Category Archives: lecture

Building the Audiences of the Future: Creating Educational Concerts for the Very Young with Barbara Hankins and The Licorice Allsorts Clarinet Quartet

Canadian clarinetist Barbara Hankins and her quartet the Licorice Allsorts Clarinet Quartet (Cathy Erskine, Lynne Milnes and Carla Perrotta) presented a lecture about building audiences and creating educational programming. This presentation was one of the single most practical and worthwhile demonstrations of the entire conference. Hankins and her group played excerpts from programs of their own creation, developed for elementary-aged children. These original “mini music dramas” contained text, poetry, costumes, singing, motions, imagery, and carefully selected musical excerpts delightfully arranged for the quartet.  The incredible effort that went in to creating these programs seems overwhelming.

My favorite story that the group presented during this lecture was “The Three Musical Pigs and the Wolf.” Connecting with a well-known children’s story, the three little pigs in this version each had a favorite composer: Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven. The quartet performed an excerpt from famous music from each composer whenever each individual pig was referenced in the story (e.g. Rondo Alla Turca, Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto, Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony). The performers sang, used props (piggy ears on headbands, fuzzy brown gloves for the wolf), and encouraged audience participation through hand motions allowing the children to play a part in the drama (students were asked to help by blowing each time they heard the well-known phrase “I’ll huff, and I’ll puff, and I’ll blow your house down”). The performers kept up fast-paced action by incorporating variety in short snippets: playing their instruments, singing, acting, and allowing the audience to participate; no giant chunks of narration allow boredom to creep in for young children with their short attention spans.

There is a huge educational push these days for student engagement, and lecturing from the front of the classroom is no longer acceptable. Teachers must plan interactive activities to encourage active participation in learning. This impressive presentation by Barbara Hankins and the Licorice Allsorts Clarinet Quartet should be a model presented to elementary teachers of all subjects, as it incorporates almost every identified learning style: auditory, visual, kinesthetic and linguistic. Ladies, have you thought of publishing/copyrighting your programs? Teachers everywhere would line up to buy a copy!

–Notes by Melissa Bowles Snavely
Melissa Bowles Snavely holds degrees in performance and music education from The Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins, Shenandoah Conservatory, and James Madison University. She currently teaches and performs in the Washington DC area.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Day 5, lecture

A Path to Inspired Teaching and Learning with Peter Stoll

Peter Stoll and Willis Delony

Peter Stoll and Willis Delony

Peter Stoll is one of Canada’s preeminent clarinetists with a distinguished performing career and recognized for his skills as a teacher. Using both of these gifts, Stoll has worked to create a comprehensive exam-based teaching series for clarinetists. The series includes volumes for technique and étude materials but also repertoire volumes which are divided into List A (technical) and List B (lyrical) for each level, starting with a young primer and advancing to collegiate/professional level repertoire. Features of the materials include playalong piano tracks (as well as a clarinet and piano track recording to study), a well-sequenced and programmatic approach to isolating specific issues (such as fingering choices), a variety of styles including classical, jazz, klezmer, and contemporary, and an opportunity to involve the student in the decision-making process.

For more information on these teaching materials, clarinetists can look for the Royal Conservatory Music Development Program or call 1.800.387.4013 or visit MusicDevelopmentProgram.org.
–Notes by Dr. Mary Alice Druhan
Dr. Mary Alice Druhan is the Associate Professor of Clarinet, Texas A&M University-Commerce and a Buffet performing artist.

Leave a comment

Filed under Day 5, lecture

The 21st Century Musician: A Lecture with Kip Franklin and Jessica Harrie Holden

As performers, we all know how difficult it can be to fill concert venues with warm bodies. Kip Franklin and Jessica Harrie Holden presented a lecture, “The 21st Century Musician: Recruiting and Sustaining an Audience Through Social Media, Outreach, and Versatile Programming,” that shows musicians how to use social media and other similar platforms to create a strong following. However, aside from using the normal forms of outreach, it is important for today’s musicians to consider thinking outside of the traditional concert venues. By making performances more accessible to your local community, performers can build a strong following. By taking performances outside the concert halls and into uncharted territory, musicians can ensure that that their art is presented to a wider audience. –Notes By Dr. Victor Chavez, Jr. Dr. Victor Chavez, Jr. teaches at The University of Tennessee in Knoxville as Lecturer in Clarinet and currently performs with the Tri-Cities Opera Company in Binghamton, New York.

Leave a comment

Filed under Day 5, lecture

Conversations with Weber: A lecture with Jenny Maclay

In a short yet informative presentation, Jenny Maclay provided a brief outline of the life of Carl Maria von Weber.  Her lecture was dense with information including career highlights, legacy, lesser known history, and professional affiliations.  Taking great pains to uncover details and truths about Weber, her curiosity and intrigue led her to a rare find, a living descendant of Weber in her home state of Alabama.

The bulk of her research focused on tracking Weber’s lineage as told through Weber’s great-great-great granddaughter, Patricia Grover.  Not a musician herself, Grover was thrilled when a member of the music community reached out to her to learn more about her family tree.  Offering her resources freely, Maclay and Grover have forged an unlikely friendship that is sure to benefit the community as a whole.  Most recently, Grover spoke about an old family trunk filled with generations of memorabilia and history.  Maclay hopes to make a visit soon to see the trunk firsthand and examine its contents.  Attendees immediately requested she compile her findings in a book in hopes that she finds rare Weber manuscripts and other historical pieces.

A large portion of Weber’s history was lost  as a result of their immigration from Switzerland.  It is Maclay’s belief that in order to better understand the future of the clarinet community, we must better understand our past.  Traditions from the past influence our present and future, so it is the obligation of the performer and entrepreneur to make the past relevant to today’s musician.

–Notes by Melissa Morales
Melissa Morales is a master’s student at DePaul University studying with Julie DeRoche and Larry Combs.  She currently teaches at The People’s Music School and performs with The Candid Concert Opera’s Orchestra Nova and the Chicago Symphonic Winds.

Leave a comment

Filed under Day 5, lecture

What Every Classical Clarinetist Needs to Know About Jazz with Elizabeth

In her presentation, Elizabeth Gorman sought to cover many of the fundamental elements that are needed for a basic understanding of jazz theory and performance. She began with the basic rhythmic concept of swing, with its emphasized, irregular offbeat accents, but she noted that as tempi increase, swing becomes less and less pronounced, so that somewhere around 250 beats per minute, the swing feel tends to disappear. She also noted that Latin styles, such as salsa and samba, along with some fusion styles, tend to emphasize straight eighths as well. Gorman continued by discussing styles of jazz articulations, including styles that are particular to jazz, such as ghosted notes and falls. She then showed how jazz articulations can be used to “bop the top” of a melodic line, bringing out the important notes of a melody, which she even linked to the concept of Schenkerian analysis and structural notes. She spoke briefly about sound concept and vibrato in jazz, emphasizing that playing jazz does not mean playing with a “bad” sound. She suggested that jazz can be approached either from a saxophone-type tonal concept or from modifying a classical clarinet tonal concept.

Gorman suggested some methods for beginning to improvise, beginning with listening and transcribing favorite solos and continuing with a basic understanding of common jazz progressions, such as the ii-V-I progression. She suggested using classical excerpts that relate to jazz scales, such as the pentatonic scale featured in the excerpt from Mendelssohn’s “Scottish” Symphony, to begin practicing useful patterns in all keys. She also pointed out similarities in the classical concerti of Weber and Mozart, which, by using the lowered seventh and the raised seventh, actually offer opportunities to practice the scale known to jazz players as the dominant bebop scale (the familiar diatonic major scale with an added flat seventh). She then suggested some practice patterns to assist classical players in learning octatonic patterns, known to jazz players as diminished scales, beginning by emphasizing the diminished seventh chord that structures the scale and then adding in the adjacent half-steps. She went on to suggest different practice strategies to become more flexible with different keys, patterns and rhythms.

Gorman delivered her in lecture good spirits, not even becoming distracted when some video difficulties delayed the start of her presentation. This was a valuable introduction to jazz concepts, with some innovative links to classical literature that were especially insightful.

–Notes by Michael Rowlett
Michael Rowlett is the assistant Professor of Clarinet at The University of Mississippi. You can find his CD Close to Home: Music of American Composers on Amazon and Albany Records.

Leave a comment

Filed under Day 5, lecture

Reeds: The Bane of Our Existence – Lecture by Richard MacDowell and Brian Hermanson

reedClassRichard MacDowell and Brian Hermanson’s presentation both educated and entertained the packed theater. The lecture discussed making reeds as well as adjustment, care, and maintenance of both commercial and handmade reeds. Their witty, nonchalant, engaging presentation had the audience laughing throughout!

The lecture began with an overview of cane, specifically describing the three layers of cane. It was noted that good cane needs an ideal amount of vascular bundles (the small “circles” you see at the butt/heel of a reed when wet).

Dr. MacDowell then presented a video of the reed making process from tube cane. When one learns to complete the process efficiently, it generally takes 7-9 minutes per reed. A reed plaque and double beveled knife were suggested for safety during this process.

Mr. Hermanson continued the presentation with photos and a description of reed anatomy and offered three basic components to reed adjustment: (1) good materials, (2) the golden rule — have patience; the break-in process can be different for each person, and (3) learn as much about each reed and its response before trying to change it. It was noted that when using commercially made reeds, be sure they have stabilized before working on them. Both MacDowell and Hermanson note this process can be different for each person and that the key message is to find and do what works for you. Mr. Hermanson noted that at the end of the day it is truly about psychology: what you believe works.

Whether your reeds are handmade or commercial make sure you have an ideal sound in mind, establish a consistent space to test them in, and be careful not to overadjust. It is essential to know the environment you are playing in so you do not mistakenly adjust the reed when it is really the room creating the concern. Remember to play, look, and feel by hand as you make adjustments.

This presentation definitely gives food for thought, whether you make your own reeds or not. For a copy of the full presentation, please contact Dr. MacDowell (rmacdowell@yahoo.com) or Mr. Hermanson (brian@reedproject.org).

–Notes by Senior Airman Jennifer M. Daffinee
Jennifer is a member of the United States Air Force Band of the West and is also finishing her DMA at the University of North Texas with Kimberly Cole Luevano.

Leave a comment

Filed under Day 5, lecture

Think Outside the Concert Hall: Building your Musical Enterprise with Kliment Krylovskiy

Kliment Krylovskiy of the Zodiac Trio and Zodiac Music Academy & Festival led an evocative class on entrepreneurship.  With a background in PR and marketing, his thoughts on building an artistic presence were especially compelling.  “Every performance, no matter how big or small, should be seen as an opportunity to remind the musical community that you exist.”  Krylovskiy personally does this with visually appealing  newsletter that he sends to an extensive mailing list he’s built over the years.  He also recommended maintaining a regular website, using social media, and using traditional press releases with media outlets. These forms of communication should be used to inform your audience anytime something beneficial happens for you (aside from a press release).  This will keep you constantly in the mind of others, exactly where you want to be.

Another important aspect is your performance reputation.  To expand a performance schedule musicians should seek out venues (churches, community centers, libraries, unique spaces, etc), apply to perform at showcases (such as CMA), contact presenters using the Musical America database, contact presenters from other artists’ schedules, and self-produce concerts.  One way this can be done is through collaboration.  Collaborating with composers can be an artistically fulfilling experience as well as leading to artistic residencies.  Setting a long-term goal or project for yourself could also be another tactic to expand your schedule.  This could include anything from having a concert series to hosting a summer festival.

As your organization grows, Krylovskiy highly encouraged developing educational programming.  Many grants are offered for community programming, and in his experience, often times groups with at least some educational initiative will be  chosen to perform at a festival or showcase over an ensemble who focuses solely on artistic endeavors.  In a very practical sense, educational programming is a way to insure you have a future audience, add income, and make yourself more marketable to presenters.

–Notes by Melissa Morales
Melissa Morales is a master’s student at DePaul University studying with Julie DeRoche and Larry Combs.  She currently teaches at The People’s Music School and performs with The Candid Concert Opera’s Orchestra Nova and the Chicago Symphonic Winds.

Leave a comment

Filed under Day 4, lecture

Body Mapping as Teaching Tool – Dr. Jessica Lindsey

lindseyDr. Lindsey gave a thoughtful, entertaining, and informative presentation with useful tools for teachers of all student levels.  She covered four main areas: clarinet-specific approaches to body mapping,  jargon, incorporation of body mapping in teaching, and how to become a licensed Andover Educator (a body mapper).  Perhaps the most helpful, Dr. Lindsey discussed the concept of the body map — the brain’s concept of personal physical structure.  Injury occurs when the map doesn’t match the anatomical structure.  She demonstrated this through audience activities namely locating the Atlas Occiput or AO joint, and through discovering awareness of movement.  She concluded her lecture with helpful tips on how to incorporate body lindsey2mapping into teaching.  Namely, through enabling fluid finger function (natural curve of hand, movement from the back of the knuckle, and understanding the relation of the finger/hand/arm to the clarinet) through the awareness of the motion of the wrist.  She encouraged exploration of the hand position in front and behind of the clarinet, and strongly advocated discovering a relationship, not a place for the fingers.  Through discovering a relationship, the musician can better understand and create quality movement.

For more information, Dr. Lindsey suggested exploring bodymap.org, and contacting her directly with any further questions.

–Notes by Nora Shaffer
Nora Shaffer, a recent DePaul University graduate (CER ‘14, MM ‘12), is a passionate performer and dedicated teacher in the ChicagoLand area.  Additionally, she is Principal and E-flat Clarinetist with the Lake Effect Clarinet Quartet.  

1 Comment

Filed under Day 4, lecture

Breathing Life into the Clarinet – Dr. Shawn Copeland

Dr. Copeland led a workshop on breathing and the body with the audience up on their feet, participating in awareness exercises.  The first exercise focused on awareness of the body and how change of focus and attention affected breathing.  At first, Dr. Copeland had the audience stand with closed eyes and focus only on breathing, reminding the audience to be aware of “the space above your head, and the space behind your back.”  Gradually, he had the audience open their eyes and transition from focusing on one person, to several, to widening their attention to the entire room.  Through this exercise, he demonstrated that breathing is easily and dramatically changed through lessened focus on the space of the self.  He encouraged the audience to always remember that “I have space”– space to move in, space to breathe in, space simply to exist!

Following the first exercise, Dr. Copeland gave a detailed lecture on the anatomy from a Body Mapping standpoint.   Dr. Copeland explained the body map as a physical and literal map of locations and interactions within the body.  These maps influence all body motion, and are continually evolving and changing as the body develops. Occasionally, however, the maps don’t “update,” which leads to injuries.  Dr. Copeland stressed that “the quality of the map influences the quality of the movement.  The quality of the movement affects the quality of the sound.”

Dr. Copeland shared a multitude of helpful anatomical and diagnostic information about the body, specifically related to posture (spine/arm/clavicle curvature and alignment) and breathing (shape, length, and function of the lungs).  Throughout this discussion he consistently advocated getting the mind out of the way and allowing the body to do what it is built to do, stating that “if the intention is clear, the breathing will automatically regulate.”

For more information, clarinetists can look for Dr. Shawn Copeland’s soon-to-be-published book, What Every Clarinetist Needs to Know About the Body (GIA).

–Notes by Nora Shaffer
 Nora Shaffer,  a recent DePaul University graduate (CER ‘14, MM ‘12), is a passionate performer and dedicated teacher in the ChicagoLand area. Additionally, she is Principal and E-flat Clarinetist with the Lake Effect Clarinet Quartet.

Leave a comment

Filed under Day 4, lecture

Randall Paul with Successful Strategies for Clarinet Reed Making: A Step-by-Step Process

randallAfter studying the process of making reeds from tube cane for years, on his own and with such renowned reed makers as Robert DiLutis and Stanley Hasty, Randall Paul certainly had a wealth of knowledge to share at his lecture Saturday morning. The former clarinet professor at Wright State University and current dean of the School of Music provided a hand-out outlining the steps to making reeds with the use of a knife, sand paper and the Reedual, and he demonstrated the last step of making a reed over the course of the one-hour period.

Paul stressed two habits for success with reed making: Avoid trying to make one reed, from start to finish, in one sitting. It is best to perform one step of the reed making process in one sitting, on several tubes of cane. Also, when working with sand paper, it is best for the cane to have been soaked and dried completely. When working with a blade, like that found in The Reed Machine equipment, it is best for the cane to be wet. This soaking and drying process actually breaks in the material and enables hand-made reeds to last for a few months as opposed to a few weeks with commercial reeds. In fact, Paul made making reeds from scratch sound like fun, mentioning that he frequently hosts reed-making parties where he and several students meet and work on large amounts of cane for a few hours at a time.

Paul recommended several distributors for buying tube cane, saying he’s never bought a batch of bad cane. Commercial reeds amount to about $2.50 – $3.00 apiece, but reeds can be made by hand for $0.50 apiece, which adds to the argument for purchasing the pricey equipment. Even though a Reedual runs for a whopping $1000 and The Reed Machine, a slightly more modest $675, the equipment pays for itself in a short amount of time.

The informative class concluded with Paul performing the last step of making a reed on the Reedual as the participants gathered around his worktable. Class members were surprised to learn that Paul leaves the corners of his reeds square rather than rounding them out with a reed clipper. Over all, the lecture was a thorough overview of the most efficient, cost-effective way to keep a steady supply of reeds readily available. Paul provided a convincing argument for the investment in making reeds by hand.

–Notes by Alaina Pritz
Alaina Pritz is a recent graduate from The University of Maryland and currently plays with The United State Air Force Band – Band of the Golden West.

Leave a comment

Filed under Day 4, lecture