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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000353.txt from 2003/10

From: Deidre Calarco <>
Subj: Re: [kl] band directors
Date: Sun, 12 Oct 2003 09:35:19 -0400

> i'm amazed. In australia, kids have lessons and after a year probably join a
> band. The top bands at high school would have 99% of their students having
> tuition, and the director merely conducts and does not teach in rehersal
> time. Music is seen as a fun thing, but i wouldn't say it's to let off
> steam- sport is seen for that here.

Ironically, many students take sports more seriously than music here; they'd
never skip training, practice, or workouts, but they wouldn't think twice
about just playing in the band for fun and never practicing. The people in
the top bands do generally practice, but many don't study privately. There
are also students who treat music like a sport; they work hard, study
privately, and are very competitive. Unfortunately, the music sometimes
gets lost in the process of building skills and trying to be the best.

This has probably been going on for a very long time. I know some pretty
old people (there are probably some on this list) who love to play an
instrument, have played since they were in school, and have never taken a
lesson. I have a great uncle who's that type of clarinetist. He started
playing in his school band and taught himself to play along with jazz
recordings. He still plays regularly to this day, and he really enjoys it.

We had a visit when I was in high school and he was newly retired. The two
of us took out our clarinets to play together. Culture shock! He plays by
ear and can improvise. He has a jazz sound, and not a very well controlled
one, and his reading isn't great. I couldn't improvise and hadn't tried to
play by ear since I started taking lessons, but had my well-trained
classical sound and could sight read almost anything. It was as if we
played different instruments.

I wouldn't put down his way of being a musician, though. Improvisation and
playing by ear are just as useful and difficult to learn as sight reading
and producing a pure, controlled sound. He kept playing over the years and
I didn't. Trying to be a good classical player is demanding and high
maintenance, but there are other ways to play. Actually, I'm looking for
one now. Any suggestions? LOL.


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