Response to Clarinet Sectional Secrets

by Karen P
(New Jersey)

It really depends on the age group. I have only ever dealt with high school players. Opportunities should be given to more than just the section leader, who will be resented by other students if he/she is always put in charge. Hierarchies are military and, perhaps, somewhat "natural," but are not necessarily the best way to get the most from all of the students or the section. Giving one student too much authority often discourages others. The superior player may not be the superior motivator and fine leaders may emerge if given the opportunity. The superior player should play the solos. Look for the superior leaders too.

What do you rehearse in clarinet sectionals?
Scales, exercises and music currently being played.

Do you tune first?
Yes, and again and again. Their ears need to be trained and allowing them to play out of tune at all ....ever..... is not acceptable.

Who conducts the sectional?
The teacher should conduct the sectional. He/she is the one who is trained to do so.

Do you work well together as a team or bicker the whole time? Bickering is not an option.

High school students love games, and, once they are comfortable with each other and know that it will never be tolerated for anyone to make fun of anyone, they will play alone in front of each other. Fastest scales, best articulation, which two players can team up to learn a certain diffult lick best, etc. etc. etc. Keep it fun and keep it interesting. Keep it positive. Ignore the student slouching in the chair and compliment the one sitting straight....and then, remember to compliment the sloucher with they sit up. Clap for them at the end of a good rehearsal....but not a bad one. They know. Care.

Thanks Karen P for great comments. Keeping it positive, passing opportunities around the section and how to motivate students. You sound like a great teacher and musical leader.

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