Advice For a Grandfather with advice to give

I have been “directed” by my son to help select a clarinet for my twelve
year old granddaughter continuing from elementary band into middle school
in WA.

My son was a disaster playing clarinet in HS. I was much better but after 50 years and a new bridge on my lower front teeth I feel that I need more advice. I only get to see her a couple of weeks per year.

At least as best a I could tell at Christmas her rental clarinet was
terrible and her mouthpiece worse. However, I am reluctant to give her my old Selmer (Paris) “center tone” clarinet and Vandoren HS star
mouthpieces. However, that’s what I have to work with next week.
Last time I think I taught her the basics of adjusting reeds to her
existing mouthpiece and ligature using a reed clipper and single edge
razor blade as I was taught by a Italian clarinetist in the US Army
concert band. He favored a focused but resonant sound with little ibrato.
Now I have to figure out what kind of a mouth piece (hard rubber) facing and she needs to start the process of solving the problem of correcting elementary school music teachers seeming to seek clarinetists who meerly
play in tune.
My thoughts were to start by digging up recordings of class 3 to 6 music by several clarinetists with different style to see what she would ike to sound like. And then have her try several mouthpiece, reed and ligatures that can be amplified by my Selmer.
Do you know of any DVDs or CDs that take that sort of approach.
Technical proficiency is one thing but at the intermediate schoollevel I think that it is more important that the kid likes the sound being generated. If they are trying for sound quality the other things will follow with solo practice. What are your feeling on how to motivate?
I particularily enjoyed the differences between Goodman, Kell (?) and
Shaw’s sound when playing classical music. I eventually was satisfied with my playing of von Weber and Mozart’s more popular style of HS solo pieces but could never play the Premier Raphsody worth a damn
I think that you could do no better than to allow your grand daughter to use
your Centered Tone clarinet.
The mouthpiece is a Selmer HS * one of the most popular for the clarinet, or
it is a Van Doren , probably B45.
I remember very well starting the clarinet and listening to all kinds of clarinetists prior to starting, but the luckiest thing I had was a first teacher with a beautiful sound, one that I have never ever forgotten and still think of it as I write now.
So, I say that she needs a teacher who can play, and with a lovely sound, like the one you know.
Then, she will determine how far she takes the wonder of that first sound she hears.
That is what I did and I have been a clarinetist for 55 years and I still love the sound.
My kids, four boys, hate the sound of the clarinet, and studied it in
grammar school, hating every minute; I looked and looked always for someone
to show me the way, and I have not been sorry.
I practise every day, and you do not want to hear the story of my teeth.
If I were teaching her, that is what I would give, my sound and my love for
the horn. Lasts a lifetime!
best of luck, sf

I would suggest that you do the following: Find out what kind of music she likes, and get her what she likes to listen.
Also get you best reed and practice for a few hours so that she can hear her grand dad play with a beautiful sound. I am sure you sound well.
She will never forget your playing, never, just dont play the Debussy.



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