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Weatherford Lessons


Below are the lesson times for Weatherford ISD Schools. Please refer here often for changes and updates to this schedule. 24 cancellation policy strictly enforced.

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TMEA All-State 

Performance Guides

Soprano Clarinets


from 32 Etudes #8 

There is much to be said of this etude; foremost, the dreaded measures 35 & 36. These among the hardest measures in the entire book, especially as the tempo approaches 120+bpm (which it should as the tempo marking in the book is wrong).


The TMEA performance guide says:


"This minor etude is marked con spirito e deciso, so let that mood guide the tongue one-slur three articulation which is prevalent. Do not let the staccato note become too heavy and the slurred notes become softer..."


There's a lot wrong with this statement. Firstly "con spirit e deciso" is (bad) Italian for "with spirit and decisiveness" (we should all know how I feel about David Hite, by now). The original "mood marking" for this etude was nothing. C. Rose (who adapted this etude) did nothing for this, nor did he write in so many dynamics and articulations. You can view the original here:

Secondly, I'm not sure how "with spirit and decisiveness" means we should let the tongue guide anything or in someway play this smooth and connected. However, I agree that this SHOULD be played smooth and connected, but not for the reasons she (Kristin Ward, who selected this etude and wrote the TMEA performance guide) suggests; "The Cow in the Field" thought experiment (Google it). Thirdly, I've NEVER had a student who had an issue of playing the slurred notes softer, if anything the 2nd slurred note is too loud and needs to be evened out dynamically to match the rest of the phrase. 


Phew. Okay, the low d-sharps should almost always be played 1 & 2 (like bottom line E with the middle ring of the right hand pressed down), you should do this for almost all high a-sharps as well. The B's in meas. 5 & 6 should be playing forked. (yes all of them). The last f-sharp in 18 and the first in 19 should also be played forked. I know, I know, this means you have to do a funky slide to the E in 19, but it's not that hard and something you should already  know how to do by now anyway. You should not be flip-flopping ever, unless you absolutely have to. Meas. 23-24 has those lovely diminished-7th arpeggios I've been raving about. Learn them if you haven't already. 

The next section is by far the hardest. As stated earlier, Meas. 35 & 36 are super hard, I agree with Ward that your left thumb can't be late hitting the register, but you also need to take care to practice these in such a way that you ensure you can play them fast. I suggest alternating between the dotted-eighth-sixteenth/sixteenth-dotted-eighth patterns. The same is true of meas. 38. Slide to a forked f-sharp in meas. 42. Meas. 43 & 44 has the wonderful diminished arpeggios. Again. Go learn them. 

The final section of the piece is basically the same as the first but in a major key until we get to meas. 61. Many people will neglect this section thinking "it's just scales", but they aren't the easiest scales nor do people consider how hard it is to tongue them lite (like butter) and fast. The B to C-sharp in meas. 62 should be marked "slide", if it isn't in your edition, mark it. Lots of 1 & 2 d-sharp/a-sharp opportunities. Take them. 

Remember to practice this very, very light, smooth and connected--even at slow tempos. This is an easy etude; everyone will be playing it fast--ESPECIALLY if meas 35 & 46 aren't in the cut at the audition. I got 1st chair all-region because the Phase 2 cut was only from the beginning to meas. 31. I knew I could go faster than my opponents because I wouldn't have to play meas. 35 & 36. At the Area audition the cut was from meas. 31 to the end. Nobody (including myself) was able to correctly play 35 & 36. Happy Practicing.    


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