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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000417.txt from 2003/10

From: Bill Hausmann <>
Subj: RE: [kl] [clarinet] reeds for beginners?
Date: Tue, 14 Oct 2003 06:33:08 -0400

At 09:49 PM 10/13/2003 -0500, you wrote:
>There is a definite difference in what is available in what states! Coming
>from the middle of Wyoming, we had to rent our own instruments, there were
>no band programs of any sort in grade school (at least in my school -- just
>a general "make a piano out of popsicle sticks" program); one band teacher
>for the middle school (who regularly sat and chewed on his beard during
>class), one for the high school; there were no private teachers living
>within a couple of hours of where I lived until I was in my latter years of
>high school (and he drove over an hour, I believe, to come to my town and
>give lessons); I was never given any sort of private lesson, or any
>sustained clarinet "group" lessons (one here or there if the section sounded
>particularly awful) until I was able to hook up with the afore-mentioned
>long-driving teacher when I was a junior (almost a senior), I certainly was
>never told what strength of reed to use by a band director -- just whatever
>the music store had or provided with the rental horn (the ONE music store,
>which I think is now defunct); there was one theory class available to
>upper-division students in high school; no orchestra, of course(I was a
>junior before I had ever heard a bowed orchestral instrument live and in
>person). I was in college before I knew that mouthpieces and ligatures could
>come in so many varieties! (And of course we had to walk to school 20 miles
>in 50 below zero weather, uphill both ways :)! )Of course, a lack of
>population makes it very difficult to really provide comprehensive education
>in the arts, when it's a stretch just trying to get someone to come and
>teach people how to read and write. And there are other parts of the state
>that actually have enough people to have student orchestras (a small
>handful). It wasn't particularly helpful that my parents aren't very
>musically inclined, so they never went out of their way to drive hours to go
>to concerts and such (some people do), and never listened to anything but
>pop music, and didn't have the means most of my youth to afford lessons,
>anyway. One can never place all the blame on others, though, I don't
>suppose I was fired up enough about it at the time to really go the extra
>(few) mile(s) to help out my own playing. The end result for me, though, was
>that I was constantly having to play "catch-up" in college, which made it
>very, very frustrating (I still am, in a major way, though I'm a few years
>out now). Now I "know" more than I can conveniently assimilate physically,
>because so little was required and/or known early on, and I don't know where
>to start learning what I now know I don't know! (good luck untying that

The variation is not just by state. In Michigan, I know of one school
district (Saginaw) where instruments are provided for all students in band
who want them (at a nominal fee of $30-40/year). Another district
(Midland) provides instruments for all band students (free, I believe) for
the FIRST year. After that you need to get your own (unless you play tuba
or bassoon or something like that). And there is even a small rural
district up in the northern area of the "thumb" of Michigan that has
MANDATORY band (with instruments provided) for ALL students. Beyond that,
the programs vary WILDLY from district to district.

Bill Hausmann

If you have to mic a saxophone, the rest of the band is TOO LOUD!

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