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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000287.txt from 2004/10

From: Adam Michlin <>
Subj: RE: [kl] Differing skill levels
Date: Sat, 9 Oct 2004 14:02:27 -0400


You make some fine points. I would, however, point out if the musicians
playing the free concert are having fun and the people in the park are
having fun. Where exactly is the problem? The two earliest defining musical
moments of my life are getting to play (clarinet!) on "Eye of the Tiger" in
summer band camp between by 4th and 5th grade year and getting to hear a
middle school play (butchering, undoubtedly, in hindsight)the theme from
the movie Superman. So, I can say that I owe any success I have had to
being inspired by "bad" music played "badly". Mozart would come later, but
I've already told that story.

I should point out that I'm very much in the Duke Ellington school of
"There are only two types of music, good and the other kind." Where I
define, and like to think Ellington defined, "good" as music you like to
listen to as opposed to music you don't like to listen to. I absolutely
detest the taste police going around telling people what they should like
and shouldn't like. Expose them to your own version of "good" music, don't
tell them they're wrong for liking the music they like.

You argue in favor of the composer, something I cannot fault you for and,
in fact, think more people need to do. However, the living composers are
probably much more irritated by all the community bands playing on illegal
photocopied music (a huge problem in all the community bands I know of)
than by how well or not well their music is played. I really doubt they're
worried about The Outer Mongolia Community Band butchering their (legally
purchased) music. If nothing else, I think they'd be rather proud to know
people are having fun playing their music and other people are enjoying
listening to it. I know they like being able to put food on their table.

As to the deceased composers... well... they're dead. We can and should
advocate for them in proxy by trying to expose people to better playing and
higher performance standards, but never by telling people they're wrong for
enjoying either playing or listening to the music. If you're not having fun
playing the music, why bother? Fame? Fortune? I think not.

Long story short, start your own band. I warn you, however, that trying to
get a professional ensemble together without paying said professionals is a
bit like herding cats. Better to find very good amateurs. It can be, and
has been, done.


PS: I should add that I have a very different opinion about performance
standards at the K-12 and collegiate level where the primary goal should be
education first with fun a distant second place finisher.

PPS: Some people have, in fact, come out to watch me play tennis. It can be
quite a comical experience! Ok, I exaggerate.. but not by much.

At 12:16 PM 10/9/2004 -0500, Christy Erickson wrote:
>Adam, Thanks for the note. I understand where you are coming from on this
>but don't you think that when a composer writes a piece of music, he or she
>has a certain performance standard/sound in mind? Aren't we doing a bit of
>an injustice to the music if we schlop through it "just for fun?" I'd be
>interested to hear from some of the composers here as to what their opinion
>is on this one.

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