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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000253.txt from 2002/06

From: "Don Yungkurth" <>
Subj: [kl] Re: 'Pushing' and 'leading'
Date: Sat, 8 Jun 2002 00:28:46 -0400

Tony Pay commented on, rephrased and added to my note on the continuing
subject of "Teaching the 'students' of today", where I was replying to a
note by Dee Hays and others. Since this is getting lengthy, I won't quote
Tony's entire note but will comment, as he requested, on changes and

In referring to the role of the teacher, Tony suggested that the student
should be "led" rather than "pushed". I certainly agree that this is the
better approach. In fact, my second teacher, about 45 years after my
original teacher, used the leading approach quite effectively with me. He
seldom told me anything, but rather set up situations where I discovered
solutions to problems.

For the budding professional, Tony suggests that, "The importance of
communicating the joy of music to a public, what achieving that
communication might involve in detail, and the necessity for the
professional to possess a complete technique so as to do justice to the
music in the process, should always be emphasised."

I would argue that much of this applies as well to the serious amateur.
Obviously the amateur will not likely have a "complete" technique (and may
well do less than "justice" to the music), but the aim of communicating will
still be present. Indeed, about the only time I seem to seriously prepare
my part is when I will be performing in public or "playing through" a work
with musicians I feel play better than I usually do. I need the pressure of
performance to do my best concentration and playing, and playing with better
musicians is about the best incentive I know of, audience or not. I guess
this means I perceive my peers in orchestra or chamber music as "audience".

Tony also suggests that, in reference to the person who is aiming at
lifetime amateur or indicates that they have no interest in being a
professional should [also] be approached from the joy of music outlook, "but
this time less emphasis need be placed on the public perception of what is
achieved. The joy experienced by the student is held as more important. It
is essential that the student understands that in the nature of the
situation the music makes its own demands."

To this I suggest that my joy, as an amateur, *is* in performance. While I
occasionally get some satisfaction out of doing something technically
correct in practice by myself, there is much more pleasure in doing it well
for an audience and hearing positive comments about my performance.
This is true (for me) even though I will trust my own evaluation of my
performance rather than that of an audience member. Simply getting paid
(and therefore being "professional?) doesn't do anything for self esteem,
however. The music certainly does make its own demands - I've learned that
in non-professional groups.

Tony added the words in [] in the following sentence. In retrospect, he
(the teacher) should have found out how much I was willing to do and
[represented more clearly to me what 'better', and even professional
playing, involved].

Yes indeed. This certainly represents what I meant by "pushed" and Tony
corrected with "led".

Don Yungkurth (


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