Alan Hacker, O.B.E. British Clarinetist and my most influential teacher has died. I played for Alan at Banff one summer as the solo clarinet of the Opera orchestra an ensemble formed from players worldwide. He opened my ears to the music, everything was different after that summer.
An amazing clarinet player and conductor, the detail he considered for every phrase was inspiring. Tone color nuance articulation always at the service of the music not the clarinet.
I rarely saw him, often heard his words and music (Finzi concerto in particular) and always considered the world a better place for having him in it.
I was listening to an Interview with a military leader who was being tried for war crimes. When he was asked why they had performed such horrific deeds he replied " because we could".
Having the capacity to perform something does not give one the right to do so.
Yet so often I experience first hand abusive misogynistic power hunger self serving conductors, have numerous tales of abusive teachers recounted to me and occasionally see it first hand. Worse still in music there are some victims who either think they deserve it or that a teacher or a conductor is not any good if they are not abusive.
Music Festivals and Exams
One should be somewhat clear about their goals when starting music lessons themselves or enrolling their children in them.
Music not just another skill or qualification, a line item on a resume, it is an art. If it is approached properly it will add a lot to the participants’ life. Not only is it a beautiful and complex art but the study of music, playing an instrument, playing with others or composing involves many aspects of life that might not at first seem obvious.
My goal is to have the student have a pleasant and rewarding experience as free of stress as possible so music remains an escape, a solace, a source of companionship and camaraderie and fun for the rest of their lives. If it just becomes another course the chances of them quitting never to return, are very high. Developing various technical skills is part of the process not the purpose. Though I stress musicality, enjoyment etc ironically this in the end results in students that play at a high level more so than if approached the other way around.
The ability to play or memorise a million notes does not make you a musician
Private performance April 14
PGSO April 21
Wind World Alban classical school show April 23 and 30