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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000242.txt from 2003/10

From: "Christy Erickson" <perickso@-----.net>
Subj: RE: [kl] [clarinet] reeds for beginners?/motivation
Date: Wed, 8 Oct 2003 23:51:12 -0400

Sometimes I wonder why those of us who survive all the bad reeds,(Ricos =
or
whatever), bad mouthpieces, pain, failed performances, etc.. are still =
here.
Perhaps there are only a few of us tough enough to impose this much =
abuse on
ourselves. In the end, aren't we really all competing with ourselves
anyway? We're always striving to hear that sound we want to produce and
going to the ends of the earth to achieve that sound.=20
Sometimes I really wish there were more of us so interested in =
playing
this instrument and I know in my heart that for those of us with an
intensely keen interest in this endeavor, it probably wouldn't have made =
any
difference what reed, mouthpiece, instrument, etc..., we started on. =
Most
likely we would have somehow found the equipment we needed somehow. =
Perhaps
it's a genetic thing and someone could clone us. (If anyone were to =
clone
me though, I certainly want a few improvements and updates on the model
number.) It's difficult to understand why someone else would not enjoy
playing the clarinet like I do, but then again, I hate football, for
example. (Shhh, don't tell anyone, since I live in Green Bay Packer
territory) That keen interest, enthusiasm and joy is exactly the spark =
that
inspires our students I think and the minute we start to think of it as =
a
mundane activity we must do, or a chore, the spark and the joy =
disappears,
as well as the interest.
When I look back on it, I know I would have given up if it were not =
for
the teachers and parents I was fortunate enough to have. Even when I =
began
to hate it, they were able to inspire me to continue, despite failed
performances, bad auditions, or any number of negative experiences I can
think of. My parents always supported me and gladly purchased whatever =
the
teacher recommended for me. I've had students who may seem as though =
they
would never be able play a clarinet or a piano even respectably in the
beginning who if pushed too hard or not given encouragement, would have =
quit
very early on. I've had many who continued to play for the sheer joy of
making music, with the support of their parents in partnership with me =
and
I'm happy if they can accomplish that.=20
Discouragement can come in so many forms to a child. This could =
include
the anger or disapproval of a parent who has to purchase a new box of =
reeds,
a new mouthpiece, or more music after already having the expense of
purchasing/renting the instrument, purchasing music, obtaining private
lessons, you name it. It could be in the form of disapproval from their
peers, the band director or private teacher if they aren't able to play =
on a
harder reed, or develop the technique needed to play a difficult passage =
or
phrase, forget their music that day, can't use the expected or "required
fingering," don't seem to learn things as fast as others, etc..=20
Communication is so important between teacher and student and =
perhaps
that's the heart of my message here. We may have certain expectations =
but
our students need to be equal partners and participants in the teaching
process. Our public schools (at least here in the U.S) tend to place =
far
too much focus on "what the teacher says is what goes" and often the =
kids
have little to no opportunity to participate in the decision making and =
the
learning process and it's getting to the point where the teachers don't
either. The teachers often have no idea why a particular student =
behaves
the way they do or how they feel and the kids are truly afraid to say
anything. Sometimes, it's simply due to the fact that there isn't =
enough
time to devote to one child and to foster open communication.
This is a golden opportunity for those of us who are private =
teachers
to foster and encourage this two-way partnership and communication with =
our
students. Perhaps, this is easier for me due to the fact that I do not =
have
curriculum standards to meet, rigid schedules to adhere to, principals
watching every move I make, parents who are not supportive, and kids who =
are
in a class simply because they must be. I have the luxury to take the =
time
needed and the freedom to put aside the directed curriculum to spend =
more
time on any problems a music student may be having. I always tell my
students' parents they have truly given me a gift to be able be a part =
of
their children's lives in this way but I wish more children and teachers
could be given this gift. Many children in our busy world probably =
spend
more time in a week with their private music teacher one-on-one than =
they do
with any one teacher in school all week- or worse, more time than they =
spend
with a parent in a one-on-one situation.
I know I've wandered far off topic here but I believe the topic and =
my
thoughts here are all tied together and I hope I've made sense at this =
late
hour. =20
Christy=20

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