Teachers....

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
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Just north of Munich
Hopefully this doesn't come out as a rant, but something to learn from.

My son came home from his clarinet lesson last week, having had a suggestion to go up half a strength on his reeds to improve his tone. OK thought I, not a bad suggestion.

Week after he comes home saying the teacher had been pushing him to change to an expensive metal lig instead of the cord he's using now (german system). Lots of sales pitch for why the lig is so good, the way it improves the sound by distributing the stresses arounf the mouthpiece better..... Son tries it, reckons it does nothing. Discusses with me. I see red, cos this is the same teacher I had a big bust up with earlier this year. I also happen to know that he's a friend of the lig/mouthpiece maker.

So we had a discussion about it, marketing hype/bull, the teacher's relationshipwith the maker. And also why his sound was so bad. Bottom line is he's barely practiced for the last year or two, and the teacher has done nothing about tone, just let it slip. Then moans and suggests mechanical means...

Funny thing is this guy has a terrible sound. Rather like a cross between a chain saw and a band saw, but with more edge. And miracle of miracles, my son hates the teacher's tone and doesn't want to sound anything like him.

Anyway it turns out my son has a mental concept of how he wants to sound, realises he's not there and is prepared to work on it. Then hecame up with a concrete suggestion of his own - we changed reed types about the time he went to the new teacher (cos he used to buy the reeds off his old teacher, but they're an obscure make and hard to get). Can he try some of the old types of reeds again.... Progress - he's thinking and has an objective... And wants to work. Maybe we've turned the puberty corner at last.

We've thought about switching teachers, but he actually works reasonably well fr my son, and there's no real guarantee that anyone else would work as well.

So... always listen to your teacher. Evaluate his/her suggestions carefully. And make sure you sift out the obsessions/bias/nonsense from the useful. And do your own thing!
 

BigMartin

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,950
Locality
Manchester, UK
I'm a bit confused. How does
Bottom line is he's barely practiced for the last year or two

square with
We've thought about switching teachers, but he actually works reasonably well fr my son,
?

Sounds to me like this guy has been putting your son off the instrument altogether. Sure, there's no guarantee someone else will do better, but it sounds to me like it's worth a try. Does your son have any contemporaries whose playing he admires/envies? Who's teaching them?
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Café Supporter
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21,467
Locality
Just north of Munich
Was the previous guy who put him off. This guy's rekindled the interest, but as puberty kicked in there was an anti-everything period, which made life difficult for all.
 

Little My

Practice makes better.
Messages
400
Locality
Wiltshire, UK.
Good for your son, it's worthwhile getting that sort of epiphany early on in life. Fingers crossed he follows through with the practice and consciousness of his sound and progress. I think that my love of music is as much despite my childhood clarinet teacher as because of him.
 

old git

Tremendous Bore
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4,443
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The Palm Tree strewn Wandle Surf Beach under the o
Spent 28 years of my life teaching/coaching in a different subject and like all practitioners, was everything between the best and the worst in the world. Experience does help and turning to coaching improves matters as your aim is to help the client to improve, using their goals and their judgement of success rather than teaching them yours.

The only part worrying me is, what is puberty and how will I know it's arrived, please?
 

Ivan

Undecided
Café Supporter
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8,019
Locality
Peeblesshire
Spent 28 years of my life teaching/coaching in a different subject and like all practitioners, was everything between the best and the worst in the world. Experience does help and turning to coaching improves matters as your aim is to help the client to improve, using their goals and their judgement of success rather than teaching them yours.

The only part worrying me is, what is puberty and how will I know it's arrived, please?

You'll know it's happened when you sing "I'm Walking in the Air" and you sound less like Aled Jones and more like a like a cross between a chain saw and a band saw
 

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