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Klarinet Archive - Posting 001030.txt from 2003/06

From: Anna Benassi <acb@-----.is>
Subj: [kl] left-handness and conducting classes
Date: Thu, 26 Jun 2003 18:58:33 -0400

I want to being by apologizing if I have missed something pertinent to
this discussion. The posts have been numerous and long, so I may have
bypassed something that was to the point. Be that as it may, I am
emphatically left-handed and have been since my birth a couple hundred
years ago. I've toyed with learning to throw balls and write a lousy
hand with my right, but that's it. I've been a lefty since I popped my
head out, and that's the long and short of it. As regards clarinet
playing, I can't see that -handedness makes much difference. Mastering
the instrument takes so much nit-picking work that one can make great
progress toward overcoming most innate weaknesses after enough work. I
think. I believe my own weaknesses are more due to lack of proper work
than due to -handedness. Others' mileage may vary.

As regards conducting classes, I was lucky enough to take conducting
lessons at Manhattan School of Music with David Gilbert. I had been a
student conductor in high school and therefore had experience (but no
training). David is the son of a left-handed violinist and is quite
liberal toward "the other side." So I had no garbage to deal with,
either from him or from fellow students, who had no trouble following
my beat. David allowed - and encouraged - me to conduct left-handed,
and this, no doubt, made an impact on my fellow students (who
populated the orchestra I was leading in classes).

But, to me, the issue at hand - as regards the difficulty of learning
to conduct with "the other hand" - is due to the age at which most of
us begin to learn conducting. I was 26 or 27 when I took conducting at
MSM. By that time I had been living life as a lefty for over a quarter
of a century. A college-level student who learns conducting at a
"proper age" - i.e., 18 or so - has still been favoring his dominant
hand for nearly two decades. Who would not have trouble changing at
that point in time? Anyone who doubts can try to use a computer mouse
with his non-dominant - or non-accustomed - hand (despite being a
lefty, I use a mouse with my right). It's torture!

The point? None, I guess. Except that anything one is asked to learn
after decades of doing it differently is extremely hard. A teacher who
cannot realize that is blind indeed.

... and now ... back to our regularly scheduled program ... Harry
Potter and the OOP

Anna

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