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Klarinet Archive - Posting 001001.txt from 2004/10

From: "Kevin Fay" <>
Subj: RE: [kl] confidence in the band program
Date: Sun, 31 Oct 2004 22:04:30 -0500

Kurt Heisig posted:

<<<There is little if any reward on average or poor equipment. There is
HUGE reward with equipment that works VERY well!

The first thing that we tell all of the kids is a good mouthpiece.

Brasses---CG Personal for trumpet, cornet and flugelhorn. Trombone
---Schilke 52, Euphonium 52D in Gold, French Horn Schilke 32 or better =
32 in
Gold, Bass Trombone Schilke 60, and Tuba Conn Helleberg.

Wdwds---clarinet Morgan Protone, same for saxes. Of course, my classical
mouthpieces for as many of the kids as will buy them.

Reeds, generally Vandoren regular cuts. We also have some super exciting
Buffet # 2 1/2, and 3 in stock---GREAT STUFF!!!

Instruments---Flute Jupiter 511N (they now seem to have bought the
silver-plate MYTH!), clarinets---Buffet B12 (not B10!!!!) with the ring =
pads changed out ---smaller, thinner, harder pads. Saxes ---Jupiter =
I do up to $300 labor to to improve them! Trumpets ---Jupiter. Trombones
---Besson, though they seem to no longer be interested in selling the =
models they used to make. So it appears there is not a good student =
currently made. Euphonium---B&S. French Horn---CONN 8D!!! (only good

Respectfully - this is intensely wrongheaded, on a couple of different

It's hard to get any results out of a leaky clarinet, or a piece of junk
with inherently bad design. OTOH, you can get a good sound out of most =
student horn from a respected manufacturer - Bundy, Vito, Buffet, =
Yamaha, Conn, Normandy, whatever. I steer students away from the cheap
Chinese stuff sold at Wal-Mart, but would never tell a kid that their =
isn't good enough because it wasn't my preferred brand. It hurts the =
plus it's just wrong. The Conn 8D is a fine horn, but surely you jest - =
"only" choice?. Phillip Farkas and Ethyl Merker seem to have done just =
with That Other Brand. Please.

Your talisman mouthpieces probably work fine for some kids. They can't
possibly work for all kids, unless you have them all fitted with =
teeth. A CG Personal is a good mouthpiece, but a wee bit large for a =
6th grader. While most university teachers today steer college students
towards larger mouthpieces, Big Toilet Bowls aren't necessary to get a =
sound - Edward Lewellyn played principal in the Chicago Symphony on a
Schilke #9; Timofey Dokshitzer uses a Bach 7C, just like the one that =
standard with every Bundy.

Now don't get me wrong - I like a fine clarinet. I'm a total gear-head;
I've spent a fortune on custom mouthpieces, bells, barrels and =
tech tweakings, each of them in the attempt to make producing the sound =
want just a little bit easier. (I also buy a lot of golf clubs in the
vainglorious hope that The Perfect Club will cure a Most Hideous Slice).
Nevertheless, lots of fantastic musicians have played terrifically on
terrible instruments. Charlie Parker made momentous recordings on =
hunk of tin he could score from the pawn shop.

The reality is that it ain't the club that makes the golfer. The *only*
important thing is to have the conception of the sound you want in your =
- after that, it's just practice. If the kid doesn't know what a =
should sound like, whatever they play on will sound like a kazoo, no =
how much money mommy and daddy spent on their toy.


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