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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000057.txt from 2004/10

From: "Chuck Currie" <>
Subj: RE: [kl] Clarinet vs Saxophone popularity
Date: Mon, 4 Oct 2004 11:44:08 -0400

Regarding saxophone versus clarinet popularity, and balancing school =

St George's School ( a private school in Vancouver, BC, for boys from =
5 to 12) has a great music program with 4 full time teachers/band =
and 14 private instructors. All boys in grade 5 are automatically in =
music program and private lessons are vigorously encouraged. =20

They start with half a year on clarinet and half a year on trumpet, and =
choose between a woodwind, brass or percussion for grade 6. No one is
allowed to play saxophone until grade 7, as it is just too popular and =
would have far too many of them.

At the end of Grade 6, anyone who would like to play saxophone, =
auditions on
their current horn for the privilege. The top 3 young musicians are =
to make the switch. As the saxophone instructor, I am blessed with the =
cream of the crop. I encourage any clarinetists to keep playing the
instrument and become "doublers." I have one student playing Soprano =
Sax in
a quartet, Clarinet in band and Alto Sax in stage band. =20

My current "prodigy" is playing cello, trombone, piano and saxophone,
practicing 4 hours per day in Grade 7! St Georges does have students =
join the program from other schools in later grades and if they already =
saxophone, they can continue to do so. =20

This policy helps keeps the ensembles in balance. The senior school has =
concert bands, a symphonic wind ensemble, and two jazz bands. The wind
ensemble and top jazz band have musicians selected by audition and play =
at a
very high level.

Chuck Currie
Sax Noir Studio
604 254-9625
604 970-2694
2105 E 3rd Avenue
Vancouver, BC
V5N 1H9

-----Original Message-----
From: Adam Michlin []=20
Sent: Monday, October 04, 2004 7:08 AM
Subject: [kl] Clarinet popularity was: [kl] Re: Another Clarinet Faculty

As a popular instrument the clarinet went out of style right around 1945 =

(May 16th at 2:15PM to be exact. Honest!) You can blame Charlie Parker =
John Coltrane (and, later, rock bands... guitar/bass/drums, oh my!).

As a band instrument, I think it went out of style right around the time =

that band directors decided to let kids play anything they wanted. Thus =
born the "band" of 15 saxophones, 15 flutes, 10 drummers (0=20
percussionists), 5 clarinets, 2 trumpets, and one trombone player. If =
think the clarinet is out of style, try talking to some professional=20
trombone players!

Note that I don't necessarily advocate forcing kids to play instruments=20
they aren't interested in, but I do feel that if band directors are =
simply on their students immediate preference (typically based on what =
have seen on TV... when was the last time you saw a clarinet player on a =

broadcast network or MTV?) we're going to have a serious shortage of=20
educated players in the coming years. I would hazard to propose we =
have such a shortage (although certainly not on this list).

Play the kids some Eddie Daniels, some Robert Marcellus, some Andy =
some <insert your favorite artist here>. The clarinet might just be a =
more interesting.

Then again, most band directors don't know of these artists. They don't=20
even play Mozart and Bach for the kids. And we wonder why our symphony=20
halls are half empty...


(Who owes whatever success as a musician he has had to literally =
on a Sony budget recording of the Mozart Clarinet Concerto in the cut =
bins of a pop music store by none other than Robert Marcellus. Little =
Adam understand at the time.)

At 07:34 AM 10/4/2004 -0400, ThomasEpix wrote:
>I don't know that clarinet is going "out" per se - I think it's more =
>with the evolution of "Kenny G" and all those lite sax players, sax is
>"cool" and more kids want to play it, that's all. I think they see it =
>a lot more than they do clarinet, and that's another reason.
>The shame of it is, you really don't need more than 4-5 sax players in =
>high school band (one on a part, an extra for jazz band) because they =
>louder than the whole band....let alone the clarinet section........

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