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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000960.txt from 2002/06

From: "Forest E. Aten Jr." <>
Subj: Re: [kl] Re: one-hour warm-up
Date: Wed, 26 Jun 2002 15:33:13 -0400


Take Girko for an example....

Girko's complaints were not an indication that he was not practicing. I know
Steve well and have played 100's of hours in ensembles with Steve. Steve
Girko practices everyday...and quite a lot.

A few observations...

1 Steve had his first hour of practice in each day before most citizens of
Dallas were awake. Work on Concertos and recital piece work was done before
his first rehearsal with the Sym at 10 am.
2 There have never been very many clarinet students at SMU. I taught on the
faculty at SMU for several years and have a graduate degree from SMU. I know
Paul Garner (Eb clarinet, associate prin. Dallas Sym.) who teaches at SMU
now and he has more students now than any other teacher in the history of
the school. Steve Girko may have taught 6 or so students each week at
SMU....while I taught 3 or 4. Not enough to be any huge crunch of time.
Steve lived close to SMU when in Dallas.

Trust me....Steve Girko practices and he practices hours each day. He is one
of the most disciplined players I know.

At times I'll complain about not having ENOUGH time to practice even when I
am spending hours at true practice (not rehearsal) each day. It is simply a
reflection of the amount of work I have to get done. I think that if you go
back and ask the professionals you know....they will tell you the same
thing. They are practicing....they just feel like they need MORE time to get everything they are doing to the level they feel
represents a top professional job.



----- Original Message -----
From: "Neil Leupold" <>
Subject: Re: [kl] Re: one-hour warm-up

> --- "Forest E. Aten Jr." <> 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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