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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000290.txt from 2004/10

From: "Christy Erickson" <>
Subj: RE: [kl] Differing skill levels
Date: Sat, 9 Oct 2004 15:21:45 -0400

I guess perhaps the biggest problem is not with those who would like to =
better and work to do just that, it's with those who don't really have =
idea that their skills are not what they perceive them to be. Some of =
have become far to comfortable with the current "pecking order" and use
intimidation tactics, rather than practice to do what they want to do. =
also think a better term for these people might be "less experienced,"
rather than inferior. This has been mentioned by some and I believe it =
the source of my own frustration. I have great admiration and the =
respect for someone who honestly tries, works at it and gives it their =
shot but I know that many really don't care. We have quite a few who I
believe could be playing far better than they do but they really don't =
at it. The evidence is there in the form of an unwillingness to =
purchase a
new reed or mouthpiece, maintain their instrument or to even carry a
fingering chart with them to a rehearsal, not to mention flabby =
that give away that fact that some of these folks don't play more than =
a week. I know who is really trying because the evidence is there in =
improvements I hear when they play. If a player really wanted to make
improvements, they would take the extra 10 seconds to look up a =
and practice playing that new note before they get to a rehearsal. If I
didn't know how to finger the notes in the altissimo range, much less =
how to
play them, I wouldn't not only ask, but INSIST upon playing a first part =
a Sousa march, for example, but yet we do have people who do exactly =
It never ceases to amaze me.
Most of my piano students could work far harder and they have lots =
potential but they simply aren't motivated to try harder, unless they =
they need to give a solo performance. In a group, people can pretend, =
"hide" behind the other players but there is no chance to do that in a =
performance or an audition. =20
It would be like the beginning level tennis player who insisted on
playing matches only with the pros. Yes, I suppose one could learn quite =
bit by playing with a pro, but I don't know any pro tennis players who =
be willing to play with a beginner just for fun or give that instruction =
free, nor would I expect them to do so. I would sign up for tennis =
and get some instruction from a good teacher if I were serious about it.
Now, of course, I would do this if I knew that I wasn't a very good
tennis player and I truly wanted to improve my playing skills. I =
suppose I
could fool myself and try to fool everyone else and sign myself up to =
in a pro tennis match, but I would have no prayer of winning. I would =
no idea what would happen if I took the steps necessary to learn to play
better and I put in the extra time necessary to do that, if I didn't try =
I wasn't willing to put in some extra time. =20
In the same way, I guess the idea of auditions for parts would give
players a more objective view of their own playing skills and a better =
of what they needed to do to improve or keep up their skill level, as =
as better match parts to the players skill level. As someone else
mentioned, we do need ALL the parts and I have played second and third =
when help was needed but there are those who absolutely refuse to do =
The fact is, they would do far better on a second or third part than =
they do
trying to squeak out the higher notes in a first part but someone first =
break the old pecking order that has been set up over many years time. =
my opinion, it is the responsibility of the band director to do that if =
wants to improve the quality of the group's performances but I suspect =
he is
afraid that we won't have many players if auditions are required to =
to the group. =20
For those of you who have gone through a change in a performance =
like this, what did happen? Did many quit or shy away from the group
because of the auditions? Knowing the group we have here, I think there =
quite a few who would be VERY intimidated by the idea of auditions for =
and some would be likely to throw a tantrum and stomp away if they =
get to keep their chair. =20


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