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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000239.txt from 2003/10

From: "Christy Erickson" <>
Subj: RE: [kl] [clarinet] reeds for beginners?
Date: Wed, 8 Oct 2003 22:27:35 -0400

Some sixth graders could perhaps do this, but from my experience, most =
without difficulty and younger kids certainly aren't able to do this =
extreme difficulty. It also depends on the child's physical size and
strength and we can't expect them to do what an adult would be able to =
What's the point really in creating a potentially very difficult =
for a beginner on any instrument? These kids end up with sores on their
lips, thumbs that feel as though they are ready to break under the sheer
weight of the clarinet at the beginning level, sore teeth from getting
accustomed to the embouchure, and dizziness from moving all that air =
the instrument. Sometimes, I think it's a wonder most of them continue =
I think most of us tend to forget what we went through in learning to =
our clarinets (or any instrument) Is there a race or a contest of some =
you are trying to get these kids in shape to win or do you REALLY want =
to enjoy playing an instrument? =20
Some kids will naturally take a longer period of adjustment time than
others and the muscles and wind capacity needed to play a wind =
ought to be built up gradually, taking into consideration the child's
physical growth and development, which will vary tremendously from child =
child. I'm really not trying be adversarial here. I guess its just my
philosophy and style that I've developed from years of experience =
with hundreds of children in many different capacities. Music ought to =
be a
joy to experience and to create-not a chore or a military style duty to
fulfill or a competition to win. To me, your program sounds more like =
training than learning to play the clarinet. =20
Incidentally, where on earth do you work? How do you have the =
to experiment like this with mouthpieces and barrels? I suppose you =
know that this is of course, a rather ideal situation but I'm afraid =
most of
us don't have the ability to do this. Band directors here have barely
enough time to give each kid 1 half hour individual lesson every 8 or 10
days and a very large group band rehearsal several times a week at the
seventh grade level, much less the money available to purchase all this
extra equipment. In our district its far less than that for 5th and 6th
graders. Your system may work for you, but at what cost in dollars and =
what cost to the kids in terms of their ability to truly enjoy the
experience without feeling as though they must be more concerned about
pleasing the band director than in learning to love music? =20


> Good Evening!
> I am one of those "insane" band directors and a clarinet player.
> Yes, I start my 6th grade beginner clarinets on Vandoren #3 with 5RV
> lyre mouthpiece. I have had tremendous success with it. Yes, we do a
> lot of breathing exercises. We spend a couple of weeks just on
> mouthpieces and barrels until the embouchures / air / posture / tone =
> established.
> Like I said, it works for me, just as your system seems to work for =
> "insane" band director

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