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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000112.txt from 2005/05

From: Gary Smith <>
Subj: Re: [kl] A splendid experience visitng Himie Voxman
Date: Fri, 06 May 2005 06:15:58 -0400

Dan - sorry if I sounded nit-picky. Great stories! It seems likely
that Voxman did have a hand in the entire series. The old books may
have had his name on the cover as well - who knows?

Adam - I think you're right, and/or there was simply this idea that if
you didn't know, by golly you would look it up in that 2-3 page
summary of musical rudiments in the front of the book. Or ask your

As an aside, when I was in grade school (and hadn't had any piano,
unfortunately, which I haven't to this day), music teachers coming in
once a week and trying to teach rudiments never sunk in. But I think
you can teach all the elements on a staff as you teach the instrument.
Even though the Rubank doesn't have all the catchy little graphics or
explanations, it kind of allows for that approach. Just explain the
different types of notes and note names as you encounter them, then
explain sharps and flats, key signatures... all as they come up.
Again, it al depends on having a teacher.

Also, I think that in Klose's time, there was less understanding of
the notion of teaching a skill progressively. Perhaps a better way of
putting it is that the books weren't arranged that way. The
expectation was that your teacher would assign something from column
A, something from column B... as needed to bring you along. The idea
that you could start on page one and progress to the end was
apparently somewhat novel. There's that notion of having a teacher

As the books get newer and newer, they seem to be trying to be more
and more sufficient without a teacher. It will never be entirely
successful, but you have to recognize there are a lot of band kids out
there who will never get a shot at lessons unless they demonstrate a
lot of potential first, and the school programs don't have time for
individual attention.

Oddly, I think of the Rubank books as being geared a little slower,
not faster. There are generally only one or two teaching points per
page, and 2-3 exercises each, whereas newer books seem to try to
incorporate something new with almost every exercise. But as you said,
the fact that they don't spend a lot of time with teaching how to read
music makes them less annoying for someone learning to double.

And yeah, I could be happy playing nothing but clarinet - it's the
fault of these people who want to hire me!

On 5/5/05, Adam Michlin <> wrote:
> It is interesting to note that the beginning band method book is pretty
> much an invention of the 20th century. I wish I could remember the source
> (I think it was in reference to the Klose book), but the argument I've re=
> is that prior to the 20th century it was all but unthinkable that one wou=
> learn an instrument *and* music at the same time. You learned music throu=
> vocal training or keyboard training (often both) and then, having some
> reasonable mastery of music, you learned your instrument.
> The Rubank methods, in my opinion, go much too fast for a rank musical
> beginner. My own suspicion is that these books represented the changing
> times and the authors were assuming a set of musical training in a
> beginning instrumentalist that one can no longer assume. I don't think
> Rubank goes too fast at all for someone with thorough musical training
> which makes it, to this day, a wonderful choice to use when learning an
> additional instrument.
> Progress, indeed.
> -Adam
> PS: Clarinet, clarinet, clarinet!
> At 08:10 AM 5/5/2005 -0500, Gary Smith wrote:
> [...]
> >I think the Rubank books are great if you're giving lessons to
> >beginners - not so good for self-study, and I could wish that someone
> >would take them and update things like the fingering charts to make
> >them easier to understand (just show a complete fingering under each
> >note), but the approach as to where to start, how to practice crossing
> >the break, etc. is spot-on. And you get a lot of practice with a
> >fundamental before moving on to the next thing. Finally, especially
> >with older beginners, I think the less "cutesy" graphics (or
> >non-graphics) is a plus.
> [...]
> -------------------------------------------------------------------
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