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Precise advantages of studying the B flat clarinet.

A sightless student may study the B flat clarinet in various music teaching contexts. Specific advantages of learning this instrument as the pupil works with a private studio instructor will be discussed herein. A sighted private teacher must pay attention to topics and themes that are addressed as these are primary ways through which the sightless pupil needs to learn and progress as a clarinet player when studying classical music.

The clarinet is a challenging woodwind instrument for a sightless beginner to embrace in order to advance as a classical player. Therefore, the student may encounter struggles while striving to advance with his/her studies. The instructor must ensure that the teaching and learning methods which are used make the experience accessible for the player. This means that the instructor needs to use positive strategies that will enhance the pupil's studies in beneficial ways.

First of all, the learner will require help from the teacher so that he/she may assemble the instrument properly. This will involve speaking with the student and directing his/her hands with respect to how to put the clarinet together before playing it. Then, the student should be shown how to clean, and disassemble the instrument and put it in its case so that this is done correctly after each lesson or practice session when he/she is finished playing. The pupil who is learning the clarinet also needs the following during lesson times: clear verbal descriptions of how to shape his/her embouchure, the correct right and left hand positions to use to hold the clarinet firmly, and the proper finger placements on the open tone holes and keys. The placement and choice of a responsive reed must be explained in detail along with the role of the ligature and how it is tightened enough to be effective. Appropriate deep breathing techniques must also be discussed by the educator in order to introduce this essential action to the pupil. Then, these breathing strategies need to be demonstrated by the instructor and imitated by the student in order to ensure the understanding of breathing methods by the beginner. These vital components of clarinet playing may then be effectively improved. Furthermore, the beginning student should have rote teaching of musical patterns and pieces to use in order to advance his/her progress with slurring and tonguing techniques.

The study of Music Braille must also be discussed with the student and the teacher should take online courses in this code (see www.hadley.edu and www.mohawkcollege.ca/continuing-education.html) in order to work with the student to develop skills with reading this challenging code (as explained in my previous column in this journal). Score reading, and memorizing of pieces should be the next aim that the player strives for in order to become increasingly knowledgeable of suitable repertoire to practice and perform. The combination of these skills with those described in the first section will then enable the player to begin enjoying the sound of the clarinet as he/she controls it and moves forward into the stages of a competent, proficient, and excellent performer who commands the audience's attention with his/her tone, articulation and expression.

The player should be given the advantage of playing at differing music events. These opportunities will enable the student to thrive as a clarinettist. Such events could include festivals, Royal Conservatory examinations and appearances within his/her community or church. Other opportunities include recitals arranged by the instructor in connection with his/her studio as well as recitals at town halls or legions where diverse community members will become familiar with the player. The teacher should also involve the player in ensembles with other students. For example, the student could study the clarinet part of the Concerto for Klarinet and String Orchestra Op.31 by Finzi and rehearse this piece with the string players who are required to form the orchestral ensemble for this repertoire. Performances of this work at recitals and concerts would be a valuable way to encourage the clarinet student's improvement of his/her skills and to enjoy this type of musical production. Weber's Grand Duo Concertante Op. 48 for Clarinet and Piano is another work that could be presented to the player as a goal to consider learning as a duet form of a concerto. However, the student's decision regarding taking on the study of this piece should also involve the teacher's reassurance that he/she will assist and guide the player as the learning procedures progress. Part of the instructor's role when selecting this Weber piece for his/her instrumentalist, though, must be the careful examination of a piano student as a suitable partner for the clarinet player in order to ensure that the piano pupil's abilities match those of the clarinettist. Then, the clarinettist should practice prior to meeting with the piano student in order to prepare to work with the sighted partner. Next, the clarinettist and the pianist should rehearse a few times with their instructors present so that they feel ready to perform together. Last, the two students can enjoy performing as partners as they present the Grand Duo Concertante when opportunities arise.

In closing, the student and teacher need to aim for classical clarinet pieces to play that demonstrate the player's skills. Therefore, the repertoire that is selected should be both of interest to the student and suitable for the clarinettist's progress at a specific time. A player may choose to study diverse repertoire ranging from the time pieces began to be composed for the B flat clarinet to present day. A student may also desire to specialize in one era such as the twenty-first century or chamber ensemble playing or one musical form such as the sonata or one style of playing such as works for solo clarinet. Aiming to advance as a player of Canadian music is also an excellent possibility for the clarinettist as he/she begins and continues his/her studies within our country. These are precise advantages of becoming a clarinet player and being able to flourish as a competent, confident and successful musician.

As a sightless individual, Dr, Lori Kernohan has earned Ph.D, (Music Education), M.MUS, BMUS degrees from the University of Toronto, and A.R.C.T Diploma (Clarinet Performer) from the Royal Conservatory of Music, She is a published author, conference presenter, and guest lecturer on topics relevant to music education, and accessibil ity issues, She taught Elementary School Music I and II at Laurentian University, Orillia, and gave private music lessons, She has experience as a researcher, dealing with accessibility issues at Georgian, and Seneca colleges, and continues to present her motivational program entitled, Pursue A Dream.
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Title Annotation:accessible music education for sightless students
Author:Kernohan, Lori
Publication:Canadian Music Educator
Date:Jun 22, 2014
Words:1118
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