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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000297.txt from 2004/10

From: "Erik Tkal" <>
Subj: RE: [kl] Differing skill levels
Date: Sat, 9 Oct 2004 17:44:34 -0400

Another issue in a formal group, especially amateur or community, is that
those who are just there for fun and along for the ride, no matter how
enjoyable for them, can in fact bring down the overall sound of the group.
Now all groups have expenses, such as conductor, concertmaster/mistress,
ringers to fill out the sections, rehearsal and performance hall rental,
music, performance fees, programs and flyers, etc. If the group sounds
terrible then fewer people will come to the concerts and sponsors won't be
as willing. One of the groups I'm in is trying really hard to make ends meet
as an organization, our conductor gets a pittance. We need to buy tympani.
If we don't get the competence level up some then we will find ourselves
dangerously close to having to fold. It also seems close to impossible to
get some people to contribute donations themselves (we are asking for that
this year for the first time). The better group I play in has no problems
getting everyone to chip in $50 a year for a donation. True, there are some
slackers, but there are also a few who contribute $100-$500, which makes up
for it. But if a community group cannot sustain itself then there is little
point in its existence, and members who have little musical talent and have
no desire to get better really should not put the rest of the group in that


Christy Erickson wrote:
> I guess perhaps the biggest problem is not with those who
> would like to play better and work to do just that, it's with
> those who don't really have any idea that their skills are
> not what they perceive them to be. Some of them have become
> far to comfortable with the current "pecking order" and use
> intimidation tactics, rather than practice to do what they
> want to do. I 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 is the source of my own frustration. I have great
> admiration and the utmost respect for someone who honestly
> tries, works at it and gives it their best 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 work 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 embouchures
> that give away that fact that some of these folks don't play
> more than once a week. I know who is really trying because
> the evidence is there in the 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 fingering 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 on a Sousa
> march, for example, but yet we do have people who do exactly that.
> It never ceases to amaze me.

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