to change your mind if you
find it's not truly what you want, or what you thought it would be (a
career in music) is not what it actually is.

Though many of you may dissagree with this: I think the most important
choice one can make when they decide to major in Clarinet Performance is to
go to a school with the best music program you can get into - regardless of
teacher. You can learn so much from being around other great clarinetist
24/7, and other great musicians (your fellow students). You'll also make
invaluable contacts for later in your career. If you go to a small school
where you're the best right away - you won't have as much motivation to
improve, and you'll have no clue what's required of you in the career-world
of music.
If, after you get your BM, and you want to go for an MM, then go
for the best TEACHER you can find, regardless of how good the music
department is, or where the school is. If you are lucky enough to find a
great teacher at a great school (as I was with Stanley Hasty at
Eastman). DON'T pass up the opportunity to go there - no matter what.

Well, I'm rambling far from the topic again ;^)


Sean Osborn


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