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 The Music Man
Author: C.Elizabeth07 
Date:   2011-12-15 04:31

Hi, I'm Christine. I'm new to this forum although I've hovered around the Clarinet BBoard for years now. I'm primarily a clarinetist I double mainly on double reeds (and sax but I resist touching a flute if I can help it).

Anyway, I just got called to play Music Man for a local production. I was counting on getting reed 3 but I wound up on 2 (clarinet, oboe, english horn). I have actually never played English horn before. I have an instrument available, reeds ready etc. but I also have a lot on my plate for the next few months and my pile of music just keeps growing.

I was wondering if anyone had played the book before, had any pointers on navigating it and any advice for E.H.

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 Re: The Music Man
Author: Joseph Tomasso 
Date:   2011-12-15 06:35

I treat English horn as a separate instrument completely from oboe. The fingers are basically the same, and the embouchure uses the same muscles, but I sound absolutely terrible on EH if i'm not playing daily. Try doing your scales every day on EH instead of oboe for a while (hopefully you're doing daily scales!). I recently did some English Horn for a recording session and the key for me was just about 2 weeks of simple prep work to get my sound consistent. I was first a saxophonist who became a clarinetist who fell in love with the oboe, so perhaps with the double reeds being my most recent instrument I lose my chops faster.

Make sure you have a variety of reeds. I don't know this book, but chances are you're going to be playing it cold with big solos, or playing it cold with excessively technical passages. I almost always have an "uh oh emergency lyrical solo" reed on hand versus a "no one can hear me" board of a reed I can blast away on without sacrificing for the pretty moments.

Just my 2 cents!

Bachelor of Music, Sax/Clarinet Performance (2005, 06)
Master of Music, Multiple Woodwind Performance (2008)
Master of Music, Oboe Performance (2013)
Gainesville Chamber Orchestra (Clarinet)
University of Florida 2010-2011(Visiting Lecturer in Woodwi

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 Re: The Music Man
Author: oboesax 
Date:   2011-12-15 13:39

Hi Christine. My daughter (16) just finished playing Music Man in a local community theater, Reed 2. She said that the book is about 50-60% clarinet, with the reminaing % divided more heavily on English horn than oboe. There are no really big lyrical solos on oboe or English horn in this musical, in contrast to other musicals she's played in. The English horn is exposed during the song "My White Knight" as it supports Marion's solo, and you will be using the lower register. My daughter did not find this musical difficult to learn and had to sight-read it at the first rehearsal. But, she does own her own English horn and performs on it several times a week on average. There is more clarinet exposure (lead clarinet parts with high and fast notes) than the average oboe book. But, you're a clarinet player; that should be easy.

My daughter can go weeks without playing the English horn as oboe is one of her two primary instruments (oboe and sax) and sounds no different when she picks it up again. But she thinks it's because of the hours she spends practicing the alto sax (same voicing).

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 Re: The Music Man
Author: Jaysne 
Date:   2011-12-15 15:45

1. You need to play each of those horns every day. This will train your embouchure to get used to making the necessary switches required in the show.

2. You need to practice English horn more than the horns you already know. Since it sounds like you know oboe already, this should not be terribly difficult. When I first picked up EH after playing oboe for a while, I found it an east switch. But it still is a completely different horn, and if you don't have the correct embouchure and don't have decent reeds, it's going to show.

3. If you don't have the music yet, you need to get it ASAP so you can start practicing. When you get the music, go through it page by page and note and sections that appear challenging to you. Then, when it's time to practice, practice only those sections. It's a waste of time to practice parts you can already do. Then keep practicing the hard parts until you can play them well.

4. You're done.

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 Re: The Music Man
Author: oboeidaho 
Date:   2011-12-16 06:02

I always find the english horn a refreshing delight after the oboe (my primary), but you probably want to plan on spending some quality time with the EH. You might want to practice some of the oboe stuff on EH, the fingerings are all the same for Music Man. Biggest thing (assuming you have good reeds and instrument) is probably pitch on various notes, it will be different than on the oboe! Practice with a tuner.

I have played that book for several productions. The book is not difficult, I recall the clarinet having the most technical stuff.

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