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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000428.txt from 2003/10

From: Randy Ratzlaff <>
Subj: Re: [kl] [clarinet] reeds for beginners?
Date: Tue, 14 Oct 2003 21:43:30 -0400

Good Evening.....I'm back.

Here is my situation. I really do not want to discuss my teaching
location. That is really not the issue. I have been here 19 years.
They are tremendously supportive of the band program. We have
tremendous communication with administrators. They help us all they can
and they do listen (and care).

We have 4 teachers who teach at the intermediate school. I do saxes
and clarinets, another does flutes/double reeds, another does brass
(trumpet class and a low brass class), and the non-musician on the staff
teaches percussion........just kidding. I also teach the top two middle
school bands.......with help from the other staff members. The flute
teacher covers the 3rd middle school band. She and the other two folks
assist the high school band director.

Our only full band rehearsals are the day before and the day of a
concert or music festival. The principal allows the students to miss
their afternoon classes to rehearse.

My students can rent or purchase, but all instruments must have band
director approval. Most of my beginners start on an E-11. We send a
letter home stating the type of instruments/mouthpieces we will
approve. a student not allowed to be in the band
program if they do not have an "approved" instrument. If the family
income is a situation then we find a solution. However, all beginners
start on instruments that we approve. Experience has taught us that
most of the students finish their high school band career with the
instrument they started with.......that is how my community is. A
"get-by beginner horn" will prove to be a disaster at the high school

The mouthpiece situation is such that the music stores that rent the
horns put the recommended mouthpiece in with the clarinet. In the other
cases, I purchase mouthpieces from a non-local store. They are about
50% off. I pass that savings on to the students. I even allow parents
to pay off the mouthpieces over several months. Very rarely do I get


On Sunday, October 12, 2003, at 10:51 AM, Christy Erickson wrote:

> 27 beginning students at a time?! I think the most I've ever done was
> perhaps 7 or 8 in one class during band camps. Where on earth do you
> work,
> if you don't mind my asking? Someone needs to talk to your
> administrators
> and school board about that. Yikes! What I find interesting is the
> fact
> that the school can even schedule 27 at a time for a band lesson like
> this.
> Our kids here have so many different class schedules it would be
> impossible.
> Individual band lessons are scheduled during the kids' study halls and
> they
> have a full band rehearsal every other day at 7th grade level and every
> day
> at 8th grade level.
> Our 2 elementary instrumental music teachers are split between the
> district's 5 elementary schools with usually about 8 kids in a band
> lesson
> for 45 minutes about once a week. The 5th and 6th graders have a full
> band
> rehearsal after school once a week at our junior high.
> Do your kids rent their instruments or do they purchase them? How
> do
> you manage to have them all using the same mouthpiece?
> Christy
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