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Even Benny Goodman Had To Start Somewhere

Posted 22-09-2008 at 21:24 by West Ender

Laura has had 2 clarinet lessons, up to now, and she's doing well. I've had a bit of a go myself and I can hardly make a noise but she can play E and D natural with only occasional squeaks. The sight reading's coming on, too, she knows how to count a crochet, a quaver and a semi-quaver. She's enjoying it and she's keen.

If Laura has a fault, academically and in everything else, it's that she's a perfectionist. She expects to be able to do things straight away and she can get very annoyed with herself if she doesn't get it right first time. Clarinet practise means that her mum and I have to praise, constantly, and reassure her that she's doing fine.

The other day I found a youtube clip of Benny Goodman and his orchestra and I showed it to Laura.
"He's doing that wrong," she said when the maestro held his clarinet up like a trumpet during his solo. "You keep your instrument pointing at the floor."
I said he was "showing off" because he was one of the great clarinet players and this was a clip from a film and people wanted to see him making a show as well as hearing him play.

We went on, from there, with the film clips and we found some Glenn Miller. We listened to the clarinets and saxaphones that made the Miller "sound" and we watched the trombone mutes being waved about and used as hats.
"I've got 2 DVDs of Glenn Miller's films," I said. "You can see the band doing that."
Laura said she'd like to watch those and it would be interesting to see the clarinets.
Well, it makes a change from Green Day.

She was mightily impressed with Benny Goodman and, of course, I'm encouraging her to aim to be able to play like that, one day. She looked at me with a sort of quizzical "What me?" sort of expression.
"Hey," I said, "Benny wasn't always a great clarinet soloist. He started playing when he was about as old as you and it took him another 10 years before he joined a band, and another 10 before he had his own band." That gave her hope!
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Total Comments 3


  1. Old Comment
    BERNADETTE's Avatar
    Bless her
    Posted 22-09-2008 at 21:39 by BERNADETTE BERNADETTE is offline
  2. Old Comment
    cashman's Avatar
    tell her to keep at it, if she wants it enough she will get there.
    Posted 22-09-2008 at 21:56 by cashman cashman is offline
  3. Old Comment
    Margaret Pilkington's Avatar
    You have to tell her to aim for the moon...if she doesn't quite get there.....who knows she may capture a star.
    Posted 23-09-2008 at 12:35 by Margaret Pilkington Margaret Pilkington is offline

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