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 If you haven't had lessons yet....don't wait.
Author: sfalexi 
Date:   2010-09-06 03:10

Just a rant. Don't go crazy like me on equipment and mouthpieces. Find one that does everything you NEED, and work with it. In the past four weeks, I've realized with the help of a teacher that there are FAR more important things for me to focus on "what mouthpiece" I'm playing. I spent the past four weeks rotating between four different mouthpieces, all great. And no matter which one I play, I sound like me, and I can do what's asked from my teacher.

And four weeks of working on OTHER things (like, GASP! technique?!) has done wonders to my playing. Using the techniques shown to me, and working on the things he asked me to work on, I feel more comfortable playing. I'm also more relaxed, and I have much more confidence in my playing. And the end result is that I can tell I'm making a much more positive contribution to all my groups.

And those lessons were worth MUCH more than finding the "best possible mouthpiece". I shoulda invested in lessons over equipment a LONG time ago.

Learn from my mistake young'uns (young in the the years of playing clarinet, not chronological age), and invest in some lessons!

Alexi

PS - Yes. I FULLY intend to continue.

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 Re: If you haven't had lessons yet....don't wait.
Author: JJAlbrecht 
Date:   2010-09-06 15:02

Truer words are rarely written.  :)

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."


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 Re: If you haven't had lessons yet....don't wait.
Author: Tom Puwalski 
Date:   2010-09-07 04:38

Yo dude, give me a call. Tom Puwalski

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 Re: If you haven't had lessons yet....don't wait.
Author: gsurosey 
Date:   2010-09-18 01:16

Yes, I hear this loud and clear!

I'm taking lessons at the community school at Eastman (with Andrew Brown). I haven't taken lessons since I graduated college (2nd time) in 2005. Right now we're focusing on opening my sound up. Basically, my embouchere is too closed off. My instructor looked over my stuff and said that my setup seems to be just fine (with the exception of the RH low E/B 'crows foot' being a little maladjusted; there's a little movement before the RH F/C key comes down with it - I think I explained that correctly). That note is stuffier than the others (especially the B right over the break).

We're going back to basics: embouchere, hand position (my left hand is all kinds of out of whack; keeps turning outward), and faster air movement (among other things). He said that even though I play on a fairly open mouthpiece (Vandoren 5RV13), my sound is fairly dark and closed off.

I've got 21 years worth of bad habits to break! I'm already noticing a difference and I've only had 2 lessons this semester. I'm registered for a 45-minute lesson, but he kept me an hour both times. The only reason I went for the 45 instead of the hour is that it was cheaper (I still don't even know how I'm going to pay for the 45). Maybe he'll continue to keep me for an hour and U of R will only bill me for 45 minutes (hey, I can dream, can't I!).

Rachel

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 Re: If you haven't had lessons yet....don't wait.
Author: DavidBlumberg 
Date:   2010-09-18 02:07

"How" you do it always makes a huge difference over "what you do it on".

Miracles happen all the time - if you know how to play correctly.

http://www.SkypeClarinetLessons.com


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 Re: If you haven't had lessons yet....don't wait.
Author: davetrow 
Date:   2010-09-18 03:01

I'm not able to afford lessons right now, but have found an alternative that is really helping my playing. I found a good pianist who was looking for a chamber music partner and am working with her on several pieces. A lot of stuff that didn't make sense before, despite lessons, is now becoming clear, and my musicality is improving by leaps and bounds.

There are other things I still can't quite figure out, but now I can point to the problem so that I'll be ready to work on them when I can afford lessons.

Dave Trowbridge
Boulder Creek, CA

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 Re: If you haven't had lessons yet....don't wait.
Author: Plonk 
Date:   2010-09-18 11:11

I can't manage lessons at the moment due to my location and time restrictions. Lessons would be best, but in the meantime I'm resorting to video.
After I've worked on a piece for a while I use the video recording feature on my digital camera (nothing fancy at all) and record myself. It's quite an eye opener to watch and listen to yourself critically. I'd really recommend it if you're a learner and you've never tried.

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 Re: If you haven't had lessons yet....don't wait.
Author: sfalexi 
Date:   2010-09-18 12:56

Plonk,

You might want to check out Tom Ridenour's videos on youtube. They're like a mini-series of master classes on technique, tone, and general clarinet know-how. Very interesting and good information.

Alexi

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 Re: If you haven't had lessons yet....don't wait.
Author: Ed 
Date:   2010-09-18 13:43

Very good points. Some equipment enables one to play more comfortably and therefore find it easier to make music. That is the goal. One can easily spend countless hours and dollars searching for that one mouthpiece, barrel, ligature, etc that makes everything effortless and produces the ultimate sound. That time could certainly be spent practicing.

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 Re: If you haven't had lessons yet....don't wait.
Author: Beckiboo 
Date:   2010-10-16 04:53

As the Mom of a clarinet player who has played for 5 years, I agree. She just started private lessons a month ago, and has learned so much.

Her teacher even loaned her some mouth pieces to try, and has given us some ideas on how to find a mouthpiece that suits her better. So his great expertise will help us in upgrading her clarinet.

Edited to clarify: My daughter learned to play in public school. While I appreciate the time and efforts of her band leaders, the private lessons have moved her forward quickly.



Post Edited (2010-10-30 23:18)

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 Re: If you haven't had lessons yet....don't wait.
Author: Bassie 
Date:   2010-10-16 13:31

Very hard to start without lessons.

In fact, when I was growing up I never heard of anyone starting an instrument without a teacher. When did this become fashionable? (or was my upbringing just privileged?)

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 Re: If you haven't had lessons yet....don't wait.
Author: Caroline Smale 
Date:   2010-10-16 18:03

Bassie - I guess it depends when you were growing up.
In the early 50s when I was growing up in a very remote and rural area (Cornwall) I had never met a player of any woodwind instrument let alone a teacher even if I could have afforded one. In those circumstances my only option was to teach myself.
No I wouldn't recommend it to anyone but when needs must..



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 Re: If you haven't had lessons yet....don't wait.
Author: SteveG_CT 
Date:   2010-10-16 18:48

@ Bassie:

I guess it depends on whether you consider the lessons given in public school to constitute having a teacher or not. When I started on clarinet at public school the lessons consisted primarily of the dozen or so clarinet students including myself being rounded up into a converted storage closet, being taught the proper fingering for a note and then proceeding play scales for 30 minutes before being sent back to our regular classes. Not exactly inspiring stuff. I pretty much considered myself to be self taught until I was old enough to get a part-time job and pay for my own private lessons.



Post Edited (2010-10-16 18:49)

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 Re: If you haven't had lessons yet....don't wait.
Author: DavidBlumberg 
Date:   2010-10-16 19:42

School band lessons are almost always completely worthless for developing to a higher level. They can help with the basics, and depending on the teacher a bit more, but typically the group of kids levels are so different that there really can't be much real instruction given for the better players.

http://www.SkypeClarinetLessons.com


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 Re: If you haven't had lessons yet....don't wait.
Author: JJAlbrecht 
Date:   2010-10-16 19:52

David's absolutely right. In group lessons, they have to cater to the Lowest Common Denominator (the worst player).

Private lessons with a competent instructor make a world of difference. I began clarinet with group lessons in 4th grade. Didn't start private study until end of 7th. That's when I really started making progress!

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."


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 Re: If you haven't had lessons yet....don't wait.
Author: Danny Boy 
Date:   2010-10-16 21:29

"In group lessons, they have to cater to the lowest common denominator"

Of course they do - the teacher also has to cater to the middle level student, and the higher ability student. It is not the case that group lessons have to be aimed only at the level of the student with the lowest ability in the group - what is true is that lots and lots of teachers have not been trained in how to teach in a group environment.

Think of the masterclass environment. I for one often learn more from watching others play in the class than from playing myself. This approach can be used in group tuition. Differentiation between pupils is vital - as is self assessment and peer assessment. Using a higher level student to coach another helps both.

Yes - eventually the ideal scenario is to have everyone in individual lessons, but the idea that group lessons are a waste of time is wrong as far as I'm concerned.



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 Re: If you haven't had lessons yet....don't wait.
Author: JJAlbrecht 
Date:   2010-10-16 22:49

I would hardly classify a Master Class in the same league as beginning band lessons in a public school. Not even in the same universe!!

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."


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 Re: If you haven't had lessons yet....don't wait.
Author: donald 
Date:   2010-10-17 00:08

I primarily teach 1 on 1 lessons these days, but have taught group lessons in many different environments, including teenage groups with an extremely wide range of abilities, and 8-12 year olds (with students with very poor english included in the group of english speaking students)
I avoid these situations these days.... but...
I have to agree with the statements "Danny Boy" makes, actually.
Even with younger students, they can benefit from a lesson that includes group playing, but in which students also may be singled out to play differing solo repertoire and/or students performing the same piece (or excerpt) one after another. I believe this is the sort of thing DB was inending when he made the "master class" comparison.
Yes, the "lowest common denominator" can hold things to ransom, and the more advanced or talented students can be lost to boredom. But it doesn't always have to be this way. These situations are very often less than ideal, but by no means always lacking in real instruction.
Yes, it's true (as Blumberg points out) that to develop to a higher level individual instruction will probably be needed.
dn

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 Re: If you haven't had lessons yet....don't wait.
Author: Danny Boy 
Date:   2010-10-17 10:49

What's so different? A masterclass is a lesson with a high end teacher (actually, no - masterclasses are usually with high end players, something very different). It's actually more similar to a group beginner lesson than an advanced individual lesson - because the group (if it's a good masterclass) will be fully involved.



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 Re: If you haven't had lessons yet....don't wait.
Author: Bartmann 
Date:   2010-10-19 14:15

Sfalexi,

I agree with you 100%. I'm long past chasing the best mouthpiece. I am an advanced amateur of Clarinet and Flute and take two lessons a week: a private lesson and an ensemble lesson. I still take lessons for several reasons.

It's nice to have non-work activities in the middle of the week. So often high-powered professionals do nothing but work and the weekends are the only time we can do something other than work.

Also it's good to have a forum to discuss musical ideas. All those books on music theory and orchestration that I read and still read have an outlet during my lessons.

And finally I like to support my local conservatory by paying for lessons. For years I've given money to the philharmonic and other organizations. But in the past five years I have discovered that taking lessons has been my way of giving these wonderful musicians work.

Bartmann

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 Re: If you haven't had lessons yet....don't wait.
Author: Plonk 
Date:   2010-10-21 14:40

@Bassie

I had my clarinet for a year along with a teach yourself book, before my parents started paying for lessons. I think the idea was that I would get a feel for the instrument and decide whether I wanted to continue rather than pay for some lessons which might end up being a waste of time. It was a money issue, rather than a "fashionable" idea lol! (By the way, the instrument in question was a cheap 2nd hand CSO too). I was already taking piano lessons privately and had free french horn lessons at school. But all I ever wanted was clarinet lessons. Wish I had started them earlier!

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