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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000229.txt from 2002/06

From: "Don Yungkurth" <>
Subj: [kl] Teaching the 'students' of today
Date: Fri, 7 Jun 2002 10:52:41 -0400

In response to Lelia Loban, Neil Leupold and others, Dee Hays said:

>The budding professional should be pushed as hard and far as the teacher
>take them. When they reach that teacher's limit, they should be handed
>to a more advanced teacher. The teacher needs to emphazsize the importance
>of practice shedules and so. Of course the teacher can't be a slave driver
>or remove the fun but it does need to be a more serious, structured
>approach. Theory should also be heavily incorporated.

>The person who is aiming at lifetime amateur or indicates that they have no
>interest in being a professional should be approached from the joy of music
>outlook. If the student wants to work at a slower pace or different
>repertoire or doesn't have the desire to practice two hours a day, that
>should be considered ok. The student just needs to be enjoying the lesson
>and making some improvement. Theory doesn't need as much attention.
>Afterall you don't need to know what an augmented 7th chord is if you just
>want to play in a community band.

I understand this distinction and feel that often teachers *do* make these
decisions, but perhaps do it too early in the study of an instrument. In my
case, it would have been a great help in my lifetime of amateur clarinet
playing, if my first teacher had made the effort to find out how serious I
was about playing the clarinet well, for whatever reason.

While I was taking lessons during my high school years, I essentially did
whatever I was asked to do by my teacher. I don't ever recall having to
repeat exercises because I hadn't done the work necessary. In retrospect,
he should have found out how much I was willing to do and pushed me
harder. I certainly didn't know at the time what would be useful to me in
later years as a player or know enough to ask intelligent questions, but he
certainly should have. He had serious professional training (with Simeon
Bellison) and was a fine player.

I doubt very much that being pushed by that teacher would have made me
decide to go into music professionally, but it would have made my life as an
amateur easier.

I guess my point in all of this rambling is to take a slightly different
stance than that of Dee's first sentence in the quote above. I would modify
it as follows:

The music student (rather than the "budding professional") should be pushed
as hard and far as the teacher can take them. It shouldn't matter whether
the student ends up as a dropout, an amateur or a professional. The teacher
should give him/her whatever possible at a pace that the student will
accept. After all, in the early years of music lessons, neither the teacher
or the student probably has a clue how music will play a part in the
student's life.

Don Yungkurth (


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