Tuesday, September 27, 2005

In which David has a Clarinet Flashback

The back-story: I played the clarinet for many years, got pretty good, did some interesting things. Didn't teach much because I wasn't a good teacher. About 10 years ago I gave up playing completely. Never looked back.

Cut to the present: we have three houseguests, marine biologists from Mexico, here to study worms. One day they visited Venice Beach.

This is a picture of Guillermo. He purchased this Del Rio Mini-Sax at the beach. A black tube with eight large holes, sax mouthpiece and reed. (Technical nit pick: it's cylindrical so it's really a Clarinet not a Saxophone.)

I played and sounded just awful. Ask anyone who was there. I wonder if it could ever sound good..

Of course Guillermo wanted to play. Suddenly I was giving him an introductory clarinet lesson. I explained how the sound was produced, how to attach the reed with the ligature, the embouchure. In ten minutes he improved a thousand percent.

For decades playing the clarinet was a HUGE part of my life and a lot of people knew me only as a clarinet player. Once I decided to stop, quitting was easy. People still ask "Do you still play?" I don't miss it at all - and playing this little travesty of a clarinet made me not miss it even more.

Good luck, Guillermo. Like my Father told me, half an hour practice a day!

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3 comments:

maria said...

hi there,
just found your blog. was in venice the other day...saw those clarinets...used to play saxophon. was just wondering if it is worth 40 bucks and if it really sounds good.

mary_lionstone@yahoo.com

thanx!

docker said...

My guess is that if you're a good musician and you practice your Del Rio Mini-Sax diligently it probably would sound okay. A kind of reedy, folky thing that might have many good musical uses use appropriately.

But a clarinet in untrained hands can be a dangerous instrument. There's a chance you'll try it and be frustrated, put it away and then find it at the back of a closet in 10 years. That's where so many unwanted clarinets go to die.

Mr Jepps Se said...

I believe this is how they are supposed to sound...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PK08_z07p3k

I'd deffinately buy one!