Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Post-Christmas Reality Check

Some kind souls gave me a few books: Bad Boy of Music George Antheil; The Roaring Silence- John Cage: A Life David Revill; The Music of Elliot Carter David Schiff. Gotta love your parents...

Self-titling a book Bad Boy of Music? He'd damned well better be wearing some kind of black leather jacket and/or have a pack of cigarrettes rolled up in one sleeve. Granted, if it's both, it might look a little strange.

Today I had a lesson with Bob Listokin. He was the perfect teacher for me when I decided to attend my last two years of high school at the North Carolina School of the Arts. He took a schmuck who thought he could play clarinet and helped him become a schmuck who could almost play clarinet. Basically, every day I draw on things he said in lessons or exercises he assigned. My students see quite a bit of material that I lifted directly from him. After heading off to Conservatory, I occasionally called him to say hello or ask for advice. Today was the first time since High School I actually played for him in a lesson situation.

I played a piece for him that I first began studying with him, only to continue studying off and on for the next eight years. Needless to say, I felt that I was getting a little stale with my performance of this particular piece.

What does this -great- teacher do? He gave me little to work on with this specific piece, but managed to relate my concerns to clarinet playing and performing in general. There were some exercises (extraordinarily slow and quite simple in concept) that uncovered immediately some fundamental flaws in my playing. He managed to light a spark that gives me plenty to practice for this piece in particular, but quite a bit to practice for becoming a better clarinet player. Now that's a lesson.

We talked a bit about possible career steps and ways to proceed to grow as a musician. Again...That's a lesson. Why did I wait so long to take a lesson? I don't want to think about it, but I certainly won't wait very long before I go back.

Gonna try and take a run in the morning...I've been slacking of for the past few...months. This winter is going to be busy, so I'd better come up with an exercise routine again for a little stress relief.


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