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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000221.txt from 2002/06

From: "Robert Beckett" <>
Subj: Re: [kl] Teaching the 'students' of today
Date: Fri, 7 Jun 2002 08:51:16 -0400

Bill is right, of course, to urge that more community bands and ensembles
should be organized so that there will be more opportunities for
amateurs--of any age--to participate in the joy of making music. But if he
is implying that there is something wrong with codgers like me who come back
to music after a long hiatus, and that somehow we are to blame for closing
out opportunities for younger players, then I want to disagree.

Perhaps what could be done is for some existing community bands to set up
youth auxiliaries. They could share their libraries--undoubtedly a major
investment for any ensembles--and perhaps strike a deal for rehearsal space
that would be more favorable than what some upstart group could negotiate.
Surely most public schools have space available, even if at awkward times
like Monday or Wednesday evenings, for a one-a-week, two-hour plus set up
and knock-down window devoted to providing community activity for sixty to
eighty out-of-school-but-still-under-35 people.

I don't think it is the function of such volunteer organizations to change
public school programs that "suck the joy out of playing," but rather to
provide an opportunity for joyful music making. I have noted there are a
couple (at least) of different kinds of community groups out there. One kind
has perhaps two concert dates in the fall and two in the spring, and at each
they perform music which challenges the concentration and skills of its
members. The other kind is a sit-down-and-sight-read group that may schedule
a concert a month, playing mostly familiar marches, carols, and pop tunes
that demand little of the players or their audiences, but provide much easy

The first kind of organization is harder to achieve and probably needs
support from a local college, whereas the second kind is easier to set up
and can get by on a little help from high schools or from members who are
high school band directors. Which is better? I'm not enough of a snob to say
the first is better, though that is the kind of community band that I play
in. I have helped another area band on occasion, and though I don't want to
commit to a band that doesn't challenge me to grow as a musician, I still
see that it satisfies the people who sustain it. That seems to me like a
worthy goal.

Hey, music isn't just for the best musicians. It's a part of the lives of
most people, and one that should enclude them as music makers, not just as
music "consumers."

Bob Beckett

----- Original Message -----
From: "Bill Hausmann" <>
Subject: Re: [kl] Teaching the 'students' of today

> At 06:49 PM 6/6/2002 -0700, Gary Van Cott wrote:
> >I think that in the US we are already preparing a vast number of people
> >be amateur musicians. Think how many people graduate from high school
> >every year having played for at least 6-7 years and who have achieved a
> >level of proficiency sufficient for most community musical organizations,
> >but who have no ambition to be professional musicians.
> >
> >The fact that few of them continue playing suggests factors other than
> >preparation are at work.
> The two factors that I can think of that contribute to this problem are
> 1) Too few amateur community musical organizations, and
> 2) School band programs that suck all the enjoyment out of playing with
> too much emphasis on competition, etc.
> So many kids shove the horn in the closet after high school graduation
> thinking, "Well, I don't have to do THAT anymore!" The good news is that
> that attitude provides a steady supply of little-used pre-owned
> for the market. ;-) I also wonder whether new high school graduates who
> maybe ARE interested in local community bands are put off a bit by the
> generally advanced age of the current membership. Community bands I have
> been associated with are heavily populated by retirees who have returned
> their instruments only AFTER raising families and finishing careers.
> goes DOUBLE for our audiences.) I don't know what can be done to keep
> playing during the immediate post-high school or post-college years when
> many other important life issues are absorbing them.
> Bill Hausmann
> 451 Old Orchard Drive
> Essexville, MI 48732 ICQ UIN 4862265
> If you have to mic a saxophone, the rest of the band is TOO LOUD!
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------


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