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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000959.txt from 2002/06

From: Neil Leupold <leupold_1@-----.com>
Subj: Re: [kl] Re: one-hour warm-up
Date: Wed, 26 Jun 2002 15:32:48 -0400

--- "Forest E. Aten Jr." <forestaten@-----.com> wrote:

> I've never known a symphonic clarinet player, with a job, that didn't
> practice hours each day.

Then we're simply not meeting the same people. Comparing our experiences,
it's plain that there's a mix. When I studied with both Don Carroll and
Dave Neuman of the San Francisco Symphony, they both lamented more than
once over the years the dearth of available time to practice amidst their
busy performance and teaching schedules. Same with Greg Dufford, formerly
of the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra, who also made the disconcerting
statement to me -- in entirely too cheerful a manner, I thought to myself
-- that he'd reached the point where maintaining his bass chops required
practically no practice at all anyway because he was so active on soprano.
I quick session to get his bearings, and he was ready for his next bass
clarinet performance after being off the instrument for a month or more.
Girko made a similar comment to me in a lesson, suggesting that all of
the rehearsing and performing the DSO did was its own kind of practice
(which makes sense) and he was consumed otherwise with cooking and his
SMU students. Ricardo Morales told me over breakfast one morning that
playing at the Met and teaching at MSM was so consuming that he almost
never got a chance to sit down alone and dig into a private practice
session. Thered was an edge of frustration to his demeanor as he said
it.

I could go on and branch out to other instrumentalists -- flutists,
violinists, bassoonists -- in major orchestras. Perhaps these ex-
amples are atypical and, in fact, most major orchestra players are
able to dedicate an hour or more of their time every day to a warmup
routine. Over time, it has certainly developed into an impression for
me that being a top drawer professional is so demanding that many
players lose touch with the routine and the rigorous daily practice
that got them to where they currently are. For those who are able
to maintain the focus, the job itself becomes its own practice rou-
tine, two hour rehearsals more than sufficing for the kind of tech-
nical workout they would prefer to do in isolation.

You've probably had consistently broader exposure and contact with
successful players in major groups than I, so my bias leans against
my own experience, thinking that the people who told me their exper-
iences were actually reflective of a minority among major orchestral
players. With a little digging, I imagine it would be possible to
find a study of exactly this phenomenon, by somebody curious about
the demands of an orchestral career, interviewing multiple such
players as a sample of the general consensus.

Neil

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