Antonio Carlos Jobim
Bacharach & David
This is just a small selection from the huge library of music that I have at my disposal, all with professionally recorded backing tracks.
The clarinet has a hat for every occasion, it is a master story-teller and character actor, from the warm sonorous tones of the Adagio from Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto to the high drama of the Poulenc Sonata, from the playfulness of Horovitz’s Sonatina to the majesty of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue and on to the raw energy of Dixieland, swing and jazz. As much at home in the big band as it is in the orchestra, saxophonists are often seen switching to the clarinet for some of the most memorable big band melodies such as Glenn Miller’s all-time classic ‘String of Pearls’.
As well as orchestras and big bands, the clarinet is an essential voice in so many ensembles, from duets and trios to wind quintets and octets, Dixieland groups, wind bands and military bands, and of course as a solo instrument with backing, as epitomised by Acker Bilk and his unforgettable 'Stranger on the Shore', and more recently the sensational Eddie Daniels.
If this is the first time you have thought of picking up an instrument then you are in safe hands, I will guide you through the first steps patiently and carefully, and always at a pace you are comfortable with. Lessons are informal and light-hearted, without compromising on diligence or attention to detail. As I take you step-by-step through reading music, you may be surprised to find that it is not as daunting as it might first appear. Don’t worry about remembering everything, I would never expect that, familiarity with the fundamentals is gained over time by doing, and I am more than happy to go over anything that needs further explanation as many times as you like. Music is interactive, it is about getting involved, starting with something you know, and then building your confidence and experience through successful practice. To achieve success, it is important for a teacher to understand and appreciate that people hear and visualise things in different ways, so what works for one student may not work for another. It is my job to find the right approach for you, to explain and demonstrate concepts in a way that make you feel confident in your understanding, and ready and eager to give it a go. Approaching new concepts in different ways helps to achieve a clear and balanced understanding and reinforces progress with confidence and authority.
As your confidence and technique grow, we move through a wide and varied selection of pieces designed to introduce you to different styles over the whole range of the instrument, as well as duets which are not only great fun to play, but which also strengthen your sense of timing and rhythm. To complement this, I have an extensive range of materials from the ABRSM grade syllabus to help us measure your progress as we go.
Along the way we will be developing your ‘sound’, that unique blend of tone and delivery that makes your playing style unique to you. This is achieved through balancing and fine tuning a whole range of variables including your breathing, embouchure (the way you use and shape your mouth), mouthpiece and reed choices, awareness, engagement and control.
By this stage, your own musical preferences will have started to assert themselves and as you continue to explore and develop your own unique musical style, this will shape the direction of our progress as we move on. More advanced techniques will be explored naturally as we start to explore more complex pieces, and experiment with different tone qualities, articulation and more complex rhythmic patterns.
Lennon & McCartney
Rodgers & Hart
I also have extensive selections from a wide range of genres including big band, swing, blues, soul, classical, Latin, pop, showtunes, samba, tango, music from the movies and a huge collection of jazz standards and ballads.
As you start thinking about how to interpret and express the music, you may wish to play it differently, to put your own stamp on it, to play it your way. In other words, you may wish to improvise. Improvisation comes in many forms and can be as simple as adding an ornament or effect to a note, showing off your virtuosity as you play a breathtakingly masterful cadenza at the high point of a concerto, or creating an improvised jazz solo right there in the moment that makes sense over a developing harmonic progression. Improvisation is a huge and fascinating subject, the ultimate expression of your own unique musicality, but don’t be taken in by those who tell you to just waggle your fingers and play anything, that is akin to telling a budding artist to throw their paints onto a canvas and hope for the best! Genuine improvisation demands knowledge and skill, an appreciation of tonal and modal differences, an understanding of key and chord relationships, of form and of shape. Right from your first lesson, we will be training your ear, and introducing the skills you will need without you even being aware of it. Even as you are learning your first musical shapes and patterns and thinking about how a particular piece should be played in order to capture its mood, you will be honing the skills that will be crucial in enabling you to bring the best out of your music and, whether you're playing a jazz standard, a big band classic, or a grand soaring concerto, will enable you to truly find your own style and play confidently in any situation.
Your first lesson is completely free with absolutely no obligation to continue and you don't even need to own your own clarinet to start, as I can offer you all the advice and guidance you need to hire a clarinet. So come along and give it a try, you have absolutely nothing to lose and you never know, we might just unleash your inner superstar!
Phone: 02392 340304
Mob/Text: 07941 001755