Teaching Rachmaninoff Symphony 2, slow movt.

Below are several videos, parts of a coaching I gave to Stephen Savage, a former High School student of mine, who will be a sophomore at Cincinnati Conservatory of Music next year.

I have excerpted 4 parts of this hour coaching on Rach. 2 to highlight the various stages we explored to help Stephen master this difficult slow orchestral excerpt for clarinet.

(If you are getting this post via email, you may have to click to the original post to see the videos.)

This excerpt is required on many clarinet audition lists, but that is not the only reason to study it. It is a beautiful and languid theme, with very long phrases which challenge any player's breathing and phrasing skills. Robert Marcellus suggested playing this excerpt 3 times in a row to test (and develop) stamina.

The four levels explored in these videos are: 1) Freeing up breathing by taking lots of relaxed breaths and thinking of the air intake and output at a circle, no beginning or end, just cycles around. This helped to keep the tone full and directed during the taxing long phrases. 2) Freeing up the rhythm to explore the shape and direction of the phrases more intuitively. 3) Discussing the underlying architecture of the whole solo from beginning to end to get a overarching sense of its expression and direction, and 4) adding more appropriate musical breaths, and putting it all together.

Stephen's wonderful musical abilities shined through more with each successive level of repetition. Enjoy.

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