The last competition I adjudicated was a candid shot of the entire industry of Music Education in the US and Canada, and a polite commentary on just why music is in the midst of collapsing, totally.
The following is a letter from a clarinet student from 45 years ago or more, when I was teaching at Plymouth State College of the University of New Hampshire, my first college job. It was a fine learning experience, filled with joy and learning, things we never finish doing. My hopes are for all of you to receive such information from long long ago. Yes, we were young, eager, playing sharp, and always looking for a step up. Stay well.
“Hello, after 45 years! This is Bruce Bean, now Connery, who was a senior at Plymouth State when you were teaching there. I have remembered you and your dear friend Dr. Wolf, who I learned passed away several years ago, all my life. I was so impressed with Dr. Wolf when you and he performed at PSC and we had the opportunity to meet him personally in a program he presented to the music students. I must again thank you for giving me an opportunity to begin my music career in Littleton, NH, when you wrote a great recommendation. Although Littleton did not work out for me in the long run I taught successfully in Plattsburgh, NY for 12 years before leaving teaching to work in municipal administration in CT, where I still reside in the Town of Monroe. After retiring from that position I have returned to teaching and have 45 students for private lessons, including 3 clarinet players! My most noted student from Plattsburgh was Richard (Ricky) Sherman who now is Chairman of the Flute Dept at Michigan State. He is really cool and reminds me of you. I shall follow your blog from now on and certainly would love to meet you for dinner, concert, whatever, if you are in the NYC area (I live only 40 minutes north of the city). So glad you are still sharing your musical gift with others.”
Actually, after playing for a lifetime and collecting many of these , the whole experience is a bit funny, a little extraneous, and, beside the point. I have several sets of crooked plastic drawers. They were never really straight, but always ideal for putting stuff in. If I open a drawer, which is always opned crookedly, I pull it out and find the following: several small screwdrivers, reeds made of every material I can think of. several unopened boxes of shaped wooden pieces that go on the mouthpiece of a clarinet and make a noise if you hold it or screw it on a mouthpiece. There are probably 20 or 30 of these things, mouthpieces as well. I used to try these mouthpieces with the pieces of wood screwed on. Like many of you, I was totally obsessed with the noise that the mouthpiece and the shaped sticks made. Every now and again, I was pleased with the noise that the thing made, would screw it on to the mouthpiece with a piece of metal or sometimes a piece of leather or some artificial material. When I was young I used to use a piece of shaped metal with two screws which I tightened almost into submission, I thought to myself, the tighter the better, a good seal. I was a dumb clarinet player kid, trying different things, making a lot of strange noises each and every day for a long time. These metal things are called ligatures. I have owned hundreds of them, maybe more. I had a very thin one, metal, kind of decorated, very light in weight, which I liked rather well. Perhaps it was the decoration of the metal, perhaps its weight . It had a name embossed into it. I think the name was Bay. I remember playing with a guy named Bay in the American Wind Ensemble. that group was conducted by a fellow who had married into a family that made soups. I think they were named Heinz. . He married the daughter of Heinz and a mediocre trumpet player became a conductor of band music. We used to play on a barge in Pittsburgh, Pa. Actually, it was a very good group of players, all kids like me who played hight and fast and impressed the trumpet player husband of Mrs Heinz. So, this group of university musicians numbered 56, the numbers of varieties of Heinz soups made at that time, Or maybe someone told me that story over a beer, ….. maybe a soup. Who knows? The soup had too much salt and probably killed hundreds , if not more, of clarinet players who had screwed their ligatures tightly enough to finally break through the metal, which was very thin and not strong enough to withstand the pressure of those little screws. All my reeds had marks made by the reed having been screwed onto the mouth[iece so tightly as to make a really good seal., I thought, idiot that I was.When I was finished with a reed, I would remove the ligature and the reed would be affixed to the mouthpiece as if welded there. I always got pleasure knocking the reed off its seal, and letting it fall to the floor, gone and forgotten. The longer I played a reed, the longer it took me to find another. I learned about that too, after repeating the whole procedure maybe a thousand times.. For a while I collected clarinets too, but never had as many clarinets as I had reeds, or ligatures, or mouthpieces. Once, I had a recital to play in Milwaukee at Alverno college, where I taught on a part time basis. It was on a sunday afternoon. I actually went through three hundred reeds, trying to find one that I thought would sound ok for the concert, I never found one and played on a piece of junk. and everyone offered me congratulations, and a friend took me out to a nice restaurant for a steak . After a long time, I began to understand how to pick reeds that might play through a concert, and provide me with enough security to play well enough. I never ever changed a reed during a recital, never moved it. Didn’t believe in changing reeds while playing. I had studied for a while with Fernand Gillet, who had been the principal oboe of the Boston Symphony. He would tell me , us, that one should never change to a new reed before a performance, Better use one that you had played , If the new reed was in any way strange, you had to cope with a new problem. I stayed with Mr, Gillets advice. He had told us that he was collecting two pensions: one from the Boston Symphony, the other from the Lamoureux Orchestra in Paris, as he had played principal in both orchestras. Gillet also told us that he never ever made a reed in his life. He used to get them from a guy in France, with whom he would trade an old suit for a bunch of reeds the guy made for him. Nobody ever did anything like that. Lots of people didn’t like Gillets sound but he could play anything that was put in front of him. Perfectly He knew what to practice and how, and he taught us to learn in his manner. And it worked , always . Fernand Gillet was a great oboe player and an even greater teacher . At the New England Conservatory during that time, the teacher for clarinet was Mazzeo. If you didn’t get along with Rosie, you were soon judged lacking in sanity, and you either left or got another teacher. Fernand Gillet ws also a wonderful clarinet teacher. He could look at you playing a passage and say, hold this finger longer, or accent this particular note. It always worked and he was an oboist. Lots of clarinetists used Gillets oboe method book.
stay well, and never play a concert on a brand new reed.
Starving Music by Cutting Music Education.
For the past several years symphony Orchestras in North American have been disappearing or diminishing in size or in some unusual cases, actually going bankrupt, which is my understanding of the Philadelphia Orchestra. To me, this is the strangest thing, for I grew up listening to this orchestra’s many recordings, getting to know each of the woodwinds by name. We all had our opinions, but knew only the hearsay spoken by young students to one another. We could identify their sounds easily, their style, knew their instruments, and could probably pick out who was playing what part in a particular recorded work. But, I have never been to Philadelphia, never heard the orchestra in person,except once when they came to play in Symphony Hall in Boston. That was particularly memorable because the second clarinetist(Serpentini) developed food poisoning. The work for the evening was Ein Heldenleben. by Richard Strauss. A dear friend, the late Phil Viscuglia was called at the last minute to play the solo second part and sight read it flawlessly.
To learn that the Philadelphia Orchestra has filed for bankruptcy is unimaginable. But, it is only the mere tip of the iceberg. The diminution of orchestras, salaries, and season seems epidemic throughout North America. Musicians discuss this endlessly, usually accompanied by a wringing of hands, and a discussion as to what is happening to create tis collapsing of more than an entire industry, an actual end of classical music. It is very true, actually happening, and has been a case of self mutilation, for, are we creating our own ending?
There are many responses to the question. Due to factors inside and out of our industry, we have stopped feeding classical music. In the US and in Canada, so-called Classical Music has been an acquired discipline.
As a young high school student, we had chamber music concerts several times a year during classes. Yes, we called it Gas Chamber Music, but, at the very least we were given time in the auditorium to actually see and hear music. There was usually an explanation by one of the musicians, and then, we would hear the music. Personally, I remember a great event: The head of Music in the town of Brookline, Mass, was named Luther Burbank, (believe it or not.)(The other Luther Burbank, was a famous botanist).
Back to Mr. Burbank,. head of music in Brookline. He came in to the auditorium one day. There was long black and shiny piano on the stage. I had never seen a piano that large. He sat down and played the most beautiful thng I had ever heard. He played Clair de Lune,by Claude Debussy. It was my first time, and I still remember getting dizzy as he played. In retrospect, it seemed like a beautiful drug, and I just closed my eyes and was swept away.In our school, our city was constantly being fed classical music on a regular basis. Not just those afflicted with its love, but those halls were filled with young students. It was well known that this kind of music was not liked by all, but , it was considered as being something very good. An enrichment.
To begin with, the above is no longer the case. And, because of increased costs, music has been the first to go, replaced by any number of other less costly “enrichments”. Fewer students hearing good music means fewer parents attending concerts. Diminishing attendance means less money coming in and less of an incentive for the yearly donations that help keep the symphonic industry alive and well.As costs have risen, budgets are cut as well, and because of less interest in music, it became ideal to cut music.And it was and is.
Adding to fewer students attending concerts,one of the most important factors in a consideration of the diminishing orchestra, is the competition between recorded and live music. The recording industry has improved exponentially. In the beginning there was one recording of each Beethoven symphony and many other works of Classical Music. Then came stereophonic sound, then the long playing record and then tape and the arrival of digital recording, These superb recordings and the technology that produced them, meant for a severe and increasing competition between live and recorded music. Why buy an expensive concert ticket to hear a program of Richard Strauss and Stravinsky when you can purchase a beautiful recording of the same music. And the recording themselves sound so much better on that wonderful setup for which you have paid a fortune. And it sounds better in your own living room than it does in the Hall. The reason for this is that the recording emphasizes the major parts of the work and that clarinet solo sound so much purer and present in your riving room. No driving and no parking either. In the days past, the only way you could get a season ticket for the Boston Symphony was , to inherit one/the concerts were completely sold out.
During a professional recording of an orchestra, a great deal of mixing , both electronically and physically is achieved through the manipulation of the various electronic controls and the actual separation of the players. In a typical Boston Symphony recording, the audience seats are removed and the players are widely separated in pairs of like instruments and in sections. Each of the various small groupings has one or several microphones. This is precisely the reason that the clarinet solo on a particular recording is so much more vibrant and even present than when heard in the hall itself. One may ask oneself, “why is the clarinet , (or whatever instrument “, so much more present on the recording than in the concert hall? It is the recording and the various methods as mentioned above. This is competition with oneself. The performance competes with the recorded session.
If one is presented with a choice or a recoding or a performance , this choice diminishes the audience, certainly proven by the disappointing statistics in the numbers of those buying concert tickets/ Of course, the cutting of music classes in the K through 12 grades is pure starvation for Classical or any kind of Art Music. Continuing in the saga of the practice of performance, one must consider the practice of sampling, in which musicians record their instrumental sounds for a fee. These samples are then juxtaposed by synthesizer and any sound produced by any instrument can be reproduced easily. It is virtually the same as the competition presented by recordings, but even more pronounced. If I permit recorded samples of my playing, that sound can be reproduced rather easily on a keyboard of a “synth” as they are called.
We are subjected to examples of this competition with ourselves on a daily , almost continuous basis. Sometimes it is difficult to ascertain what one is listening to, a player or a synthesizer.
The Concertmaster of a major symphony actually could not understand how a player could play pizzicato as fast as he heard it on a recording, until he was told that it was , in fact , a” synth”.
I played the Bavicchi Clarinet Concerto with a regional symphony Orchestra near Chicago. Included with the Concerto was the Overture to Donna Diana, first on the program. Just about everyone in he orchestra called that work the “parking Lot Overture”. Certainly that Overture which we all recognize as the theme music for the very popular “Sargent Preston”. by Emil Nickolaus Von Reznicek, composed in 1894. It is somehow hurtful to think of that piece, or the show or VON Reznicek as the “Parking Lot Overture”. But, it is commentary on this world, Classical Music and the state of the art.
Does one need any further proof as to why concert audiences, symphony orchestras are smaller and smaller and are disappearing? It is above. It is here. Can it be fixed? It has been most of my life, the lives of countless others who play, and (formerly) millions of avid anxious excited listeners. It is and has never been a case of what is good and what is less good in the composition. If our children cannot hear and be taught music, the cutting of Music Education is the source of its ending.
For all clarinetists and lovers of Dixieland: I received this today from Barbara Z Banks, former sister-in-law of Jack Maheu .
Jack Maheu, whose career as a top jazz clarinetist spanned over 50 years and included many appearances in upstate New York, died on August 27, 2013 in Ithaca. N. Y. at 83. He had suffered a severe stroke years before and was a resident at a nursing home in Ithaca.
Knowledgeable critics considered Maheu one of the finest jazz clarinetists. In 1951, he became a founding member, with fellow student musicians from the Syracuse marching band, of the eventually well-known Dixieland group, the Salt City Five.(later Six). They won the Arthur Godfrey Talent Scouts on tv. and appeared on Godfrey and Friends and his radio programs. As a result, the band was later booked for a long term engagement at Child’s Paramount in Times Square where it had the opportunity to share the stage as the house band with some of the legends in jazz on Sunday afternoons.
Born in Troy, N.Y., he spent his formative years in Plattsburgh, NY. After graduation from high school, he studied commercial art for two years at the Pratt Art Institute in Brooklyn, NY, then, on the advice of a musician friend from Syracuse, studied music for two years, majoring in clarinet at Syracuse University.
` During the early ’50s, two albums were recorded for Jubilee Records. In 1957, Maheu left the band and joined the Dukes of Dixieland where he recorded and helped arrange eight of their albums. He left the Dukes in 1959 to form his own band at the Preview Lounge in Chicago and played opposite the George Brunis band. He then toured with Muggsy Spanier for about a year and a half and recorded with Bob Scobey, Jimmy McPartland, Art Hodes, George Brunis, Pee Wee Russell, Vic Dickenson, George Wettling, and Bud Freeman. In 1961, he re-formed the Salt City Six as co-leader with Will Alger. Wild Bill Davison joined this group for a one-year tour in 1962.
Beginning in 1979, Maheu joined the house band at Eddie Condon’s Jazz club in New York, and recorded Condon’s Hot Lunch album with Pee Wee Erwin in 1980. After the club closed in 1985, he stayed in New York to work and record with Grosz, Dick Wellstood, Mark Shane, and Howard Alden and played at the Red Blazer.
Maheu moved to Marco Island, Florida in 1988 to help form the Paradise Jazz Band, with which he toured and recorded. In 1989, they played an impromptu jam session for the newly liberated East Germans coming through the demolished Berlin Wall. In 1990, Maheu moved to New Orleans and, using his architectural knowledge from Pratt, designed his own house. He toured for six months with Al Hirt and played engagements at the Fairmont Hotel plus various Bourbon Street clubs and Mississippi riverboats. He formed the Fire In The Pet Shop Callithumpian Jazz Band, which won First Place three years in a row in the New Orleans French Quarter Jazz Festival Battle of the Bands.
In New Orleans, Maheu became one of the most sought-after musicians in town. At Fritzel’s Jazz Pub on Bourbon St., he was known as “The General” by many of the City’s best players who sat in and younger clarinet players who listened and learned. Eddie Edwards, head of the Louis Armstrong Foundation told the Times-Picayune (4/23/94), “Maheu is the best clarinet player in New Orleans. He’s a real pro. When Jack talks, other musicians listen. His presence commands the respect of other musicians.”
Jack remained active in jazz in New Orleans until 2006 when a stroke forced his retirement. During his career, Maheu was featured on over a dozen national TV shows and over twenty record albums. His last recording was My Inspiration with the Jack Maheu Quartet (2004) on the Jazzology label.
Richard Sudhalter, noted jazz critic and Grammy winner for record liner notes, described Maheu as, “the master of a totally expansive, melodic way or playing that acknowledges its debt to admired figures of the past – Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, Pee Wee Russell – but which speaks forcefully in its own accents and eloquent means of expression.”
As for playing the clarinet, Maheu told The Mississippi Rag (05/95), ” It is so difficult to play it well. You have to put a lot of years into it. A lot of guys can pick up a saxophone, a guitar…and in a couple of weeks they can play a job. Clarinet players have become the orphans in the music business – except for New Orleans.
“It’s the only town I’ve been in where the clarinet players get first calls for the good jobs. In the same article, Maheu said, “To me, there are only two kinds of jazz – good and bad, whether it’s a modern group or a Dixieland group. In Dixieland especially, the ensemble sound is absolutely one of the greatest things in music. Leonard Bernstein was quoted in print saying, “the most exciting sound in music is a good Dixieland band at full tilt”
Irving Berlin’s 1922 ‘Some Sunny Day” was Maheu’s favorite song. “I like the words,” he once said: “Some sunny day, with a smile on my face, I’ll go back to that place far away..”
He is survived by four children; Joy Maheu, Lisa Hawthorne, Michael Maheu and John Maheu; two sisters: Patti Mooney and Merilee Trudel;
three brothers: Robert, Bill and Jim Hargraves and three grandchildren:
Jenessa and Devon Maheu and Olivia Hawthorne. He had been previously married to Sharon Gravelet of New Orleans. A private ceremony is planned.
Thank you, Ms. Banks. We are all sorry for your and our loss
Several months ago, I had posted news about this thumb rest. My reason was simple: severe pain in my right thumb after playing for even one hour. I had forgotten how painful this could be. It simply makes you cringe as you hold and play the clarinet, which ,of course, disturbs virtually everything.
I had simply put off the thumb rest, mostly because I found that lack of practice resulted in no pain. No practice, no pain, right?
Wrong. Initially, practicing went fine, but as the hours passed, the pain increased reminding me of my original article, and ensuing discomfort.
Practicing a bit may have helped, but since “between engagements” ,( retired.) I did not.
So, when my friends,extraordinary musicans,Sara an Donald Pistolesi came for our rehearsals and concert, the pain returned, and was even more severe. (Sara, Violin and Viola, Donald, Cello and Piano, retaining their virtuosity and youthful enthusiasm)
Here is the very good news. I attached the thumb rest myself, with no assistance, and with only one screw, and it held perfectly . It was a very easy change to make. It must be removed when putting the clainet in the case, but it simply slides on and off, easily.
I had read several reviews of this thumb rest, and was taken by one which said the thing just snapped off after ten minutes. This is not the case, and only one of the supplied screws was used.
The pupose of this thumb rest is to shift the weight of the clarinet from the first joint of the thumb to the joint closest to the palm, which completely eliminates the pain because this part of thumb can sustain so much more weight. The thumb rest itself swivels to adjust to many positions. The big news is that it is a very simple installation, and I used only one of the three screws provided.
I paid about 25 dollars several years ago, and the thing just laid in the drawer. So, with such a simple procedure, taking less than a few minutes, I was playng without any pain in my thumb. Yes, I should have installed the thing several weeks in advance, bu ,frankly, I was reluctant. I needn’t have been, nor should any reader.
Here is what I did and used: I removed the thumb rest, which needed a jewelers loup and a thin ,strong screwdriver. (eyes get weaker at 80 years) Indispensible was a small tool called the “Leatherman Squirt”, a tiny many- bladed thing which can be caried anywhere and has an actual miniature pliers, which fold out of the tool. This was used to unscreew the original thumb rest, and the short screwdriver, also in the tool, has enough strength to loosen and tighten screws. Amazingly useful, and small enough to keep on your key chain. I received mine as a gift from my nephew, Randy.
Here is my report: It is an easy installation, and I used it immediately after installing it. No practice, not a note. It worked, providing painless stability. Of course, I was fortunate.
The concert, which included works by Bruch , as well as the Schumann was successful. The FAiry Tales are his last published work, which was allowed to be published by his wife, Clara, and Johannes Brahms. A wonderfully strange work with a gorgeous lullaby, complete with contemporary sounding dissonances. All of Schumanns works for clarinet are either beautiful, playable , unusual, and effective for the audience. Because Schumann had not played the piano for 30 years or so, the piano writing, especially in the last movement is very awkward , and takes an extra rehearasal. Please ,do not rush. Slower is faster, and you know what I mean.
If you have discomfort in your right hand, here is a way to fix it, without any operation, save for your own installation of this thumb rest. Initially, I had this rather exquisite pain in my left thumb, but it was easily fixed with a simple day surgery at the Montreal General. I prefer the new thumb rest. Incidentally, they make a metal one, with many adjustments possible,(200$) but the less expensive one works just fine. If it breaks, I will get another.
Good luck, stay well, and keep practicing, and or playing.
Chamber music is always the most enjoyable thing one can do.
One is relentlessly bombarded with gadgets of all kinds for our clarinets. The profusion includes all the usual and some of the the more unusual.In the long list of clarinet problems. What is most neglected , is the music itself. As one reads about the many different types of ligatures, mouthpieces, barrels, thumbrests, extra keys, adjustments of all kinds, this song came into my head ”Baubles,Bangles, and Beads”. This cute song was made popular from the musical Kismet. And with the revisiting of Kismet came a virtual fountain of information, much more interesting than any list of wanted gadgets. Yes, having tried and played and used most of the gadgets, I know full well the feeling of wanting. Wanting to solve a problem through the use of something attached to the clarinet, whether is be mouthpiece, reeds, ligature, and even teacher.
But, with overwhelming importance, despite the interest in gadgetry, the stuff that we do on our clarinet became the most important study, the most fullfillig, beautiful and actually, never ending.
As I delved into the song, which actually had become quite popular both as the song from the musical, a popular tune, and a great vehicle for jazz, played endlessly for its interesting chord changes and variety.
All of the music of the show, Kismet is taken from the music of Alexander Borodin, a composer who lived during part of the 19yh century and was really not a composer. He was much more celebrated as a chemist, and was interested in promoting women composers and musicians and women chemists. His life is most interesting and perhaps can only be surpassed by the music he composed during his short life.
Alexander Porfiryevich Borodin was a Russian Romantic composer, doctor and chemist. He was a member of the group of composers called The Five , who were dedicated to producing a specifically Russian kind of art music.He is best known for his symphonies, his two string quartets, On the Steppes of Central Asia and his opera Prince Igor. Music from Prince Igor and his string quartets was later adapted for the musical Kismet.
He was a notable advocate of women’s rights and a proponent of education in Russia and was a founder of the School of Medicine for Women in St. Petersburg.
I thought that surely, here was a man for all seasons, literally a Renaissence Man from the 19th century, and while not just a composer, wrote some of the most beautiful and memorable melodies of his time. And, our time.
“Prince Igor”, his most notable piece , is an opera , known to all clarinetists who have played in any orchestra, band ore even chamber ensemble. It contains the Polyvitsian Dances, famous for its many clarinet tunes, cadenzas, solo passages. I remember not even being able to pronounce the title, much less spell it. My teacher could rattle all of the clarinet parts off as if a practiced warmup study. Perhaps, it was. If you have never had the Bonade Book of Orchestra Studies for the Clarinet, then, you have seen it in any other book of clarinet studies.
Borodin was born in Saint Petersburg, the illegitimate son of a Georgian noble, Luka Gedevanishvili, and a 24-year-old Russian woman, Evdokia Konstantinovna Antonova. The nobleman had him registered as the son of one of his serfs, Porfiry Borodin. As a boy he received a good education, including piano lessons. In 1850 he entered the Medical–Surgical Academy in St Petersburg, which was later home to Ivan Pavlov, and pursued a career in chemistry. On graduation he spent a year as surgeon in a military hospital, followed by three years of advanced scientific study in western Europe.
I wondered, did Borodin know Pavlov?
In 1862 Borodin returned to St Petersburg to take up a professorial chair in chemistry at the Imperial Medical-Surgical Academy[and spent the remainder of his scientific career in research, lecturing and overseeing the education of others. Eventually, he managed to establish medical courses for women. (1872).Women?
He began taking lessons in composition from Mily Balakirev in 1862. He married Ekaterina Protopopova, a pianist, in 1863, and had at least one daughter, named Gania. Music remained a secondary vocation for Borodin outside his main career as a chemist and physician. He suffered poor health, having overcome cholera and several minor heart attacks. He died suddenly during a ball at the Academy, and was interred in Tikhvin Cemetery at the Alexander Nevsky Monastery, in Saint Petersburg.
Why mention Pavlov? The concept for which Pavlov is famous is the “conditioned reflex” (or in his own words the conditional reflex: he developed jointly with his assistant Ivan Filippovitch Tolochinov in 1901. He had come to learn this concept of conditioned reflex when examining the rates of salivations among dogs. Pavlov had learned then when a bell was rung in subsequent time with food being presented to the dog in consecutive sequences, the dog will initially salivate when the food is presented. (so do we)The dog will later come to associate the ringing of the bell with the presentation of the food and salivate upon the ringing of the bell. Tolochinov, whose own term for the phenomenon had been “reflex at a distance”, communicated the results at the Congress of Natural Sciences in Helsinki in 1903.Later the same year Pavlov more fully explained the findings, at the 14th International Medical Congress in Madrid, where he read a paper titled The Experimental Psychology and Psychopathology of Animals.
As Pavlov’s work became known in the West, particularly through the writings of John B. Watson, the idea of “conditioning” as an automatic form of learning became a key concept in the developing specialism of comparative psychology, and the general approach to psychology that underlay it, behaviorism. Pavlov’s work with classical conditioning was of huge influence to how humans perceive themselves, their behavior and learning processes and his studies of classical conditioning continue to be central to modern behavior therapy. The British philosopher Bertrand Russell was an enthusiastic advocate of the importance of Pavlov’s work for philosophy of mind.
Pavlov’s research on conditional reflexes greatly influenced not only science, but also popular culture. Pavlovian conditioning was a major theme in Aldous Huxley’s dystopian novel, Brave New World,
It is popularly believed that Pavlov always signaled the occurrence of food by ringing a bell. However, his writings record the use of a wide variety of stimuli, including electric shocks, whistles, metronomes, tuning forks, and a range of visual stimuli, in addition to the ring of a bell. Catania cast doubt on whether Pavlov ever actually used a bell in his famous experiments. Littman tentatively attributed the popular imagery to Pavlov’s contemporaries Vladimir Mikhailovich Bekhterev and John B. Watson, until Thomas found several references that unambiguously stated Pavlov did, indeed, use a bell.
Well, does one imagine that Borodin may have known Pavlov? That is inconsequential, but what is of great consequence is the Pavlovian conditioned reflex. Why were our classes always begun and ended with the ringing of a bell? Why do we answer the bell of the telephone when it rings. Are these reactions due initially to this Russian genius? Certainly the many ways we have of practicing and learning the clarinet have to do with conditional reflex, and behavioural modication, or how we learn to know and improve in our musical understanding.
But, back to Borodin, and Bauubles, Bangles and Beads from the second movement of his second string quartet made and used in the musical “Kismet”, and made forever famous.
And do we know or remember the very famous prize winning tune.”Stranger in Paradise,” which actually won a special award as this song. This too is from the String Quartet of Alexander Borodin, who was not only a composer of a few very popular works, but a noted chemist, doctor and was pivotal in starting a medical school for women. In 19th century Russia?
Or do we actually think that gadgets will replace and take the place of practice?
Stay well, and keep practicing. Start with The Polyvitsien Dances. It is a nice solo.