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 Who to sound like
Author: Ed Palanker 
Date:   2019-05-21 17:23

The best advise I've ever been giving on tone quality was in my first year of study with Leon Russianoff. He was famous for his "bag" of mouthpeces. As one searched for the "perfect' mouthpiece he would offer his students his "bag" of them to try. He owned the Banner Music Store where his studio was and would accumulate many different mouthpieces because he knew no one fits all. He even had a Russianoff MP designed but it never took off and he never insisted his students play it. He also encouraged me to try many others when I had the opportunity which I often did.
During my three years with him I believe a changed MPs about four times searching for the perfect one. I actually ended up playing the same type he was using, a Wells #2 , that I had bought from a Blayman student in my last year. Later Russianoff sold me his when I dropped the one I was using the day of an orchestra concert and he "loaned" me his until I could replace mine. . I ended up using his for about ten years as a pro.
Back to the title of my post. When I asked him who I should try to sound like, to emulate in my sound, he looked at me and said, sound like Eddie Palanker. That remark has stayed with me through my teaching and playing career. I always tried, and succeeded, in getting the sound that I like to hear, my sound. I always told my student to get the sound in their "inner" ear so they can hear what they wanted to sound like for themself and work to find it. The mouthpiece, the reed, the phyicial way they play, embouchure, throat, breathing, tongue position etc. Help a student find their tone not my tone. The Russianoff way.


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 Re: Who to sound like
Author: ruben 
Date:   2019-05-21 23:19

Ed: Last Sunday, on the French national Classical music radio station, there was a programme on the bassoon. They had André Sennedat (spelling?), one of France's best bassoonists of the 60s and 70s with recordings of him playing the same passage on a French and German bassoon: two radically different animals. There was a difference, but what struck me was that the artist was immediately identifiable: his tone, phrasing, way of accenting. So my conclusion is that uniqueness transcends everything and Russianoff was right and wise to encorage it.

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