Advertising and Web Hosting on Woodwind.Org!

Klarinet Archive - Posting 000270.txt from 2002/06

From: "Dee D. Hays" <>
Subj: Re: [kl] 'Pushing' and 'leading'
Date: Sat, 8 Jun 2002 11:50:24 -0400

----- Original Message -----
From: <>
Subject: [kl] 'Pushing' and 'leading'

> It's probably true, as Dee Hays writes, that,
> >Afterall you don't need to know what an augmented 7th
> >chord is if you just want to play in a community band.
> Yes, but learning that sort of thing isn't a waste of time, whether or not
> someone goes on to earn money with it. IMHO, nearly any musician can
> from the solid grounding in theory and basic clarinet repertory that a
> professional needs. But *withholding* that information and repertory
> *guarantees* that a student won't go far.

No one should not withhold it but if the person who is aspiring for amateur
status isn't interested when the topic is introduced, there is no need to
push it very hard.

> Dee wrote,
> >The budding professional should be pushed as hard
> >and far as the teacher can take them. [snip] 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.
> That sounds reasonable (I won't take the cheap shot, because I know you
> meant to imply that the aspiring professional *shouldn't* "be approached
> the joy of music outlook"), but at what point does the student or the
> *know* who's the budding professional and who's the lifetime amateur? Who
> makes the decision and why and when?

I'm really thinking more of the person who starts later in life OR who has
been a student long enough to have an inkling of what they want. Treating
every student like they are aiming for a career will drive out many
amateurs. The approach really should be a joint decision of teacher and
student. Of course again I'm talking about students that are already
grounded in the basics and have some idea how far they want to pursue it.

> The main problem I have with sending students down a clearly defined
> track or professional track from an early age

Did not mean to imply "at an early age." Some slow starters may be great in
the end. I'm talking about students who have some basic skills and are old
enough to decide where they want to start concentrating.

is that once the kids are
> labelled, it takes them about eight seconds of comparing notes to figure
> that the winners get Mozart while the losers get something with a
> juvenile-sounding title that translates to Muzak for Dummies.

Not talking about this at all. What I was trying to indicate is that a
teacher can be more lenient with the amount of practice between lessons and
the rate of progress. It may be inappropriate or the student whose goal is
to be an engineer while music is their hobby to spend several hours per day

> instinctively know garbage when they smell it. They're not going to open
> wide and slurp it all down. So the amateur-track kids quickly get bored
> discouraged by the crap they have to play while the teacher accuses them
> laziness for not practicing said crap.

Teacher should NEVER stoop to assigning crap. The material should always be
quality material leading to proficiency in playing.

Meanwhile, almost none of the
> pro-track students will end up as professionals.

The quality of material should always be such that the student can decide to
change directions.

And nearly everybody's
> dissatisfied; and for every happy amateur on the klarinet list who somehow
> avoided this trap, probably a hundred or a thousand other ex-students
> play any more. If they think about music at all these days, they go
> schlepping around, whining theme and variations on, "I coulda been a
> contender, but I'm a bum."

It is up to the STUDENT not the teacher as to whether they are a contender.

> If the kids who end up as amateurs will never need to recognize an
> 7th, or will never play a concerto with an orchestra, or will never play
> particularly well, so what? Is it a waste of time for someone to learn,
> the Mozart concerto if he or she will never play it with an orchestra? I
> think not!

See above comments. I advocate quality material just a different time

With the piano reduction, or even with no accompaniment at all,
> it's still the kind of music that's rewarding to practice, the kind that
> makes all the hard work worthwhile, the kind that can inspire the
> late-blooming student to achieve far above the level that a complacent,
> pigeon-holing teacher might have thought possible; and it's the kind of
> that makes students of any level want to come back for more.

Again I'm not talking about the teacher pigeon-holing a student. Instead
teacher and student make a joint decision how far and fast to go using
quality materials.

> I say, encourage all the kids who *want* to learn to achieve as much as
> can. And be careful about assuming you know what a child's ambitions
> be. Kids don't always tell their teachers all their dreams. It's easier
> deny a dream than to defend it against adult skepticism.

The teacher should encourage the students to open up. Also those kids who
want to learn will give some kind of signal (such as diligent practice and
so on).

> By the way, in school, Albert Einstein wasn't much good at math. He
> play the violin well enough to become a pro musician, either, but music
> him think about intervals and wave lengths and things like that. He began
> working out his theory of relativity during spare time from his job as a
> patent clerk. Aleksandr Borodin, a professional scientist, was an amateur
> musician. Charles Ives, who owned an insurance company, wrote his music
> his spare time.

Any student should receive as much training as they desire for as long as
they desire of the quality that they desire.

There's just too many students of all ages who would have made admireable
amateur musicians that bail out when the teacher arbitrarily says "you must
practice an hour every day" or "no we can't work on jazz" because the
teacher treats every student as if the student wants to be a professional.
Students of high school age and older are more than able to make that
decision. And those who decide to take up an instrument later in life are
certainly capable of deciding how diligently to pursue it.

It is the teacher's job to work with the student's goals and desires not to
put the student on any given "track"

Dee Hays


     Copyright © Woodwind.Org, Inc. All Rights Reserved    Privacy Policy    Contact