Learning Again…

11 08 2007

I don’t know why, but it’s most difficult to find wind instrument instructors nowadays…they usually live too far away and a majority of them (forgive me for saying) are fairly…er…nuts…in a not-too-flattering way. Ergo, for the past two years, I’ve been lobbying for wind instruments to be included on our department’s list of purchases. I figure that if I can just get my hands on a wind instrument (flute, clarinet, etc.), I can teach absolute beginners by the next academic year (desperate times call for desperate measures, eh?).

Well, surprise, surprise – a few days ago, I got my hands on a clarinet, and frankly, I’m hooked. It’s one of the most flexible instruments, since it has an incredible range; it’s also one of the more difficult instruments I’ve studied (the piano remains an enigma to me, for some strange reason), since all these years I’ve been playing instruments that only require my hands – now, my lungs are intimately involved in the process.

Again, as per GTI tradition, I am learning it on my own, grasping at every tutorial, article, and book I can get my hands on (I can’t afford an instructor). On my first day (yesterday), I succeeded in figuring-out how to get the reed to vibrate, therefore producing a sound (congratulate me). I subsequently discovered the fingering for a one-octave F-minor scale (it’s a no-brainer) and toyed around with the register key. My lower lip experienced some interesting tingling and numbness. Today, I am honking a little less (when blown improperly, the clarinet delievers a very loud, very shrill “honk” that sounds very much like a goose…or a heavy metal chair being dragged along a smooth, concrete floor) . Based on my research, however, I suspect that my greatest difficulty will be on the theory side – the mere fact that the sound I produce is a whole step lower than what is written is already driving mildly batty (What?! I’m fingering a C and I’m getting a B flat?! I add the register key and I get a G?!).

All in all, despite the difficulty, I’m quite inspired by the sound of the clarinet, and it’s not hard to get into a serious “jazz-groove” even when just running up and down scales. Groovy, man. But seriously, it feels good to be a beginner at something again. I can feel my brain synapses growing…

I’m also starting to get serious about improving my skills on the drums. I’m finding myself behind the set more and more often at church on Sundays, and so I figure investing some time in getting my right hand – right foot coordination is in order. For inspiration, I’m really digging the music of Sade – the space, the volume and tonal balance of her band, her elegant voice – they all add-up to an enviable transparency in her music. She’s a bit old-school, but do yourself a favor and check her out. 🙂

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2 responses

26 08 2007
razeru

Sensei, i’m giving you something to help you with your clarinet lessons.
i’ll come visit ICA sometime this september. sorry, it’s been a very busy and rainy month.

🙂

28 08 2007
GTI

Thank you 🙂

Yes, do visit us sometime…this year promises to have the most number of first violins ever. I shall email you the pieces so far.

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