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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000302.txt from 2003/10

From: Randy Ratzlaff <>
Subj: Re: [kl] [clarinet] reeds for beginners?
Date: Thu, 9 Oct 2003 23:03:28 -0400

Let me do some more sharing....
In regards to my method of mouthpiece/barrel playing.=A0 There is too =
to discuss to cover all factors, but here=A0are=A0some basic=A0reasons =
for my=20
First of all........they do not make =BD=A0 size or 3/4 size clarinets =
violins, cellos, etc.=A0 You are giving a 6th grader (or younger) an=20
adult-sized instrument.=A0 It is a tough horn to control physically, let=20=

alone making a musical sound at the very start of their "playing =
=46rom day one I get them to form their embouchure with just the=20
mouthpiece and barrel (the barrel just takes the edge off the=20
"screaming" mouthpiece sound.......kinda....and it also gives them more=20=

to hold on to.).=A0They have nothing else to concern themselves=20
with.....other than body posture and air.=A0 No juggling act is required=20=

on the first day of playing.=A0 Yes, I do spend several weeks on=20
mouthpieces.=A0=A0 ain't pretty, but in those several weeks =
are developing the proper embouchure.=A0 During this time I also start=20=

them tonguing.=A0 Again, no fingers are required or weight training to=20=

control the entire clarinet.=A0 It takes a lot of positive reinforcement=20=

and creativity=A0to make this work.=A0 I have them do a lot matching=20
mouthpiece pitch with me......very critical.
The students also learn to play a variety of rhythms during this time.=A0=20=

So, other than the upper joint, lower joint, and bell, they are playing=20=

a lot of different things.........always stressing correct posture, air,=20=

embouchure, tonguing, and counting.=A0 Also during this time (an ear =
for me)..............I teach them how to assemble their clarinets,=20
properly care for their horns, reed care, read music ( a la lines &=20
spaces/basic terms/basic symbols/etc.).
When "the day" finally arrives, I believe my students have a lot of=20
success the first time they try to play on the entire clarinet.=A0 Yes,=20=

there are always a few that forget what they have been working on and=20
the embouchure goes crazy. I do believe they benefit from not having=20=

so much to deal with at one time on the first day......embouchure,=20
posture, air, hand position, correct fingers, weight of instrument.=A0 =
of the time....if you get the teaching right .......the embouchure stays=20=

intact and the initial tone is at least ok.
Next time you hear a poor clarinet tone, ask them to play on their mp=20
/barrel.=A0=A0=A0 And.....when you hear a good tone ....have the student =
the mp/barrel.=A0 You will goes the mouthpiece/so goes =
entire clarinet.
I do discuss what we do and why with the parents at our "meet the=20
teacher night" at our school.=A0 I feel they have their confidence in=20
me......I try hard not to disappoint.
So there it is...........give me your best shot :-)=A0
It has been successful for=A0my students.

On Thursday, October 9, 2003, at 12:39 PM, Sue Raycraft wrote:

> Christy,
> I am not disagreeing with you and Nancy; I was simply tying to point =
> that what works for Randy and his students is just another way of =
> it, not necessarily wrong, just different.
> Keep in mind that he is working with a large classroom full of =
> (which can never be the same as one-on-one private lessons.)
> I can't imagine a student taking private lessons and being made to =
> on
> the mouthpiece/barrel for two full weeks, but in Randy's particular
> classroom
> situation it must work. If it didn't, he probably would have stopped=20=

> doing
> it
> that way.
> Sue
> From: "Christy Erickson"
>> Sue, I think you're right. I guess my point though is, that "one =
> does
>> not fit all" for every student.
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------
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