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 What should I practice? Pre-University
Author: suavkue 
Date:   2010-07-09 18:46

This fall, I will be going for a BM-Performance at UW-Eau Claire in Clarinet and am really wondering what should I practice in order to better prepare myself? I feel like I'm practicing things that I randomly feel like practicing each day (given that it's summer and I'm really not doing much else). I have checked for any syllabi that are on the clarinet professor's site (nothing), and am really wondering about how this teacher is, how he teaches, etc. (Dr. Richard Fletcher is his name.) I'd really appreciate anyone who's taken his Applied Clarinet class to give some feedback. Thanks...

-----
My current equipment:
Ridenour Lyrique 576BC, Rico Reserve 4, Ridenour Hand Finished Mouthpiece, Luyben Ligature

Post Edited (2010-07-09 19:15)

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 Re: What should I practice? Pre-University
Author: JJAlbrecht 
Date:   2010-07-09 19:07

Call the school and get contact info for the professor. Then send him an e-mail and introduce yourself. Ask what he feels you should do to prepare for the classes.

Did you not meet with this person and maybe have a lesson with him proir to applying to the school? That is the standard procedure these days, and helps you to see if the two of you will be a good "fit."

Here is the contact info for the music achool:
University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
Rm. 156, Haas Fine Arts Center
(715) 836-2284
www.uwec.edu/mus-the

They also have a student handbook for the music school online in PDF format. You might want to download and read the copy.

Work on some fundamentals (Klose, Baerman, a solo or two and similar things). This way, you will at least be set on some of the fundamentals. Are you studying privately at present? If so, make sure your teacher is working with you to get you prepared.

Good luck.

Jeff

“Everyone discovers their own way of destroying themselves, and some people choose the clarinet.” Kalman Opperman, 1919-2010

"A drummer is a musician's best friend."


Post Edited (2010-07-09 19:09)

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 Re: What should I practice? Pre-University
Author: grenadilla428 
Date:   2010-07-10 03:28

Scales

Majors, minors, chromatic. In thirds, in fourths, in sixths, broken, returning. Slurred, tongued, in combination. Fear no key signature.

Arpeggios

Majors, minors, in triplets, in quarter & eighth patterns, dominant sevenths, diminished sevenths.

Everything else is built on these.


Baermann is a great book for that. Pick a set of scales and a set of arpeggios and go through them in two or three keys at a time. I find them not so much boring as relaxing... you know how the end product should sound, it's just a matter of finding the easiest way to get there. Their predictability can also be helpful as you work on intonation, articulation, and fluidity of fingers. I have not studied with him, but you cannot go wrong by being skilled at something so fundamental.

Good luck!

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 Re: What should I practice? Pre-University
Author: ColeHanson 
Date:   2010-07-10 04:35

I actually have taken lessons for the past two years with Dr. Fletcher while in high school- I am now going to the University of Minnesota for Clarinet Performance.

Dr. Fletcher likes the Baermann scales book. He primarily uses the Uhl and Rose Etude books- so make sure you have those.

As to what you should be working on....I would say spend a lot of time on scales and etudes, and try and pick a couple of solos that are around your skill level ( I don't know where you're at, so I can't give you a presumable piece that he has given people often in the past ) and work on them for fall semester. Think ahead as to what you will want to play for juries next year.

Make sure in lessons with him to come in prepared and with a lot of questions- he won't give you a whole lot if you don't come prepared to take as much as you can from him. Also, make sure you stay motivated and practice your solos a lot during the semester, becuase he often will just focus on etudes in your lessons, but since you'll have an hour long lesson as a performance major, it shouldn't be too big of a deal. The biggest thing is staying self- movtivated- that's how you can best succeed at UW- EC. Also knowing that you will be in the minority as a performance major will help prepare you as UWEC is such a big ed. school, although there are several Performance majors in other instruments.
The rest of the clarinet majors are very very nice, and it's not an overly competitive atmosphere at all. Dr. Fletcher knows a lot- make sure you do your best to take advantage of that.



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 Re: What should I practice? Pre-University
Author: Liam Murphy 
Date:   2010-07-10 05:12

Hi suavkue,

I just finished my first semester of university.

If I had my time again, I'd prepare my scales/arpeggios a lot more.

Grenadilla is right on. I'd buy Baermann (or something similar) and play everything in it calmly and regularly.

Have a good year,

- Liam



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 Re: What should I practice? Pre-University
Author: EEBaum 
Date:   2010-07-10 06:02

"Everything else is built on these."

Except a huge swath of contemporary music.....


You'll have plenty of time for Baermann later. Play something you enjoy while you're in a low-pressure season.

-Alex
www.mostlydifferent.com

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 Re: What should I practice? Pre-University
Author: Ed Palanker 
Date:   2010-07-10 19:47

The Baermann Book 3 is the bible of clarinet playing, use it. Then work on some excerpts and a solo of your choice, you can't go wrong. ESP

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 Re: What should I practice? Pre-University
Author: suavkue 
Date:   2010-07-10 22:26

Thanks everyone!

I used to take lessons from someone who went to UW-EC for music ed. (it's been about a year now since I last took lessons with her), so I do have the Baermann Third Edition. I did go through the Rose 32 with my teacher, but I should probably get my own copy of it. The Uhl I've never heard of - I'll look into that one.

In terms of excerpt playing, I think I'll continue working on the Scherzo from Midsummer Night's Dream and that solo in the first movement of Beethoven's Pastoral (7th?) symphony. I'm looking into either the Poulenc Sonata, Mozart Concerto or Copland Concerto for solo repertoire. (Which one should I practice... well, I guess I'll figure that out soon.)

Thanks again!

-----
My current equipment:
Ridenour Lyrique 576BC, Rico Reserve 4, Ridenour Hand Finished Mouthpiece, Luyben Ligature

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 Re: What should I practice? Pre-University
Author: JJAlbrecht 
Date:   2010-07-10 22:54

Beethoven's Pastoral is his 6th. Lots of great solo moments for clarinet in that one.

“Everyone discovers their own way of destroying themselves, and some people choose the clarinet.” Kalman Opperman, 1919-2010

"A drummer is a musician's best friend."


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 Re: What should I practice? Pre-University
Author: Sarah Elbaz 
Date:   2010-07-11 08:57

JJAlbrecht wrote:

> Beethoven's Pastoral is his 6th. Lots of great solo moments
> for clarinet in that one.
>

Yes, that's the direction. Learn the orchestral repertoire. Beethoven's, Brahms's, Tchikovsky, Schubert etc. Listen to each symphony several times
(youtube), and look at the score (IMSLP, or other online sources), and then learn the clarinet parts.
Of course, you can warm up with Baermann or any other method you like.

Sarah

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 Re: What should I practice? Pre-University
Author: EEBaum 
Date:   2010-07-11 20:53

I'd still advocate broadening your horizons. Everyone and their dog learns the Baermann, the common excerpts, the Rose, the Mozart, Poulenc, Copland. And yes, there is merit to that. But that's only a very tiny slice of what you can do with the clarinet, a slice that all too many people never even consider venturing out of.

Just saying, keep your options very, very open. Balance the "standard" stuff with a more eclectic mix... some little-known etudes, contemporary literature, structured and free improvisation, and, dare I suggest, maybe even some music from OUTSIDE the classical sphere.


Begin rant...

As an isolated excerpt, the Mendelssohn Scherzo can die in a fire, as far as I'm concerned. If I never walk past another practice room and hear someone woodshedding the crap out of that again, it'll be too soon. Not a bad piece of music in itself, but I shudder to think of how many hours have been put into the first couple dozen bars of it over the years by clarinetists who never actually performed it, nor ever looked at it as anything more than a box to tick on their "excerpts learned" list (and something to play with a smug bouncy-eyebrowed grin to show off to passersby), and wonder how much awesome music could have been made in that time.

If you decide you must work on that vile tune, at least have the decency to try to do something musical with it rather than treating it as some wretched tongue-a-thon at the expense of everyone else's sanity.

End rant.

-Alex
www.mostlydifferent.com

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 Re: What should I practice? Pre-University
Author: suavkue 
Date:   2010-07-11 22:01

Thanks, Alex - I'll keep that in mind as I go through choosing repertoire. Concerning the Mendelssohn, I can't tongue as fast as I've heard a few recordings play it (and personally, I like it a lot slower than I hear it usually played - there's a recording that is played at dotted quarter = 74-76 that is my favorite one of this piece).

I don't want to make another thread on this, so I might as well ask it here: there's a commonly used clarinet excerpt for orchestral auditions - the Bartók Concerto for Orchestra (here's an image from someone's blog of it: http://blog.davidhthomas.net/wp-content/uploads/IMG_3342-350x262.jpg). It's that measure with the set of eighth note triplets (83). I find the Bb -> C break difficult - how should I approach this part?

-----
My current equipment:
Ridenour Lyrique 576BC, Rico Reserve 4, Ridenour Hand Finished Mouthpiece, Luyben Ligature

Post Edited (2010-07-11 22:02)

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 Re: What should I practice? Pre-University
Author: EEBaum 
Date:   2010-07-11 22:37

Break issues, in my experience, almost always are either finger issues or instrument issues. Spend some time going from Bb to C and back, and notice if all your fingers go down and fully cover the holes at the same time. Also, especially if you haven't in a while, get your instrument to a *GOOD* technician.

If your instrument is in good repair and your fingers are moving properly, Bb to C should not be much of a concern. What makes it different from, say, C to D, is how many fingers you have to coordinate and the slight change in balance from having very few to very many points of contact with the instrument.

If you ever "try harder" to "push" a note over the break, chances are that you're tensing up all over, which coincidentally causes the holes to be covered and any leaky pads to be pressed on harder, which makes the note pop out. It should NOT take that much effort.

-Alex
www.mostlydifferent.com

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 Re: What should I practice? Pre-University
Author: Katrina 
Date:   2010-07-12 15:12

Someone mentioned the Rose 32, but I want to be sure that the 40 are also mentioned because all of them are crucial! The Uhl are also nice but be sure to find the Mitchell Lurie discussion of them in the Clarinet magazine archives. His comments on each of the Uhl studies are priceless. I carry a copy of that article inside my copies of the Uhl.

As far as repertoire goes, the Mozart Concerto is where I'd start. It's standard and as a performance major you will be expected to know it. It's the kind of piece where each time you revisit it it will present new challenges.

Are you taking private lessons in the summer? I'd also recommend continuing the private study and consulting with your teacher to guide your practice.

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 Re: What should I practice? Pre-University
Author: Jack Kissinger 
Date:   2010-07-12 15:57

In the Bartok, at tempo, the passage is probably too fast for most mortals to use the normal (long) C fingering. Try adding the top two right-hand trill keys to your normal Bb to play the C.

Best regards,
jnk



Post Edited (2010-07-12 15:59)

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 Re: What should I practice? Pre-University
Author: EEBaum 
Date:   2010-07-12 16:00

The Rose 40 has good stuff, but I wouldn't say all of them are crucial. Though I would hesitate to use that term to describe any etude or method book...

-Alex
www.mostlydifferent.com

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 Re: What should I practice? Pre-University
Author: clarinetist04 
Date:   2010-07-13 02:48

Here here, Alex, on the orchestral excerpt monologue.

I can't remember how many times I walked past the music building at my college and heard the horns practicing Til Eulenspiegel (AND the clarinets for that matter), flutes on Midsummer Night, or any number of instruments practicing, or as you said, woodshedding, these parts.

It's important to learn them at some point, but in my summer I'd be playing more fun literature. Play the Copland. Explore some of the oddities of the literature like Shulamit Ran or Persichetti's Parable. Enjoy yourself. Trust me, there'll be plenty of time for you to learn Weber 2, Tchaik 4, and others in the standard repertoire. You're in. No pressure 'til September.

That said, I'd definitely look at the Baermann. It truly is the Bible of the clarinetist. If you want to look at Rose, make sure you don't just flub through the notes. They only work when you make them musical. Not just the slow ones, the fast ones too. That's what make these difficult. It's not necessarily the notes, it's what you do with them.

Other fun pieces: Check out the Copland (alright, that's a classic), listen to some new concerti (relatively speaking) like those of Heins, McAllister, Wachner, Daugherty, Hartke, etc.

All I'm saying is what I think Alex is saying -- enjoy this time in your life while you have the time to explore. Come school time you'll be practicing standard literature and excerpts like they're going out of style. While you don't have to do that right now, I'd warm up and begin on scales and etudes, but don't forget to branch out into those things that are unfamiliar to you.

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