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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000303.txt from 2004/10

Subj: RE: [kl] Differing skill levels
Date: Sat, 9 Oct 2004 18:19:31 -0400


This discussion is a reminder to me about an experience that I had several years ago. When I was in my twenties, I thought very highly of my ability as a clarinetist. At the same time, my Dad, who was a bandsman from the WWII era was playing regularly in a community band here in Tucson. I can still hear him playing the snare drum perfectly as the clarinet section screeched through traditional military marches.

Most of the time, I didn't join him, even though he absolutely loved my being there and he beamed with pride whenever we played together. The clarinets were also very congenial and appreciated my comfort in the altissimo range. The group was a little out of tune and the approximate attitude toward ensemble brought me a lot of frustration at the time.

The bottom line is that I feel badly about not spending every available minute with him when I could. The community band is indicative of a unique genre that may not be with us for long. Community bands are typically a mixmash of skilled and unskilled, serious and casual, old and young, etc., etc.,

Now I still appreciate it just as much when I have an opportunity to sit with talented players who adjust on the fly and carefully woodshed every difficult passage BEFORE rehearsals. On the other hand, I also am content to "turn the other cheek" when I sit down with a less focused group and enjoy the ride.

Community bands are the best thing since mom and apple pie. Instead of looking at the "higher bar", now I simply sit down anywhere that I am needed and soak up the love, old freindships, parents and kids along with teachers and students. I think my listening skills have improved because I am hearing a lot more than intonation when I am there.

From my perspecive, I think the added tolerance is paying off handsomely. If only we could find a snare drummer like Dad!

Rich Watson

In a message dated 10/9/2004 3:49:23 PM Eastern Daylight Time, "Christy Erickson" <> writes:

>Adam,  Your note is humorous but the sad part is this.  There are probably
>those who have fun listening to this group and playing music with them and
>there are those of us who would like to raise the standards.  I know many
>who have made negative comments about this group and they would not come to
>listen to us play.  It doesn't have anything to do with the type of music
>played at all but rather the quality of the music that is played.  With the
>large number of unfavorable remarks I've heard, I would say it's really not
>just me.
>    I'm sure we all had fun experiences like you have described here back in
>middle school or high school but just as we matured physically and
>emotionally, we also matured musically somewhere along the line, especially
>if we decided to devote most of our time to this endeavor.
>    Your point about photocopied music is well taken but most composers I've
>known don't compose music for the exclusive purpose of making money.  It
>sure is nice when they do make a profit but I know of very few people who
>choose to compose music for a living.  By the way, we never use photocopied
>music when we play.  We have an extensive library that goes back many years
>and some of it is becoming very fragile.
>    I agree that it would be very difficult and probably impossible at this
>point in our area to start a professional band.  I should add that our city
>actually pays us (not much) to play in this group and I think it gives us
>some responsibility to give a good performance.  With budgets being the way
>they are, and the poor quality of some of the performances, I would say it's
>quite likely the pay will disappear if the quality does not go up.  We do
>have good amateurs.  Some are truly very good and others have great
>potential to be good players.  It's just a matter of someone taking the
>initiative to say, "Heh, you guys have potential and let's offer some
>incentives to work a little harder."  Auditions would definitely be a
>motivator for some and a deterrent for others but we would have to start
>P.S.  What do you say we both together for a tennis match?  We could film it
>and the proceeds could be used to buy more music for the band?
>Klarinet is a service of Woodwind.Org, Inc.

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