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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000561.txt from 2004/10

From: "Patricia A. Smith" <>
Subj: [kl] Mozart (and other composers)between (a) rock and a hard place; was,
Date: Thu, 21 Oct 2004 07:35:24 -0400

Adam Michlin wrote:

> I can only defend myself by saying I have introduced hundreds,
> possibly even thousands, of students to the greatness of Mozart by any
> and all means possible. If I am to be condemned for that, I plead
> guilty and beg for mercy from the court.

This is always sticky territory, thus my changing the subject line,
because I think this bears directly upon how we introduce young people
to music, especially the classical genre!

I can understand your pain COMPLETELY! Sometimes, you wish you had a
hammer & not just to hammer in the morning with! *G* (sorry....couldn't

"By any means necessary" has become a mantra in guerrilla tactics to
teach classical music appreciation to kids, and a lot of times, you DO
have to sneak in the back door. I'll NEVER forget Falco's "Rock Me
Amadeus". Though in itself, it was an atrocious whateveritwas,
something like that can definitely be a door opener!

Some of the means I've used in the classroom to help introduce children
to classical music has depended greatly upon the age of the children:

1) direct showing off in general music class with my clarinet, playing
snippets of the Mozart Clarinet Concerto here and there. Little kids
just go "wow!"

2) for older kids, bringing in movie scores, beginning with popular
movies that are scored with music that is in the classical-type genre.
I'll never forget the original hoopla over John Williams' score for the
first Star Wars movie released, Superman, and the subsequent Indiana
Jones flicks, as well as his other scores. This gateway can help also
introduce kids to listening for specific instruments. Later, I like to
introduce more complex composers (an especial favorite of mine is the
orchestral score to the modern classic, Cleopatra. It has some
wonderful percussion scoring, in which individual instruments not only
are easily heard, but are also used to fantastic effect!)

3) Movies about composers' lives that use the composers' original
music. Though the movies are fictionalized accounts, the music in the
background can be brought to the foreground.

4) Some composers' lives lend themselves to some rather interesting
stories, and these are the things that don't get old, even for older
students. If I know the story behind a particular piece of music, it
makes it even more engaging. (One does need to be a good story teller)

Adam, I'd be interested to know more about your teaching: are you in
general music, band, private teaching, choral, or a mix of all of
those? Currently, I'm substitute music teaching, mostly on the
elementary level. (It's kind of fun to get fought over by a pile of
competitive music teachers! *VBEG*)

Patricia Smith

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